Emma in 2007, photo taken by Ricky Sullivan - www.rickysullivan.com.au
|Born||14 November 1983|
Emma Dean (born 14 November 1983) is a musician residing in Brisbane, Australia. Dean is particularly noted for her soprano voice, but is also proficient in violin and piano and recognised for the calibre of her live performance.
Dean is acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for her live performances and is backed onstage and in the studio by her band comprising Dane Pollock (guitar), John Turnbull (bass), Rachel Meredith (cello) as well as her brother Anthony Dean (drums).
Music became the most obvious career move for Emma. Emma enthuses about her childhood in all her performances. She claims that at the age of three she was told that her backside was too big to be a ballerina and that this shattered her dreams of dancing Swan Lake and The Nutcracker alongside Australia's best-known dancers. A few years later, while at a new, alternative dance school she played the role of Edith in a contemporary version of Picnic At Hanging Rock. Shortly after, she quit dancing to pursue her career in music.
In 2002, she formed a duo called Bittersuite with Georgia Weber and they went on to record two EPs - Front Row Seat and Open Windows Closed Doors.
In 2005, Dean split with Weber to forge her own solo career, promptly releasing her self-financed, self-distributed four track debut EP, Hanging Out The Washing. November 2006 saw the release of her second EP Face Painter and performances in Women In Voice 15 and the Queensland Performing Arts' Spirit of Christmas alongside David Campbell.
Emma also played a large part in the Kate Miller-Heidke band from 2003 to 2006, playing violin as well as providing backing vocals and even often opening for the singer. Once again, with her solo career firmly in mind, she left Miller-Heidke's group to concentrate on her own career.
Emma is active on the Australian music scene, playing regular sold-out shows, touring the rest of the country and supporting major international acts such as The Dresden Dolls and Teddy Geiger as well as the homegrown Bobby Flynn and Tecoma.
At a recent show in Brisbane, Emma revealed some new songs for the first time. Hinting that they might be from a forthcoming debut album, some of the song titles were "Cocaine", "Real Life Computer Game" and "More".
In February 2008, Emma debuted a new song called "Cocaine" at a show at the Judith Wright Centre Of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane which would eventually become a single from her debut album.
Emma said of the song at the time: "After reading a false internet rumour involving myself as a cocaine addict, I began to ponder the things in my life I have not yet experienced. After this stream of consciousness I gave birth to 'Cocaine'—an upbeat song about a time in my life where I was not on drugs but was desperately longing for some sort of high. Funnily enough, I found this in 'Cocaine'."
Released in a limited edition sleeve, the song garnered airplay on Triple J and numerous community stations.
Cocaine was just a taste of what was to come. Emma was heading into new sonic territory with a new genre – 'Elastic Pop Theatre'. It was big, bold and ambitious and it heralded Emma's growth as a person and her evolution as a musician and songwriter, while also staying true to her innovative take on modern music.
On 28 June 2008, Emma's debut album Real Life Computer Game was launched in Brisbane, Australia before a capacity crowd at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Real Life Computer Game steals the listener away for an exploration of the magical and mystical world where live music meets theatre. Mark Beresford, reviewing the launch, said, "One of Emma's amazing talents is the fact that she can transition so effortlessly between the piano and violin but still maintain a perfect vocal tone and range..."
Kaz Mitchell writing in Melbourne's Impress magazine said of Emma's debut album, "Real Life Computer Game is as fresh and inventive as I had hoped it would be, and easily fits into my top 10 albums of the year so far."
Her theatrical fascination led Emma to the dark-side in early 2009 – the decadent world of cabaret. The musical Downside Up (co-written with Jacob Diefenbach) debuted to a sold out audience at The Judith Wright Centre in Brisbane. Shortly after, Emma began another theatrical collaboration with world renowned physical theatre company Zen Zen Zo for their “off kilter” adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The Tempest received rave reviews with Katherine Lyall-Watson writing in ourbrisbane.com -
"... the music is stunning. Emma Dean and Colin Webber composed the score and it conveys mood, tension, beauty and whimsy perfectly... What a stroke of genius for director Lynne Bradley to cast Emma Dean as Ariel. Emma plays the grand piano and the violin during the show, using her violin to add menace when needed. And her voice is pure magic. She sang some of Ariel's lines, spoke others, and was captivating throughout. Emma Dean is a compelling performer, whether as a singer, musician or actor."
Emma took a two month break from the world of performing in August and September 2009 to take a close look at the world around her and to reflect on its beauty and the important things in her life. Emma will return to Brisbane in late September to prepare for an East Coast tour of the cabaret show The Wheel of Frank Confession.
Part musical showcase and part intimate theatre piece, “the Wheel of Frank Confession” will bring together Emma, Emily Davis (Adl), Ben Stewart (Bris) and Brendan Maclean (Syd) for a show that will push the boundaries of conventional music performance. The artists in this show will give up the constrictive segregation of “opener” through to “headliner” and the graduated importance this lends to present a homogenous front. On “the Wheel…” tour, they’ll each have they’re own space on stage to share songs, discuss them, challenge and harass each other, tell tales (tall and true) and generally interact with each other and the audience. And last, but not at all least, spin the dreaded “Wheel of Frank Confession” and confess their deepest, darkest secrets, desires and fears.
It promises to be heart-lifting, heart-breaking, dark, funny, spontaneous, quirky, confessional, confidential, eye-opening, intuitive, instructional, sexy...
This CD is the soundtrack recorded by Emma and Colin Webber for Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre's 2009 production of The Tempest based on Shakespeare's play.
Downside Up was recorded and mixed by Jacob Diefenbach and contains a selection of songs from the music theatre piece written by Emma and Jacob.