Wonder woman

Emma Cloney has ‘something to say’ with her debut album

Despite being a mother of two young daughters, a full-time nursing student with a 4.0 GPA and a full-time horse rancher, Emma Cloney still finds time to write and perform. Sound Strategy Music

Within seconds of sitting down with Emma Cloney, you realize two things about her: she is a determined woman, and there is nothing that can stop her.

The Woodlands, Man., folk singer sipped a chai latte at Soma Café and described what she’s currently feeling about her life as a “pinch-me moment.”

It wasn’t too long ago that Dan Frechette took Cloney to Tim Butler’s acoustic open mic night at Bella Vista Restaurant on Maryland Street and said, “Listen to her—listen to what she does.”

What she did that night landed her a chance to make a demo CD that would sell all 150 copies within three days. That led her to making her debut album, Something To Say, taking the music she was making out of the comfort of her living room.

A mother of two young daughters, a full-time nursing student with a 4.0 GPA, a full-time horse rancher and a wife, it’s easy to wonder how she even has time to make music.

“I drink unicorn blood and don’t sleep,” Cloney says with wide eyes and a laugh. “But really, I need music.” 

For Cloney, music is what calms her down and keeps her going.

“Some people take long baths, some people read romance novels and some people run around the block – I need my guitar.”

I drink unicorn blood and don’t sleep.

Emma Cloney, musician

Music has always been a big part of her life.

Her dad played guitar and she has been attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival since she was in the uterus.

Each track on Something to Say tells a story about people and places in Cloney’s life that have influenced her and moved her.

Picking a favourite is not an easy task, especially for Cloney, who’s been working on the album for months.

As with anything you work on constantly, she says there are moments when she loves them and moments that she hates them; her favourite track changes every week.

“Right now, it’s probably Glory Bee,” she said. “I love it because it’s one of the first songs I had written a few years ago and it was written for my grandmother. ... The way that Patti Lamoureux played the fiddle to go with the track has this beautiful Celtic inspiration and my grandmother and that entire side of the family were born in Ireland.

“So, she almost intuitively picked up on the Celtic spirit in the song and added that flavour for me. “

The album maintains a consistent flow of high-energy sounds mixed with traditional folk roots. Cloney describes the album as a chapter in her life that she’s finished and sealed and ready to deliver to the world.

One of the things in life Cloney is most grateful for are the friends who’ve supported her in making the album. Without hesitating, her friends and fellow musicians lent their talents to help create Something to Say without asking for anything in return.

Sort of.

“That’s not a joke,” she says while reading the liner notes as she holds a physical copy of her own album for the very first time, laughing about how her friends have supported her and in return have requested homemade pickles, jam and even eggnog as payment.

Published in Volume 65, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 3, 2011)

Related Reads