5 Oct 2022
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Ema I'u - Single Review: Midnight Mistress

01 Sep 2022 // A review by Harry Platt
I’m going to speculate that most music scenes in cities around the world have someone like Ema I’u (AKA Ema Barton.) However I’d wager that all these other cities are in envy of our own Tamaki Makaurau and its “open mic queen”, whose remarkable talents are no secret to those who have traversed the various haunts around the city which generously let artists cut their teeth.

For those that have had the pleasure of hearing Ema’s voice before, then you will not be disappointed with her debut single, Midnight Mistress. In a genre that leans heavily on its vocal talent, Midnight Mistress earns its stars overwhelmingly. Ema’s performance here is second to none. She hits that fine line of restraint and release of tension and emotion, letting the melodies undulate and build throughout the song.

R&B Soul may act as the spine of Midnight Mistress; and trust me the groove will find its way through your feet and up your spine, but there are some interesting little details that give the song a more experimental edge in its production. An almost club-like low-end with dashes of 80’s pop keyboards work in unexpected ways. The song would be just as happy as a late night winding down dance groove as a lazy Sunday beach anthem. The collaboration with 2022 Pacific Music Awards Producer of the Year, Nathan Judd, a clear perfect pairing.

I somewhat loathe to broach the subject of funding in a review, but it’s worth noting that it is refreshing to see our bureaucratic institutions be directed to someone so deserving, adding some extra weight to the overarching narrative of empowering Wahine Toa. It’s easy to forget that the stories our music not only tells, but brings about from shared listenership are really the most important thing. The main story here though is that Midnight Mistress is a perfect debut single. It captures the true essence of Ema I’u as an artist, in a slick, catchy and groovy package. If the upcoming album is half as good as this, then Ema I’u will be finding fans well beyond the reaches of the big smoke.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Ema I'u

Ema I'u aka Ema Barton is a full-time Musician / Actor / Tutor and Poet (of Samoan/Pakeha heritage) based in Tamaki Makaurau. She performs regularly with her cover bands Lucky May and Coco-Rocky and is known as ‘The Queen of Open Mic’ having run multiple events over the last 8 years.

Ema has a passion for serving her community and has formed Holding Space Aotearoa Charitable Trust for this purpose. Miss Barton has been writing songs since she was 12, developing a strong soulful voice and distinctive guitar style. Her strong performance skills come from a background in acting for screen and theatre, and she has been teaching guitar and singing privately for the last 10 years.

Dabbling in R&B, jazz, pop and rock; Ema is focusing on a variety of recorded projects this year with her debut single Midnight Mistress coming out soon.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ema I'u

Releases

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