Emma Garriott, singer/songwriter and resident of Port McNeill, has just released her first CD, Fragile; a collection full of moody and evocative songs that despite their dark and sometimes stark nature, are packed full of poignant and irresistibly compelling vocal imagery.
Garriott, who moved here from Ladysmith with her husband, Caleb, wrote her first song when she was eight years old and hasn’t looked back since.
She explained how living in a small town has helped her grow as an artist. “I wouldn’t have done it [the album] if I wasn’t here. Because if I lived in a city, I would have kept trying to find other industry people to help me and do all those things I didn’t know how to do. Instead, being here I had to learn and then make myself do it.”
Her self-reliance, so common in rural communities of the North Island, was undeniable and Garriott’s ambition to create Fragile meant she did learn to do just about everything herself.
Recording, engineering and editing in her homemade sound studio went from the wish and need stage to reality.
Garriott was not totally alone on this venture though and as the album began to come together musically, friend and Port McNeill resident Trevor Harder, stepped in to help with album cover photography and Anthony Bucci worked on layout and design.
Jeremy Parker along with Harder and Beast, assisted with a bit of guitar work on a few tracks.
For the most part, it was Garriott who laid down and mixed the vocals and wrote and recorded the digital backup music.
During the day Garriott is a youth worker and at times her experience shows through in her music.
She explained how she used to write about, “someone who wasn’t me, who was struggling and how I wanted the world to see them.”
Songs about peer pressure, relationships or living on the street were common threads.
However, after going through some personal challenges herself, Garriott said: “This album says, I’m struggling and I [now] want the world to see me.”
Her hope was that by showing the rawness of those struggles, others might discover they are not alone.
There is the expected drive and ambition found in all artists trying to find an audience and recognition but with Garriott, there is also a genuine social conscience and concern for others.
When I asked her about her goals, I expected the standard, ‘fame, fortune and stardom but got something totally different as she explained: “I want to encourage people and let them know they are capable of doing what they want to do. If there is passion and desire there is a way.”
You can find Fragile on Spotify, some local stores, or through her website at emmagarriott.ca. Cost for the CD is only $10 and by buying local, you get to keep the money in the community.
– Bill McQuarrie article