An Interview with Emily Maguire


By Arran George

Stripped back, haunted, beautiful; Emily Maguire will perform at the Old Fire Station this month.

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Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Emily Maguire will take to the stage in Carlisle on the 4  June to perform her thought provoking and emotionally rich lyrics to a Cumbrian audience for the first time.

Maguire’s new album, ‘A Bit of Blue’ has received the endless praise of critics and fans since its release in February. Similarly her 2016 book of poetry, prose and lyrics ‘Notes from the North Pole’ also received praise from all corners of the music community.

When talking with Emily she explained that her recent works came out of a ‘really dark time’ when she experienced a particularly serious bipolar episode in combination with the chronic tendonitis in both of her arms. Emily explained that the creation of her new stripped back album was a cathartic and therapeutic way in which she could express herself again, and it shows in her work.

She said: “I knew how I wanted it to be, stripped back, haunting and beautiful.”

Like much of her earlier material, ‘A Bit of Blue’ was recorded in the Australian outback. The outback is huge part of Emily’s story, not only as the place where she records most often, but as the place where she made a living as a goat cheese farmer while living in an environmentally sustainable eco house after her first record. Long-time collaborator Nigel Butler was once again at the helm of the production desk. She has great respect for him during our conversation.

Emily said: “Nigel is a genius. The most musical person I have ever met.”

Perhaps the most uplifting quality of Emily’s story comes from her lineage of charity work. During 2014 she performed countless gigs in mental health hospitals around the south of England. In an attempt to remove the stigma of mental health, Emily has also been a spokesperson on numerous radio shows, and her books ‘Start Over Again’ and most recently ‘Notes from the north pole’ are directly linked to her own experiences as a person with bipolar.

She explains that publicly coming out and identifying herself as a person with bipolar was something that her management thought would end her career, however this was not the case and Emily continues to write and perform all over the world.

She explained: “It was the most fantastic thing to have done at the time.

“Stigma only has the power if you pander to it.”

I asked her if she was excited to be playing all the upcoming shows.

She responded: “Yeah, I love it.”

The two years where she couldn’t perform or write has obviously strengthened her resolve. We finish our conversation with her explaining that she is “so pleased to play” and that when we see her at the Old Fire station she’ll be like always is when she is performing nowadays with “a big smile on her face.”

Emily will be performing at the Old Fire Station, Warwick Street, Carlisle on Sunday 4th June 2017.  Tickets are £12, available from the Box Office on 01228 598596 or online at

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