Emily Wurramurra always loved music, but growing up in an indigenous culture in the Northern Territory it was rare for women to sing publicly. Thankfully she had the courage to pursue her musical ambitions, despite the cultural clash this represented. Below Emily shares what this achievement has meant to her.
Where I’m from we still practice sacred ceremonies and we still have that male hierarchy system. The women are taught from a very young age to be respectful: what to wear, how to treat your husband – cook, clean, wash anything for him. That’s my culture, and me being able to step out of that system and be a role model for my women in the community is a very powerful significance. I hope that other women are able to do this too and not be restricted by our culture. Yes, I respect it. I live for preserving my culture, but I believe that women can do anything.
What was your biggest inspiration growing up?
I had so many things that inspired me growing up. Musically, I was inspired by a lot of community bands from NT and bands from my community. My inspirations range from Jazz to hip hop and seeing those artists get up on stage and rock it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Do you miss your childhood in the Territory or are you more of a city girl these days?
I do! I miss it so much, I feel like there’s still a great divide and I’ve adapted to the city life, but I’d swap it for home any day.
You currently have your debut EP out. What can you tell us about that?
My Ep is called black smoke, and its made up of 6 songs focused around my childhood, the now and the future. Half of the songs are in my mother tongue- anindilyakwa- and half in English.
Can you share any amusing anecdotes from performing?
I have so many goodness me! When I was in Melbourne, it was the first gig to my Black smoke Tour. I was strumming out pretty hard to this song “tapsticks” and my string broke but I kept going and it was the very first time ever that happened. It was hilarious.
What was it like collaborating with Bernard Fanning?
It was amazing, he’s such a talented musician. SUPER supportive, and the most friendliest and most humble person I’ve met.