Emma Bradley drops new single "Burning Trees" taken from forthcoming EP Grow or Die out Friday 3rd February via tmwrk.
London-based singer-songwriter Emma Bradley delivers a sublime new tune ‘Burning Trees’ via tmwrk. ‘Burning Trees’ is Emma’s most soulful and intense presentation yet, featuring honey-soaked, impassioned layered vocals that chronicle a tale of staying reticent about her feelings, for fear of further fanning the flames of a once passionate, now destructive and abusive relationship.
This is the third single from Emma, and the last teaser before the release of her Grow or Die EP on February 3rd, following on from the heart-wrenching ‘Square One’ and empowering ‘Renew Me’.
Emma opens up about the track, stating,
“I wrote Burning Trees about being in an emotionally abusive relationship. The lyrics are probably my favourite lyrics I have ever written. I wanted to write a song that felt like I was really telling a story, so they are super cinematic and dramatic. I drew lots of inspiration from Killing Eve and true crime shows; the whole song describes a chase between two people.
The narrator is constantly putting out fires and treading on eggshells around their partner, trying to keep them appeased to stay safe. ‘When I tell you that I love you I just don’t want to provoke you’, the narrator has clocked on to the abusive behaviour and is trying to escape.”
She further expresses making this song was an act of catharsis for her, saying, “Writing the song really helped me make sense of and be able to talk about an experience that was incredibly confusing emotionally. It also unlocked a part of my sound that I’d been trying to bring out for so long and that was really cool for me.”
The Grow or Die EP takes inspiration from the idiom ‘do or die’, with Emma emphasising that the themes on this album tackle arduous, testing experiences that despite making her feel like her end was nigh, pushed her to ensure growth prevailed and pain failed.
In Emma’s words,
“The title ‘Grow or Die’ is loosely based on the idea of ‘do it or die’, except, with the experiences I wrote about on this EP, it was like you either grow from the experience or it kills you. Kills you a little bit at least.
I thought it was so dramatic and cool to say: okay well this was painful but I will either grow and learn from this or I will just lay down and die.
That’s what these songs and experiences feel like to me. Writing this music was therapy for me.
The songs are about trauma growing up, an abusive relationship, getting my heart broken for the first time, queerness, all of that stuff. All of these things forced me to grow into the person I am now, but at the time I felt like I was dying. I am so proud of this music and I am so excited for it to come out into the world. I also grew and didn’t die! Brilliant news for me!”
At just 23, Bradley already displays all the wisdom and sensitivity of a singer-songwriter at least a decade her senior, being confident enough to resist tokenistic, trend-led touches, and stay true to her vision. At the heart of Emma’s approach to songwriting is vulnerability. She wants her songs to feel like they’ve been torn from the pages of a diary, with her overwhelming intention being to inspire emotional solidarity in listeners.
Bradley’s music is inspired by Sia’s early solo records, alongside albums by Tracy Chapman, Norah Jones, and Birdy, and film scores by John Williams, Danny Elfman and Yann Tiersen. Bradley has a uniquely visual approach to songwriting, greatly impacted by her experience of having synesthesia, which goes part way to explain why her music feels as intimate as it is spellbindingly cinematic.
“When I listen to or write music, I associate sounds with different colours. “I'll be able to visualise it really early on: the feeling of it, the colours, the shapes, the textures and all of that. Knowing what the song looks like very early on helps me to finish it.”
Photo by Hanifah Mohammad
Grow Or Die EP
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