Sovereign Hills solo artist’s star on the rise
When you witness an Emma Dykes performance, it’s hard to imagine she was once so shy it took her singing teacher a year to coax a single note out.
The Sovereign Hills-based solo artist and Academy of Country Music graduate is today on the cusp of releasing her second album and the star of this talented singer-songwriter is on the rise.
“My songwriting comes from the things I am seeing, feeling or hearing in the world around me and often I find that the songs write themselves in a sense,’’ Dykes, a nurse who was raised in nearby Laurieton, explains from our community.
“I have progressively gained more confidence, determination and life experience since then to now call it a career.”
We meet Dykes and her husband Aaron Pisani on a sunny winter’s day at home. The young couple recently moved to the Hastings after a whirlwind couple of years which included a tour through Germany, a recording trip to Nashville and their marriage.
“Recording is such an amazing, surreal experience. To stand in in studios where artist I have spent my life admiring have stood before is an incredible feeling,” shared Dykes who has also been supporting Australia’s Wendy Matthews on tour recently.
“Having Aaron there by my side definitely makes my music career so much more exciting. I love that he makes the effort to share it with me.”
It’s clear to see the friendly electrical engineer is Dykes’ biggest fan (in close competition with her mum and nan). Pisani provides support on the road when he can, and the couple was looking forward to their delayed European honeymoon when we meet.
“We have both travelled a lot and lived in a number of different places but we feel very lucky to call this area home now. There really is no place like it. People plan all year to travel here for a holiday and we get to wake up to it every morning.
“We love the community and I especially love looking out and seeing kids riding bikes and scooters, walking their dogs and playing with their friends. It reminds me of how I grew up and I think it says a lot about a place that allows the safety and freedom to do that.”
Following on from the success of Dykes’ first independently-funded debut album, the country-inspired Pay if Forward, she will release the first single off her new album this month, which she says is more diverse.
“There is some country, some folk, some Americana, rock, pop and pure acoustic sounds in what I write.
“I honestly thought my first album would be bought by my mum and my nan and it’s something I would keep to show my kids. I never dreamed that people all over the world would hear and enjoy it! But they have, and that’s an amazing feeling.”