11-21 AUGUST 2022 View all events

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Presented by BLEACH*

Presented by BLEACH*

Introducing Emily Grace Taylor, a country-folk artist mixing luscious, guitar-driven indie-pop with country’s wistful theatricality and rawness. Known for her acclaimed indie-rock act, San Mei, Emily is launching a new project centring on her songwriting prowess.

Emily’s new alias – an ode to her happiest years living rurally with her family – marks a return to the music that feels like home. For an artist who usually creates in solitude, the residency is an opportunity to openly share her craft, from the first notes to the final showing.

For updates about this work, register via the Festival Resident Artists page.





Live at BLEACH*

Saturday 20 August


Location – North Burleigh Hub




Emily Hamilton, known for her acclaimed indie-rock as San Mei, is launching a new project that centres her songwriting capabilities. Introducing Emily Grace Taylor, a country-folk artist that mixes a decade of creating luscious, guitar-driven indie-pop with a lifelong love of country’s wistful theatricality and rawness, as heard on debut single ‘Till The Day’. Using her middle name and late mother’s maiden name, Emily Grace Taylor is, in part, an ode to the happiest years of their family’s life: living rurally for eight years. “The country is definitely where my heart is,” she says. “When I was young, my dad would play John Denver, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, and even as a little girl, I connected to it. It just resonates with me - it feels like home.” It makes sense, then, that Hamilton returned to country music during a difficult period that included the death of her mother, issues within her marriage, and the pandemic putting a halt to a breakthrough moment for San Mei in early 2020. As San Mei, Hamilton has released four EPs since 2017, including, most recently, In Comes The World, in March 2022. Beloved for her seamless blend of ‘60s pop harmonies, hazy shoegaze and searing guitar-rock, San Mei has received praise from triple J, Guardian Australia, NME, Nylon and more, supported the likes of Holy Holy, Jack River and Ali Barter, and played standout sets at Falls Festival and BIGSOUND. And in 2020, with heavy triple j rotation of ‘Hard to Face’, the lead single of San Mei’s third EP Cry, and a lauded SXSW appearance, Hamilton geared up with a big year, beginning with songwriting sessions for Diplo’s Mad Decent label.

Frustrated by the COVID-induced slowdown, the Gold Coast-based Hamilton channeled her feelings into songwriting. In time, Emily Grace Taylor formed — a project where she felt able to drop the pretenses that come with the indie-rock world. “With the indie world, I always felt a need to be a bit cryptic or think of a cool way to say something,” she says. “But I feel like with this genre, I can just speak plainly and from my heart. The words can just flow.”

Hamilton’s first release as Emily Grace Taylor is ‘Till The Day’, a tender, lush ballad from the perspective of a man singing to his late wife - evoking her parent’s love story. Fans of San Mei will recognise Hamilton’s airy voice has added weight, a resonance that came when longtime collaborator and co-producer Michael McCartney encouraged Hamilton to throw herself emotionally into the tracks. The duo spent considerable time on each song
to perfect them - mastering three tracks in six months - but, at the same time, Hamilton found songwriting came more naturally than ever before. “I’ve gone through some pretty challenging things in the last few years - this sounds callous, but it’s great material,” she laughs. “It’s flowing out of me - and I love a bit of drama and romance as a person, so country music feels right to me.”

Pending releases like ‘Jealous’ and ‘Carried Away’ tackle country tropes with full heartedness, albeit adding in a twinge of darkness that recalls Chris Isaac’s ‘Wicked Games’, the melodrama of Orville Peck, and the pop sensibilities of Kacey Musgraves. But echoes of San Mei are still present in the fuzzy guitars that linger, adding a hazy, dream-pop glow to the tracks. Invigorated by country music’s ‘two chords and the truth’ mantra, Hamilton uses her own personal hardships to articulate universal feelings of heartbreak, longing and loss, mingled with a decade of creating innovative, genre hopping indie-pop.

“I hope that people get to hear what they’ve gone through, through my lense,” she says. “It’s a way for people to feel less alone.

    • Wheelchair access
    • Accessible toilet
    • Performance may contain loud sounds/music
    • Primarily Audio based content

    This work is in development – more information will be added closer to the event date.

    Click here for more information.

    Photo CreditEimhin Healy
    Free Event

    North Burleigh Hub

    Ed Hardy Park, The EsplanadeNorth Burleigh QLD 4220

    Witness the development of this work from 20 July and throughout the Festival. Check back soon for session times for the premiere of this work.
    Important Info
    • Food & beverage available on site
    • Transport options available
    • Parking
    • Free Event
    • Music

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