My 2017 Gigging Highlights

If you'd have told me three years ago that in 2017 i'd have played multiple live gigs, including one in the middle of Derby to several hundred people, i'd have hoped that might be the case but had severe doubts. I'd probably have also been eating a bowl full of melted chocolate mixed with Strawberries and Rice Krispies and staring into space to the soundtrack of either Lana Del Rey or Blur's 13 at the time.

This year, however, I set myself the task of playing at least 10 live gigs around the East Midlands. And guess what? I achieved it!

Here are some of my personal highlights...

Faction - Rough Trade, Nottingham (15/10/2017)


Without a doubt, my favourite (and equally most anxiety-inducing) moment of the year was having the honour of performing at BBC Introducing, Rough Trade and YNot Festival's monthly Faction event alongside three incredible artists.

Myself and Simon (Waldram, my live music partner!) may have somehow broken the photobooth before the show and had to embarrassingly inform a staff member, and I may have had the usual thoughts running through my head of "it's ok emzae, if this is to be the moment your potential career crashes and burns, let's at least try and enjoy it" but the event ended up being a lot of fun. Sure, I was glad to get off stage without forgetting lyrics or making a complete fool of myself, but I very much enjoyed my double-gig weekend in Nottingham which included a separate trip to The Bodega (mentioned later). 

I would like to once again thank BBC Introducing for just being awesome and believing in me.

Derbyshire Food & Drink Festival - Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire (15/07/2017)


A good food festival is basically my idea of the perfect day out, so taking up this opportunity was a no-brainer for me. I ate noodles and one of those new-fangled 'bubble cone' ice creams before taking to the...grass, and there was even a puppy in the audience. 

I know this post is supposed to be about live music, but I would just like to add that it was a very very cute puppy.

Acoustic Sessions - The Bodega, Nottingham (14/10/2017)


The first gig of a rare double-gig weekend in Nottingham, I got extremely lost in the city centre beforehand with no phone or GPS signal. After spending what seemed like an age walking round in circles asking various members of the public for assistance (mostly they replied with "I don't know mate, i'm lost too") and having only eaten a single piece of toast all day, I conveniently found myself outside a Five Guys.

A burger was purchased by myself as my friend Andrew continued to ask members of the public for assistance. It turned out by that time we were fairly close by, so I quickly wolfed down the burger as we walked to the venue. It was worth it. A paracetamol later and I was doing my thing in the acoustic sessions.

The BIG Fearon Fundraiser - Fearon Hall, Loughborough (07/10/2017)


Myself and Simon, along with the wonderful staff at Fearon Hall, organised a lovely fundraising gig at a building very close to our hearts in October. I dressed up as a strange 90s tinkerbell (ignore my bad roots) and performed with Simon for 45 minutes, but I remember the evening for more than just our set. 

Unbelievably, we managed to actually get quite a few people to attend and with the help of tickets, a raffle and loads of cake, we raised over £300 for the hall.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the amount raised and all of those who supported, donated to and promoted the event. The whole thing gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside and I'm sure the money will be used for great things.

Special mentions to...

My gig at the Derby Christmas Lights Switch-On, which was the coldest (temperature-wise) environment i've ever played in and the largest audience i've ever performed in front of. Each time I walk through the Market Place, I cannot believe I stood on a stage right there and sang my heart out. 

The two gigs I played at The Old Bell Hotel in Derby, which had a roaring log fire both in November and in the height of summer.

Here's to 2018, and all new gigging adventures to come.

Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to listen, and a special thank you to Simon Waldram for performing with me, Sian Eldridge and Joseph Hunter for their photography skills, Andrew Hartshorn for giving me lifts, videoing performances and keeping his cool in stressful traffic situations, and most of all my incredibly patient family.

emzae x