[Q&A] Empara Mi Sends Chills Down Spines with ‘Suitcase Full of Sins’

Photo Credit: Tiffany Anna (@tiffanyannaphotography)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // April 14, 2020

The Guernsey-born Empara Mi has an enchanting presence that’ll send chills down your spine. Although she only made her stunning debut in 2016, she’s already made a well-deserved spot for herself as one of the next British/Irish songstresses on your radar. Whether it’s a gorgeous ballad like “Shout” or a powerful track like “Ditch,” Empara Mi’s fantastic new mini-album, Suitcase Full of Sins, has something for everyone.

On Suitcase Full of Sins, Empara Mi explained,

“‘Suitcase Full of Sins’ is a compilation of all of my demons over the past five years. I wanted to pour all the fractured states of my mind into the music, hence the journey between chaos and complete solitude but always with a side of EXTRA. I was lucky enough to work with some incredible producers, Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Childish Gambino) and Owen Cutts, to create a world around the songs with no fear of genre, which is why each song feels more like a scene from a movie as they each play their own role in the album.”

To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Empara Mi about dark times, mischief, and of course, Suitcase Full of Sins.

HH: For those who don’t know, how did you first get into music?

EM: I’ve always been writing ever since I can remember, but I didn’t take a typical musical path. I actually went to uni and did a history degree. It was only after I graduated that I connected with some producers. With them, I ended up writing a couple of songs for some other people, so that was my first experience writing professionally. That experience was pretty instrumental in me learning how I wanted to write for myself and what kind of things I wanted to talk about. After writing quite a lot here and there for various people’s projects I started to get noticed by other people in the industry and got a chance to work with some dream list people for my own project!

HH: From just the title, Suitcase Full Of Sins sounds like a whole lot of mischief and roguery. Why did you choose to focus on your demons this time around?

EM: It’s one of my favourite lines from a song called “No More” on the album. I think, whether I like it or not, the overall theme of my music over that period of writing the album was quite dark. I didn’t enjoy the time I spent at the beginning of the journey and my music definitely reflected that. It made sense to group these songs into its own chapter and tie a bow on it. It just made sense to me that this would be the name because it symbolizes collecting all the not so good times that I’d been carrying around and wrapping them all up and leaving them behind. 

HH: You’re known for gorgeous ballads like “Shout,” but also powerful tracks like “Ditch.” How is your sound so versatile? What inspires your sonic direction? 

EM: I’m definitely not a linear person. I do recognize that I switch between multiple versions of myself on a daily basis, so it makes sense to me that I can be a bad bitch in the morning, cry by the afternoon, and then be relatively hopeful by dinner. So I think my music reflects all personalities.

HH: What was it like working with Andrew Dawson and Owen Cutts on the record? 

EM: Both are great people! I don’t write with other people a lot as I like to write when I’m particularly inspired and that is usually at random points in the day. However, Owen and I definitely clicked and found ourselves having very similar tastes in music. We wanted to be more poetic than simplistic, so I wrote… I think, five of the tracks on the album with him! Andrew has quite the repertoire so I knew it was a bit of a risk reaching out, but I’m so glad we got the chance to work together. I spent a lot of time with him in his studio in LA just going crazy on these tracks; that was definitely a highlight of my journey so far. 

HH: How crazy was it to hear your music in Love Island?

EM: It was amazing, mostly because I was already obsessed with the program so it just makes it even better for me! I’m used to my tracks getting used on scenes that usually revolve around someone getting slaughtered or something similarly dramatic, which I also love, but this was a nice change seeing the music used so differently!

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

EM: Spooky Black – “Without You” (He’s not rising, but still.) 
Bree Runway – “APESHIT”
JoJo – “Joanna” (JoJo’s coming back is to die for.)

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