Knead To Know: Emily Mercer 💥

after a short break we’re back with our next Knead To Know feature with the fantastic Emily Mercer! ⚡️

we love writing up these interviews, it’s a super special way to connect with an artist and find out a bit more about them, their influences, and what they’ve got coming up. Emily’s a singer-songwriter here in Manchester whose been on the scene for a good while now – we’ve caught her performing a bunch of times now and every single time she only gets better and better!

She’s recently released her single “Maybe Then” – another single in a great discography of music for her, sounding fantastic with intricate melodies, huge production and her band only give the song even more strength to its sound. We’ve been big fans of Emily’s music for a while now and this only solidifies her songwriting ability – find our interview below! ⬇️

Emily, it’s brilliant to get you here for our Knead to Know interview – let’s start by talking a little about your music, and what you’ve been doing lately!

I’m a singer-songwriter and pianist on the Manchester scene. My music fuses indie, jazz, soul and folk so I usually just say ‘alternative/indie’ to save on characters. Lately I have been recording new music and working on building a new full band sound with my amazing band members!

When did you start doing music and what was the main reason for it? 

I started playing music when I was around 12 or 13, playing guitar in an emo band believe it or not! As a painfully shy kid I enjoyed the outlet that allowed me to be as dramatic as I felt. I was absolutely obsessed with bands like Green Day and My Chemical Romance and I just wanted to be like them. My reasons are slightly different now haha!

What inspires your sound? Who are some of your favourite artists?

After the emo era my absolute favourite band was The Dresden Dolls, and they are what made me switch to piano and were hugely influential on my writing. I also love Jazz and would listen to singers like Billie Holiday as a teenager. I became obsessed with Fiona Apple’s music while I was at uni and she remains a huge influence along with other fairly experimental songwriters like Weyes Blood and Cate Le Bon. More recently I’m into a lot of R&B and Soul. There’s an artist called Baby Rose who I can’t get enough of and she has really inspired some of my recent writing. 

You’ve recently released your single “Maybe Then” – tell us a little bit about it, inspirations and how it came to be about 🙂

Maybe Then started as a really simple, 3 chord demo. I usually go really full on with my chord structures so it was kind of a stripping back, it’s a really simple song. I was then approached by producer Andy Raphael who was up for producing the track and it became the cinematic track it is now! The song is about letting go of perfectionism as an artist, the main hook is ‘I’ve been waiting on a work of art but there’s no such thing’, and I actually ended up finding this to be a really helpful mantra. It’s about how we wait around for things to be perfect but nothing ever will be, the timing will never be ideal so just get out and do what you want to do! My friend Philippa Oliver filmed an amazing music video for the track too. It’s very dramatic!

What would you say are your main inspirations for creating and writing?

Lots of my songs are about the quirks of human behaviour. Whether this is something I’ve observed in someone else or myself. A lot of it is quite self-exploratory at the moment, questioning why I do certain things and think in certain ways. 

What’s your process for creating or writing music?

All of my songs start as a little phrase or melody at the piano. It usually takes a long time between an idea appearing and finishing the song, it can be months. I don’t have a set approach other than building on a tiny snippet of an idea over time. I’ll record my ideas in logic and build harmonies over them. Then I send them to my band members and they add their ideas. Since I’ve been working with a band I’ve left a lot more space in my songs. They used to be very dense with piano melodies but now I leave some breathing room for the others. I am loving working with a band, they elevate the music so much and add things I never would have thought of! It’s much more collaborative now. 

How did the lockdowns impact you as a musician, or even in general? It’s been nearly two years but they still have a lasting impression on everyone, we find!

The lockdowns are kind of a blur. It did give a lot of writing time and I think I wrote some of my favourite songs to date! What it has done is to make me appreciate everything much more. I hadn’t done loads of collaboration before and now it’s my favourite thing. I feel more a part of the Manchester scene now than I did before actually, and some of the remote collaborations I did have turned into lovely friendships! 

We’ve seen you’ve been doing regular nights over at the Art of Tea, and working much more frequently with Manchester Women Songwriters’ Collective – how have you found all of these?

I love running these nights. Above all it’s been a great way to connect with loads of new musicians, and hosting a night where people come especially to listen to great music has been really rewarding. With Manchester Women Songwriters Heidi and I are trying to do a showcase every quarter or so and we’ve been loving it. The reception has been amazing, we sold out our last show and we have another in the pipeline at the end of July so watch this space! 

You’ve been performing a whole load with other musicians as well – we’ve seen a lot on the socials! How has this come about?

A lot of this started out as remote lockdown collaborations. That was the case with Canter Semper, Tom Welsh, Tom Poggi (all amazing artists) who have since become regular collaborators and friends. It’s always the case that one thing leads to another so it all started with those and has snowballed into playing with lots of lovely people. 

How have your releases been going lately – what response have you got from audiences and fans? 

I released Maybe Then back in March and the reception was lovely. It’s always really hard trying to self-market everything, it’s a full-time job in itself really! But everyone has been lovely about it. I learn so much from every release so on to the next! 

Do you record in a studio or do you have a personal home studio?

A bit of both. I have recorded in professional studios and friends’ home studios in the past but I was lucky enough to get a grant from the Arts Council last year to build my own home studio. I am loving having the space and equipment to experiment and I am working on improving my production skills. 

Have you got anything coming up in 2022 we should know about?

I’m currently working on a couple of singles and a new EP with the band, which is coming along really nicely. I hope to start releasing tracks from it in the Autumn! There will be a full band EP launch show too, date TBC! Aside from that we have filmed some exciting live sessions that will be released soon and I just want to play more shows with the band and keep putting on local nights. It can be easy to get disheartened being an independent musician so I am just trying to appreciate what is in front of me and enjoy the ride! 

it’s great to be able to chat with Emily here, talking about her unique experiences and influences that help her to create music – we love finding out about the backstory of songs, their journey and how they came to be. I think we’ve all had the emo phase at some point too, it seems that a lot of musicians came to be through a love of that genre of music – personally I think that the acceptance that the genre gave people actually helped a lot of people figure out where they wanted to be and who they were! We can’t wait to hear more from her and her band, and we’ll definitely have to get down to one of their gigs soon. 😊

a big thank you to Emily for answering these questions for us – you can find all of her music on Spotify at, it’s well worth checking out her tunes! 🌛 we hope that you enjoyed this feature as much as we did – let us know what you think! 🥪

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