UK worship leader Emma Noonan has just released her latest single 'Prince of Peace'. Louder Than The Music chatted with Emma to find out more about the single, her inspiration, and how she hopes her music will resonates with listeners.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I am a full-time English teacher and worship leader living in Berkshire, UK. I started writing music when I was a teenager, but my teaching career took me in a different direction, which left me with little time for songwriting. During lockdown in 2020, however, I used my spare time to set up a home recording studio to produce worship for on-line church as well as write my own material. After completing a number of tracks, I called upon some of my musician and recording industry friends to help me complete my projects and release my first album: ‘Within the Silence’.
Tell us about your new single 'Prince of Peace' and what the inspiration behind it was?
My latest release ‘Prince of Peace’ is an advent/Christmas song based on Isaiah chapter 9. Most of my music draws from scripture and is written from a place of worship. I think Isaiah chapter 9 is very poignant for our post-covid world as it feels like we are walking in a land of darkness with the threat of world war, financial instability, high levels of anxiety and depression etc; however there is hope in Jesus’ name! The chorus and middle eight celebrate this hope: ‘wonderful counsellor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace …’.
Do you have any plans to release more music in the near future?
I have been writing and recording some new material, which I am planning to release in the new year. I am currently working with my friend Phillip Goss who owns Appletree Studio in Buckinghamshire; it is really good to bounce ideas off him and I’m really keen to learn new things in order to improve my songwriting, performance and arrangement. I also have some talented musician friends who were involved with some of the tracks on ‘Within the Silence’ that I am hoping to collaborate with. It’s really exciting when each member of the band interprets the music in their own way; it makes the music more interesting and organic.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
A recurring motif that runs through my music is the need for reassurance, forgiveness, healing and deeper spiritual connection during times of darkness and uncertainty. I would like people to connect with God and feel a sense of hope beyond the here and now.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
My music is a mix of worship with some indie-folk influences. I enjoy listening to a range of worship music from Michael W Smith to Bethel, Hillsong, Phil Wickham, Matt Redman, Housefires, Rend Collective, Harvest. Aside from worship, I enjoy chilled and breezy indie-folk music such as Amy Wadge, Hattie Briggs, Wildwood Kin, Ward Thomas and Hattie Briggs. I guess I take some of my influences from this style of music.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
There are so many awesome songwriters I would love to work with, but I think I would like to work with an accomplished, Grammy award winning, British worship artist, such as Matt Redman. He is such an anointed songwriter who writes powerful, timeless classics. Something happens when we sing songs like 10,000 Reasons, Blessed be Your Name etc, in church; the Holy Spirit starts moving and people come alive. It would be interesting to learn how to improve my songwriting and production skills.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Success for me as a songwriter will be to write that one song that resonates with someone in such a way that it brings them closer to God. If my song can speak into one person’s life, I will feel that my music has some value.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Shifting away from worship music, it is definitely Fleetwood Mac ‘Tango in the Night’ (Deluxe Edition). I quite like listening to music that is a bit edgy and experimental. I love the strong rhythms, synth/guitar riffs and haunting vocal harmonies. Stevie Nicks’ vocal reflects the narrative behind the songs; her range and dynamics are intensely moving.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
It’s got to be Oceans - my all-time favourite worship song … and the perfect song for being stranded on a desert island! Apart from being an awesome song, Matthew ch. 14 is one of my favourite Bible passages. Whenever I listen to Oceans, I am reminded that I can face my worst fears if I put my trust in Jesus.
What does the next year hold for you?
More worship ... more songwriting ... more recording ... hopefully, more collaboration ... and above all, more of God’s intervention in my music.