EP Review: Emily Manuel – Live Forever

Emily Manuel is a Denver, USA based artist who hails from somewhere a little closer to home. She grew up just south of the Humber from here in Lincolnshire, and has just hit our radar thanks to her new EP that combines classical, jazz and indie. It’s called Live Forever.

By Graeme Smith

Though new to us, Emily has had quite a career so far. She shared a stage with Jamie Cullum and her music has been featured in Timestamp, a public exhibition created during the coronavirus pandemic. She also apparently once shared a bathroom with Bjork, but that’s a story for another time. She is classically and jazz trained, so you will hear those influences in her music across this EP’s five tracks.

The EP opens with its title track. It’s a folksy beginning but there is an experimental edge to Emily’s sound which immediately takes you. As does her soft and compelling vocals. They tell an image-laden story awash with atmospheric instrumental layers. It’s a captivating start.

So Long has a more intimate feel to it. It opens with delicate piano before vulnerable vocals come in. There’s a grittiness to its lyrics that nicely contrasts the classical feel of its instrumentals. Scrawl keeps things gentle while introducing some cinematic layers. There’s a soulfulness to it that makes it a highlight.

When This Is Over is a rousing piece that combines jazzy piano, marching percussion and vibrant acoustic guitar. It slowly simmers before reaching a stripped-back but powerful finish. Arms of Mine closes the EP with a wistful moment. Its autobiographical lyrics speak of goodbyes and new love. It’s a beautifully authentic ending.

Live Forever was recorded at the Ghosthouse in Denver. The EP features Emily Manuel on guitar, piano, synths and upright bass, Christine Palmer on brass, Russick Smith on strings and Adriana Perez on drums. You can give it a listen below.