With her ethereal, pre-Raphaelite features, wide grey eyes, and red locks, Emaline Delapaix looks like she stepped out of an enchanted forest–and her music sounds just as lush, mysterious, and hauntingly beautiful. A self-taught musician (piano, acoustic guitar, baby Celtic harp), Emaline is now based in Berlin and performs all over Europe and North America. On the eve of her upcoming EP, Exorcism, we spoke to the singer-songwriter about music, veganism, and taking chances.
PD: First of all, we’re so pleased you could join us! The first time I heard your latest EP, Between Breeding Seasons, I literally stopped in my tracks. It has certain elements I recognize from my favorite alt-folk musicians and singer-songwriters, and yet I feel your music is uniquely yours. I could attempt to do justice, but perhaps it’s better in your own words: How would you describe your music?
ED: Thanks for having me!
Oh boy, your first question is a tough one as I feel I am made up of so much that I take in from around me; but I would say raw, emotional, melancholic music that lyrically isn’t typical of most female singer songwriters and influenced heavily by Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Scandinavian music and the weather.
PD: Did you always know you wanted to become a musician?
ED: Yes, since I was 2 years old! That was the only thing I was ever sure of in my life.
PD: How did you decide to one day just quit your job, and move to a new continent? It sounds like something everyone dreams about at some point, but only very, very few people have the courage to actually do. How did you find the courage to pursue your passion?
ED: Well, I am originally from Australia and left there to move to London over 10 years ago. But at the time music was just a hobby and I only sang and wrote, so it took me another 7 years to really make the big jump!
To be honest. when I decided that my life had to change back in 2009, I was in a pretty bad place just coming out of a long term relationship and battling with depression daily. I had a job that made me miserable and I still hadn’t found the courage to try and play an instrument as I believed I would never be good enough. In the end I realized that the only person who could make my life better was me so did some research on Europe and decided that Germany would be a good place for me to start again and really give music a go so I started teaching myself guitar and saving and it took me about a year to finally do it. I found a caravan to rent (sort of a trailer but with wheels and in that 60’s style) in a very small town in rural Eastern Germany near the Polish border and on Christmas Day 2010 I moved in with my Canadian cat Reece and never looked back.
PD: The thing I found really interesting was that your music is so evocative of exactly that image of dark, snow-covered forest in winter–haunting, yet beautiful. Does nature inspire you?
ED: Nature is a big part of my life and definitely inspires a lot of my music including the subject matter and titles. Right now I am living in Berlin for business reasons but hope to move to the outskirts in a more rural area next year so I can start growing veggies and taking long country walks with my cat again. I really miss the quiet and being able to reflect in that kind of healing environment.
PD: When and why did you decide to become vegan?
ED: I became vegan in 2010 and fell off the wagon back to vegetarianism for a bit but then back to veganism for good in 2011. Here in Germany I play a lot of vegetarian/vegan events, cafes and restaurants and often we raise money from the shows for local animal charities. The most recent charity was Happy Kuh which gives a forever home to homeless and abused cows. I also give a small % of CD sales each quarter to a local animal charity and hope to adopt another kitty from a local shelter soon. Plans are underway to meet him next week!
PD: What’s it like being vegan in Germany? I feel like traditional German cuisine is very meat- and dairy-heavy–on the other hand, I hear Berlin is a very forward-thinking and sophisticated city.
ED: Being vegan is great in Germany. Most train stations have a chain pharmacy that offers some vegan snacks and all super markets stock a large range of vegan foods. It’s a bit more difficult in rural places though and people don’t always understand what vegan means so I always carry a few emergency foods with me. I haven’t traveled all over the US but most cities were great. I did find the south a little more challenging at times especially at the Greyhound bus stops! 😛 Canada is generally and most cafes have soy milk which is a blessing when you’re on tour and need a snack just passing through.
Berlin is the vegan capital of Germany so it’s amazing. We’ve got new vegan cafes and restaurants popping up all the time. I also run the Berlin English Speaking Vegetarian/Vegan Group on Facebook and we meet occasionally for vegan brunch and events. This Christmas we will do a Vegan Christmas Potluck. Small towns anywhere are often the hardest.
PD: What’s your go-to vegan meal or snack on the road?
ED: Cashews, Vego Vegan Chocolate Bar (absolutely delicious!), banana soy milk, fruits, carrots, hummus
PD: What would be your advice to people who are still struggling to find their path to happiness?
ED: Listen to what your heart, soul and whole being is telling you and follow that feeling. Trust yourself and you will find your way eventually.
Check out Emaline’s website for the release of her new EP, Exorcism, in January. Here you can also listen to her current album, Between Breeding Seasons–the handmade, designed and cut EPs make a great holiday gift! (5% of the proceeds are donated to an animal-friendly charity).
Connect with Emaline:
3 lucky Peaceful Dumpling readers will win free digital download of Between Breeding Seasons. What do you need to do? Nothing, if you’ve already signed up for our email newsletter. (Do it!)
Emaline’s Essentials List
Must have vegan beauty product:
DM’s Alverde Nothing But Volume Mascara
Favorite city/country to visit:
Venice & Buffalo NY! 🙂
Still on your bucket list:
Too many things but my main focus right now it my physical health and healing old mental wounds that still affect me in the here and now.
Favorite vegan restaurant/bakery:
This is where I am supposed to be.
Accept it and be grateful.
Vego Chocolate. The bar is huge and I have trouble stopping at 1, 2 or 3 pieces.
Coffee or tea:
Definitely earl gray tea
In 5 years, you’ll be…:
Partly self sustainable with a little cottage, recording studio, growing vegetables and playing music surrounded by the people and animals I love
When you feel most beautiful:
When I remember that I am only human
Photo: (Emaline Delapaix) Binne Gestaltung; La Mano Verde; Vego