On the Couch with Emma Hamilton

Emma-Hamilton-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Emma Hamilton?
I am a singer/accordionist/pianist, based in Sydney, I perform a mixture of French, jazz and a touch of Cajun music with my pianist brother Tom. I am half French, half Australian, and passionate about French culture. I am also a mother to two young children.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I feel so grateful that I am able to be a working musician and to work and travel with my brother with whom I share a special musical bond. We previously lived in London where we had a residency at a jazz club in Piccadilly Circus with our band playing 6 nights a week, so I guess living back in London would be my dream again!

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by other female musicians who are able to play instruments, sing, and tour the world and combine this with having a family also. Artists such as Diana Krall, Blosson Dearie, who combine singing with such a high level of musicianship are a huge inspiration to me, especially growing up when so many musicians tended to be male.

Being a singer and musician is such a big part of my identity and I never wanted to compromise that once I became a mother also. When I was young I always look up to other bands who worked with their siblings too; from The Corrs, The Dixie Chicks, The Everly Brothers, The Bee Gees, Rufus and Martha Wainwright. There is something so special when sibling voices mix together, an intuition that you rarely get with other collaborations.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
To continue to share my love of classic French songs, jazz and Cajun songs with audiences around the world. There is no better feeling than playing songs to people that share the same emotion and excitement that I feel about these songs! And hopefully to inspire some young people to take up the accordion!

I have always approached the accordion the same way I play the piano, as an accompaniment to my singing, and even as a rhythmic instrument that I use to improvise solos – in a way that a guitarist might do. Hopefully people can start to see that the accordion is a cool instrument, and can be a bit rock and roll too!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Vietnam – the food, culture and atmosphere!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I always take people to the Scenic Railway in the Blue Mountains because its a little bit extremely scary!

What are you currently reading?
I have started a ton of books next to my bed, but as I am usually so exhausted at the end of the day I only ever read one per night! Currently I have The Guest List by Lucy Foley and Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph!

What are you currently listening to?
I just discovered a young singer/pianist from Brisbane,  Jude York – I’m obsessed!

Happiness is?
Playing music with my family.

What does the future hold for you?
More and more concerts in small theatres across Australia!

Emma presents An Evening in Paris at the Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne (NSW) on Friday 5 May 2023. For more information, visit: www.orpheum.com.au for details.

Image: Emma Hamilton (supplied)