Tell us a little bit about you
I’m Emily Divine. I’m 22 years old. I’ve just finished my 4 year Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and am now working in Edinburgh. I’m originally from Edinburgh but moved to the Isle of Arran when I was 11. This is when I started taking music more seriously and entering some local competitions. I think it was only when I won some that I realised I might be half decent at it haha.
What first sparked your interest in music, do you remember a pivotal moment?
I first started gaining interest once I went to high school. There were some little competitions I was put in for in primary school but I wasn’t really that interested at the time. I think a pivotal moment was in my first year of high school where I must’ve been about 12, I was chosen to represent the school for the children in need choir. I remember being buzzing about it because the other girls that were chosen were older and really cool whereas I was just quite a shy wee thing. It definitely sparked something for me to push myself out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I did.
What do you gain from singing? Do you find it helps you in other areas of your life?
For me singing is such a good outlet. I find that I don’t really know how to express my feelings sometimes but when I sing it allows me to get my feelings out in ways I never would be able to without it. Thankfully this isn’t something I have to experience now, but especially after a breakup, it’s great to be able to vent your feelings into either writing a song or singing songs you can relate to!!
What do you do to keep motivated if you’re struggling with creative blocks?
When I get creative blocks, I find it really annoying and have to really try not to get fed up with myself! I’ve learned that if it isn’t working for me, I need to just leave it to brew by itself. Sometimes emotions can be overwhelming, and you aren’t quite ready yourself to deal with them, so giving yourself some time to mull things over can honestly be the best way to get over the block!
Tip: However, if you’re wanting fast results, I’ve found a good way is writing random feelings and thoughts down on a bit of paper and then organising them to see if it sparks any ideas!
Tip: However, if you’re wanting fast results,
I’ve found a good way is writing random
feelings and thoughts down on a bit of
paper and then organising them to see
if it sparks any ideas!
How did you find keeping up singing alongside studying a degree full time?
I’ve found singing alongside uni both frustrating and rewarding, it was good to have a break from my studies but at the same time it can be really hard to find the time to actually sit down and do it!
What are some tips for those who can’t seem to find time to do what they love?
When you find yourself with some free time, check in with yourself to see if you are in the right space to do what it is you’re wanting to, if you are, great! If not that’s also fine, give yourself some time to chill and let the idea sit with you until you do feel ready. There is no point in making yourself do it when you don’t 100% want to because you will end up not loving it as much!
Set gentle reminders on your phone. Sometimes it’s just as simple as forgetting that you want to do something. The idea slips your mind and by the time you remember, you’re busy again! I’ve found setting some reminders aids the idea to stick around in my head and then when I have time I already know what I’m going to do.
There is no point in making yourself do
it when you don’t 100% want to because
you will end up not loving it as much!
Since you’ve performed in front of audiences, what are ways you find work to boost your confidence?
Performing has definitely played a massive part in my confidence levels over the years. When I first started, I used to get the worst nerves and you could hear it in my voice, but I managed to sort of train myself into pushing them towards a different part of my body. It sounds really weird, but I would almost imagine having the shaky sound and feeling in my voice down to my foot which would tap instead and I don’t really know how, but it worked! As time went on though it definitely got easier and I am a lot more relaxed now. I think as time goes on you understand yourself a lot more and know what you like and dislike. This is how I’ve built my confidence. By setting yourself personal boundaries and calling others out when they cross them. it ties in with performing in a way as now I never say yes to an event if I don’t think I will enjoy it. Sometimes you have unfortunate gigs that make you wish you never went, but this only solidifies your personal boundaries more.
My top tip for if you’re performing a solo and you make a mistake; if you can, just continue but if it’s quite bad and you don’t know what to do, just tell the audience that. The number of times I’ve forgotten lyrics and panicked so much I can’t continue is a lot! But by just admitting to the audience ‘you know what, I’ve forgotten the lyrics’ allows you a bit of time to gather yourself, gives the audience a laugh, and also releases some nerves and tension. People want to see you succeed and you need to give yourself a moment sometimes to reset and be able to start again.
During the pandemic many people have started posting content online. Many people are hesitant due to the nature of social media, how have you dealt with posting online and the negatives that can come from it?
Posting online has always been the way I’ve got my music out there. I have some horrific videos of 13-year-old me on Instagram that will be there forever. I think sometimes social media can be really toxic, but only if you allow it to be. I always make a conscious effort to unfollow accounts that strike an uneasy feeling in me and replace them with ones that make me feel empowered or just have pictures of really cute dogs. It’s too easy to be faced with unrealistic ideals especially for the younger generation, so I think it’s really important that you make your online space as friendly and directed to your own ideals as possible. In other words, screw society's ideals and make your own haha. With regards to music, I take the same approach. I am more myself on my music branded Instagram and enjoy posting on there so much more. There is way less pressure and a lot more support, but I would say my advice would be to make your online world more realistic to your physical world.
screw society's ideals and make your own
Do you believe that social media is a useful tool in getting your voice out there or do you think traditional methods, e.g busking/gigs are more effective?
Personally, social media has been the best way to get my music out there. Because of social media, I managed to get my first release on two radio stations which was a dream come true for me. For others, more traditional methods will work for them, but I think the beauty of social media is that it’s free for anyone to use regardless of having fancy instruments, equipment or software. On the side of busking and gigs though I think they are more useful for experience in a real world setting and for building confidence. So overall, I would say that a good combination of all of these is best, and if you’re struggling to fund yourself for equipment there is always someone who will rent it to you if you ask!!
What has been one pro and one con of trying to produce content during these times?
One pro of producing content during the pandemic was that when I released my first single it got masses of online attention because everyone was using it a lot more, so this boosted my music massively. One con I would say for me has been not being able to perform in a live setting, there is nothing quite like setting up and playing for an audience!
What are your tips to getting recognition?
For me, it isn’t all about recognition anymore. I like to sing by myself in my room and post for my own pleasure and for my family and friends! However, I think the best method for getting recognition or just getting yourself out there in general is to ask anyone and everyone who has a platform to promote you to either play your songs or promote a gig you’re doing. Most of the time, people want to help you, sometimes you will be disappointed by people, but for the most part others will be willing to help!
Most of the time, people want to help you,
sometimes you will be disappointed by
people, but for the most part others will
be willing to help!
What album got you through the pandemic?
For me it will always be Maisie Peters who is my musical hero! She didn’t release an album, but she released “Daydreams”, “The List”, “Sad Girl Summer” and “Maybe Don’t” in 2020 which I think I played on constant repeat.
Are there any up and coming artists we should all be listening to?
Some up-and-coming artists I listened to during the pandemic and now are Lizzie McAlpine (you can find a few covers of hers on my Instagram) Flowerbxmb. and MAY-A who I absolutely adore. I think these three artists are going to be producing some unreal tracks in years to come on top of the ones they already have out!
What’s a quote/saying you live by?
It’s cheesy as hell but I always tell myself that things happen for a reason and if it’s meant to be, it will happen. It just makes life that little bit less stressful and sometimes it’s nice to not put everything on your own shoulders!
I always tell myself that things happen for a
reason and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.