By Jessamy Baldwin
I recently sat down with talented singer-songwriter Empara, who is quickly taking over the UK music scene. We chatted about her Guernsey roots, Tarantino, her ‘androgynous writing style’ and her plans for the future.
Guernsey-born music artist Empara – or as we know her, Chloe Curran – has gone from strength to strength over the past year. With over 200,000 views across YouTube, tracks on iTunes/Spotify and an exciting project just around the corner (soon to be announced), the sky’s the limit for our girl from ‘the rock’.
The 25-year-old (known as Empara Mi until recently) now lives in London where she is rapidly becoming a star in her own right. She has already worked with Kendrick Lamar’s producer Rahki as well as Kanye West’s producer Andrew Dawson, and her track ‘Shine on You’ was just featured on Broadchurch’s new season trailer.
Empara’s unique sound exudes soul, hip-hop, R&B and alternative vibes, but is powerfully ‘genre-less’. Her debut track, the stripped back and ethereal ‘Wanderlust’, caught the ears of many (including Radio 1’s Annie Mac) and her bold, dark follow up ‘The Come Down’ saw her travel to Japan to shoot a music video.
With inspiration stemming from her family’s diverse music taste, Empara said she is ‘always wanted to be a singer’.
‘I know everyone says that, but there’s never been any doubt that I wouldn’t be. I’ve always loved music and it was very much instilled into me to be creative and experimental with my music taste, as my parents always have been.
‘One of my earliest memories was my dad’s obsession with Eminem. My parents bought me a karaoke machine and I recorded myself rapping over his record. Thankfully that turned into singing, but my taste hasn’t changed much since.’
Guernsey will ‘always be home’ to Empara.
‘Guernsey is extremely special to me, it’s where I grew up – it’s what gives me a different perspective on everything I do. When I fly home I love to soak it all in. It’s such a tranquil place and so different to the claustrophobia of a big city. It always provokes some creative emotions for me. Most of all I love being back to see my family and friends.
‘I always felt that I had to make a leap into a bigger pond though, if I really wanted to pursue music. After school, I did a history degree in London whilst continuing to write and record on the side.
‘Once I graduated I put everything into it and recorded as much original music as possible and showed anyone who would listen. I ended up writing for a few other artists and eventually got discovered by my now manager and the rest is history!’
An average day for Empara consists of writing and recording in her home studio or going to other artists’ studios to collaborate and write. The rest of the time she is busy researching artists and videographers with whom to work.
‘I’m lucky that every day my job revolves around being creative and doing something I genuinely love!’
Her unique sound is something that sets her apart from the crowd, but the desire to be different was never a driving force.
‘I feel like if you go out of your way to try to do something different, a lot of the time it won’t transpire that way. I can only try to be myself and create music that I would actually want to hear and if it’s perceived as different then I’m happy.
‘To me, everything that I write and produce is my own tailor-made genre of everything that I love to listen to. Then you add my slightly unusual voice and my semi androgynous style of writing and it’s just my own medley of madness!’
With the music industry constantly in flux, Empara is hopeful that the notion of storytelling -behind all music – will never die regardless of industry changes.
‘With a shift towards online streaming and playlists, I think it’s easy to tailor your style and approach towards getting heard, as opposed to considering a body of work as a whole.’
‘I would like to think that the concept of the ‘album’ is not dead and that people don’t only focus on a single by single basis. I can’t ignore my dream of creating bodies of work that I can be proud of with a proper story telling narrative as all my favourite albums do so well.
‘My album so far consists of a trilogy linking the album concept together, my track ‘Wanderlust’ being the first of the three songs that make up the trilogy. I can only hope that when the album comes out, people will listen to it as a whole and hear the story I want to tell with my music.
‘Nothing beats the feeling you get when you are sitting watching TV or listening to the radio and your music comes on. Broadchurch recently used my music for their advert and it was funny hearing something I wrote in my bedroom be played on my TV.’
Being a success is something you have to work for she says, and Empara is by no means done fulfilling her dreams.
‘To be successful, you’ve got to believe in yourself first and foremost. Everyone else will have their opinions, but the one thing you have to remember is that no one else is you and you have to be unapologetic about that to survive and achieve great things. Have a strong team of people around you who really believe in you and share your goals. Also, a positive mind set is invaluable.
‘Success for me is when you hit that marker you set for yourself, and the contentment you feel when you know you have put everything into trying to get there.
‘In terms of the music industry itself, you need a positive outlook to deal with rejection and a hell of a lot of resilience to continue to open doors for yourself.
‘My ultimate goal is to have my music in a Tarantino film. I know it’s not the obvious goal for most artists, but Tarantino has been a massive influence on my music, so if that ever happened, that would be a very successful moment for me personally.
Her mantra? ‘Find what you love and try to be the best at it, whatever that might be’.
Get to know Empara a little better
Quote: Dave Grohl ‘No one is you, and that is your power’.
Song of the moment: ‘Energy’ by Avelino ft. Stormzy and Skepta
Travel destination: LA
Things to do when not working: Go to gigs, spend time with family/friends and dog Yoda
TV show: Broadchurch
Movie: Natural born killers
Book: ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ by Mitch Albom
Vice’s music channel ‘Noisey’ described her as ‘unique and fragile vulnerability… while also being imbued with the resilience to see the golden light at the end of the day’.
Clash magazine said: ‘There are two elements at work in Empara – soul, and control.’