Scrapbook: Emmy The Great Flips Through Her Old Photo Albums
"This is what it looks like when a young woman gets run over by a subculture." Here's Emmy's journey through fashion and music through the years. #tbt
We have a regular contributor to Noisey called Emma Lee Moss. She writes sharp, funny articles. Most recently she interviewed the female A&R who signed Grimes and talked to her about her job and sexism in the music industry. She also writes silly but awesome pieces how to meet boys at festivals, and heads into the unknown (Rodeo Drive) to find out how much it would actually cost to be A$AP Rocky's girlfriend as stipulated via "Fashion Killa." Fearless.
But this is not her day job. Her day job is actually making music as Emmy The Great. Thus far the Hong Kong-born, UK-raised singer's released two solo albums, and one collaborative Christmas record (with Tim Wheeler from Ash), and this past March she released her third, Second Love (her debut was titled First Love). It's a record that richly textured (listen to that subtle vinyl crackle on "Hyperlink"), her voice—layered or standalone—is delicate like a sunbeam and soothing like an unexpected squeeze of the arm, meanwhile her lyrics are savvy, sometimes unsparing snapshots of the modern world we're plugged into and the difficulties encountered while negotiating it. There's a folk-ish delicacy to her tones and her oft-plucked guitars, but on Second Love she melds muted glitchy electronics which neatly complement the album's themes—modern love, growing up with the glow of a laptop, this changing age and ever-morphing emotions. You shoud just listen.
But before you listen, or maybe while you listen, below is Emma's ginormous #tbt. We made her rifle through her old photo albums—a life spanning China, England, LA and now NYC—to dig out her fashion triumphs and missteps, charting her music and style evolution along the way.
1984 was a good time. I lived with my parents, rent free. I didn’t go to school, I didn’t go to work, and I was barely responsible for my wellbeing and continued existence. Thankfully, due to my career as a musician, I was able to relive these glory years when I crawled back home between albums in the summer of 2011. In this picture I am confused, probably because my dad was into Phil Collins back then. Or I could be pooping.
A few years ago, I found this photo and discovered that I like myself. I’m the kid REFUSING TO CONFORM, fourth from the left on the second row.
This haircut is a real thing that happened. It being the 90s, I went in to a hairdresser and asked for "a Rachel." They refused, and sent me home with this thing, inspired by a Chinese pop star called Aaron Kwok. I imagine someone took this photo to distract me from my reflection in the water, in case I died in a reverse Narcissus situation.
Once upon a time, a selfie cost £2.50 at Woolworths and came in a row of four. Once upon a time, my style was inspired by Billy Joe Armstrong and Ace Ventura. This is what it looks like when a young woman gets run over by a subculture.
2008, Latitude Festival in the UK, during a phase when I considered spending £10 at Oxfam a huge shopping spree. This was around the time someone saw me with a paper grocery bag and said it was a good accessory, and I actually carried that bag around with me all day as a result. So here I imagine someone said, "Orange is a nice color for you," and this rubber ring was the closest thing I could find.
Dressed as Han Solo for a backing singing gig, during the days of Myspace Top 8. We were a band of 9 but I tried to choose a photo that shames the least amount of currently active musicians. Fortunately, I have zero shame. Cosplay FTW.
2009. Outside a London mall with my brother Robin, en route to Glastonbury in a bus with an odor I will affectionately liken to a can of old farts. This was taken just after Lily Allen walked past and said, "Nice bus," then told us she was heading to the roof to meet her helicopter. It was also the day after Michael Jackson died, which was weird because many of the people on the festival site didn’t know, so we felt like not only like the fart can, but also the bad news wagon. After two days, my brother had drunk so much of this free energy drink they were handing out that he was mostly on automatic, and every time someone told him Michael Jackson was dead, he freaked out. Please note Robin is rocking the 2000s UK student trend where your underwear is on display, and that underwear is from Marks and Spencer.
In 2013 I lived in LA and dated this guy who insisted on bringing his genie everywhere.
My secret shame is that I am so bad with clothes that my mother dresses me for shoots. If you ever see a photo of me and I look passable, that means Blossom was there. This is in Singapore in 2012. I am wearing my favorite Venus t-shirt by Jazz Domino Holly.
2013, playing at the DVF exhibition at LACMA, amongst 300 DVF dresses and wearing a DVF dress. I remember the lighting rig being quite minimal, so I imagine it was the strong female energy that projected a rainbow onto me.
SXSW 2015, feeling v monochrome. This festival was the most snacks I have ever consumed in my life. I am happy because we are at the Yahoo HQ, and Tech SXSW had all the free food. I am realizing from this article that I wear shorts a lot.
Appearing as a hologram behind my remarkable bandmate Dani Markham. My hologram is like, “Who is this person who is playing bass, drums and singing at the same time.” GET MORE SKILLS HOLOGRAM.
2015. While working on album cover art, which I find difficult, I submitted this. Rejection hurts, but fortunately I had a paper tiara made of myself to see me through it.
Last week in Birmingham, England. Everything is great guys, don’t worry about me.