Artist / Author & Composer
Emma Shapplin began her music career in the classical tradition, studying opera with various teachers before moving to rock. She discovered that although rock gave her a certain artistic freedom and brought her to an exploration of the lower range of her voice, she was still not entirely satisfied. Consequently, Emma decided to create her own style with the help of great musicians from a wide array of genres of the industry. She first studied harmony and piano in Paris and then met with vocal-coach Yaël Benzaquen – a unique and experienced maître de chant (“master of song”) whom Emma subsequently always consulted, especially when exploring new vocal possibilities and directions.
This self-made style evolved into a combination of diverse influences including opera, lyric poetry, modern trance, rock and synth-pop.
Emma was raised speaking French but decided she wanted her first two albums to be written mainly in medieval Italian, because Emma believes, "It is a language that sings naturally and leaves a large open space to dreams". Her first album Carmine Meo (1998) represents her debut step as a professional artist. A few years later, Emma was invited by composer Graeme Revell to sing three original and graceful tracks based on poetry of Dante from his score for the Hollywood movie Red Planet - a soundtrack that she shared with Peter Gabriel and Sting. For her second album Etterna, Emma, a great lover of poetry and literature, wrote all the lyrics directly in medieval Italian, playing with time and styles using, as she says, many "carefully chosen archaic words and expressions" in order to evoke the great ancient poets, playwrights and their works, even including, for example, fragments of Sappho’s poetry.
In terms of the music itself, Emma was interested in developing compositions with another artist as well and consequently invited Graeme Revell to join her, whom she enjoyed working with on Red Planet and who eventually composed half of the music on Etterna. As Emma likes to explain, "He brought his maturity and the smoothness of his orchestration.”
One of Emma’s most extraordinary collaborations occurred when the London Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied her, playing her and Revell’s composition scores at Abbey Road Studio. With the London Philharmonic Choir singing as well, Emma was absolutely in heaven. The experience was a very special moment that was truly unforgettable and magical.
As with her first album, Emma wanted Etterna to evoke a little world in itself. If Carmine Meo was a world of fire and earth, Etterna was imagined as a world surrounded by water and air -- a world emerged from the fog and vanishing through tormented water with fairy-like characters finding their way through the darkness and unlighted mists, surveying the ocean floor, reflective and waiting for an escape.
Carmine Meo sold over two million copies around the world and became multi-platinum many times, which gave her start and introduced her work to more than 25 countries. Her second album Etterna led Emma to experience very remarkable and bewitching stage performances, which she produced and staged herself.
Although the "Etterna Show” continued to play for many years around the world, widely acclaimed and frequently with standing ovations, it was never video-recorded in its entirety. An excerpt can be found on Emma's Official website, which is a long version of an EPK produced by Nimue Music. "
Emma has performed many times and in some of the most amazing places around the world, including the Acropolis in Athens, as well as the Olympia arena in Greece, the Kremlin Grand Palace in Moscow, the Esplanade Opera House in Singapore, the Cesarea Arena in Israel, the theatre Carré in Holland, in a newly excavated open air Roman Mausoleum near Belgrade for 10 000 people, at an open air concert on the site of an immense temple in Bali, on the Tunisian seashore, in Monaco for an ice skating event hosted by Prince Albert, and at Hammamet, to name but a few.
Emma most recently wrote and composed her new album Macadam Flower, released late 2010.
Macadam Flower: Pop, synth, electro album composed and written by Emma Shapplin in 3 languages (English, French and Poetic Ancient italian)
Emma Shapplin's brand new opus shows she is determined and unafraid of change, yet still full of sensuality and soul. This is not the Emma you know, the neoclassical diva with a soprano voice as from an angel choir, but a completely reinvented artist with a revamped, fresh style of music and vocal interpretation that pulls this album onwards into the core of the future by means of an intricate and immersive blend of soft rock, pop and neoclassical styles. Emma is also the songwriter of this new album, which simultaneously enchants and inspires with heights of sensuality and beauty, revealing the rise of a new soundscape for the sensory experience."
The new live DVD of her newest show “The Macadam Flower Tour” is a journey through her diverse vocal and musical approaches that embrace these diverse forms including opera, pop- rock synthpop and neo-classical.