UPDATED: Unsigned Singer Gets Her Big Break in “Fantastic Beasts”!
UPDATE (November 17):
You can now listen to Emmi’s song in its entirety below.
An unsigned singer-songwriter from Devon, England, is about to get her big break in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Emmi, who currently has no management or record deal, was handpicked to sing the film’s only song, titled “Blind Pig.”
The singer recorded the vocal in her childhood bedroom, after being contacted out of the blue by director David Yates, although she was kept in the dark in regard to his identity, and the song’s destiny, for almost a whole year. Speaking to BBC News, she said,
It feels too good to be true. I feel like it’s a bit of a joke. I don’t feel like it’s real.
The 29-year-old was born in Devon but raised in Perth, Australia. She now resides in London, where she has been busy creating music full time for the past seven years. A former child actress, who had a small role in the Australian soap opera Home and Away, Emmi has spent much of her time since then writing songs for other artists but decided to make music under her own name in 2013.
Her second single, “Sleep on It,” got the attention of pop star Taylor Swift, who tweeted it as part of her playlist “New Songs That Will Make Your Life More Awesome.” Although that raised her profile, she decided not to capitalize on the hype, explaining,
I had a couple of deals on the table, but I felt I wanted to do things in a more independent, organic way. I wanted to make some mistakes on my own and create something that was wholly me before I got a whole team on board.
When Yates got in touch in summer last year, she was back at her parents’ house for a vacation. She recalls,
I have two weeks with my family ever year, and I got this email from someone I didn’t know saying, ‘Do you mind singing this? Here are some lyrics; give it a try.’ I was like, ‘Well, this is a difficult time for me. I’m on holiday with my parents, and we’re about to eat pizza. Can we put this off?’
And they were like, ‘Probably not. You should probably give this a go.’
Looking at the song’s lyrics, she soon found references to magical creatures like the hippogriff and the Billywig.
I started thinking, ‘This sounds like something from Harry Potter,’ so I googled the words and confirmed that for myself.
I thought, ‘This might be nothing, but it might be something… and on the off-chance it is the something I think it might be, I’m going to do this.’
Having completed a rough vocal in her bedroom, the singer soon started receiving requests for more and more versions of the song.
Can you get more whispery? Can you do it more sexy? Can you do it more innocently?
At the time, I didn’t know it was David Yates directing me. If I had, I might have been a little more nervous in my bedroom.
However, after finally completing the song, everything went quiet, as she recalls,
It wasn’t until April of this year that I got a call saying, ‘We’ll be using your voice in a film. Is that cool?’
Emmi soon found herself on a movie set covered in green Lycra, having her performance motion-captured so that she could appear in the film as a computer-animated character. Even at this late stage, she was not told that her song, described as “a smoky jazz number,” had been written by J.K. Rowling herself. That revelation only came to light when the film’s IMDb page was updated a few weeks ago.
I’m not sure if it’s her first song or not, but it’s amazing to come so close to embodying something that came from her brain. Does that make me smarter by osmosis?
Surprisingly, this is actually not the first song that JKR has penned, having also written the lyrics for Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees’ show tunes, which are performed daily by performers at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort.
The singer will see her performance for the first time at the London premiere, which took place earlier tonight, where she also hopes to meet Rowling. She says,
I’ll probably say something nonsensical and embarrassing because I’m so nervous. But what I’d like to say is, ‘Thank you for a childhood of escapism.’ I have so much respect for an imagination like that.
You can listen to Emmi’s song, “Blind Pig,” when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters worldwide this Friday, November 18! Are you excited to hear it? Let us know your thoughts!