No, eee gee, not the Bee Gees, although the vocal range is similar.
She’s Danish, real name Emma Grankvist, and she inhabits, according to previous press releases, a “wonderfully weird world”. She’s been living in New York for a couple of years, which I suppose makes the point rather well.
It was also a couple of years ago that I first stumbled across her with a song, ‘All or Nothing’, billed as a journey into the emotions of self-pity and mental awakening; the realisation that “you’re feeling paralysed from your lack of actions, and slowly realise that you now have to work twice as hard to get where you want to be, because you’ve been snoozing your life away.”
There was a notably surreal video that accompanied it in which a fish swam aimlessly around its bowl, apparently calling out her name but weighed against that was her equally notable and top class voice, which delivered an obscure piece of Nordicana with some panache.
So I was forewarned and forearmed before listening to and watching ‘Promise to pick up the ‘phone’, (not eee gee to ET, I’m assured) which is a track on her latest album, ‘SHE-REX’, both of which are released on 1st September on the Future Classic label.
The album title might reveal a little more about her psyche as she wordplays both the most feared and deadly dinosaur and the notion of a woman being king, which is a similar proposition to that of Alessandra’s ‘Queen of Kings’, which I believe might have won Eurovision if not for the presence of the unstoppable Loreen. It relegates ‘girl power’ to the status of a school playground fad.
I think I know who wears the pants around her household.
But that apparent ultra-feminism does contrast with her introverted personality and she has downplayed the significance of the title in interviews.
She straddles genres, being an aficionada (or aficionado, I’ll leave it to you) of both Joni Mitchell and Banks. Perhaps that has shaped an anti-folk/dark pop style that is evident on much of her work although she has even experimented with disco on the album, with bits of ABBA thrown in which is appropriate on the day Agnetha Fältskog released her first single in a decade.
I’m not sure I’ve grasped the sentiments of the song correctly but it seems to be an admission that the bright lights of the big city have proved to be too much and all it needs is a phone call to get her back home.
“Oh it’s too much I know/to assume you’ll wait forever if the sexting gets old”.
Those bright lights have had a profound effect on numerous female singer-songwriters. In Brimheim’s case she found the love in Manhattan that was denied to her in the Faroe Islands, engaging with her girlfriend even though it broke her mother’s heart.
In Siv Jakobsen’s case, the relationship she had with her beau in Williamsburg ensures that she’s “at my best with an ocean between me and you” after he “made his bed and made me lie in it, like we were already dead and done and gone and dead and done.”
Meanwhile, Lissie’s adventure to Hollywood ended with the damning “I fell in love with California/I fell in love with a dream… Oh, Hollywood/You broke my heart just because you could” before she hightailed it back to the Midwest and the forty acres of her farm.
All of those songs had a degree of pathos about them that was overwhelming but eee gee manages to convey, despite the gloomy opening chords, similar emotions in an uplifting way.
It’s a sublime piece of indefinable country/folk/pop that she delivers delightfully, vocally. She can sing soprano or alto, every bit as well as Adele can, every word is crystal clear and she even manages to throw in a pastiche of Sia’s nasal fashion at the end of the first line.
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