Emilia Mitiku is 'So Wonderful' in new video
“Without a doubt, it’s the best nineties songstress album we’ve heard all year.” – GQ
“I Belong To You proves that the wait was worth it.” – Sunday Times Culture
A recent signing to Warner Music Entertainment who is already been tipped as a major talent, Emilia Mitiku will release her new single ‘So Wonderful’ on September 10th. The single will feature on ‘I Belong To You’, her first album for the label, which will follow later this year.
Co-written with Nashville great Sharon Vaughan and producer Anders Hansson, the luscious ‘So Wonderful’ demonstrates the most upbeat and instantaneously enticing side of Mitiku’s sound, with lyrics which explore the excitement and the erratic judgement that can accompany a new found romance.
Infused with her love of classic jazz and soul, ‘I Belong To You’ balances melodic immediacy and lyrics that look, often unblinkingly, at the perils, delights and complexities of intimacy and romance. Highlights, such as ‘You’re Not Right For Me’ and ‘You’re Breaking My Heart’, are anything but everyday love songs. On the contrary, like the best music from the genres Mitiku makes her own here, they are multi-layered and ambivalent. Also featured on the album are Mitiku’s interpretations of Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Dream A Little Dream’ and Doris Day’s ‘Again’, as well as the recent single ‘Lost Inside’ which is infused with a love of classic soul and jazz.
Mitiku previewed the release of the album with a number of intimate acoustic shows in London at the end of July.
In 1999, as Emilia Rydberg, Mitiku had a worldwide hit with the single ‘Big Big World’ which sold more than 4.5 million copies. She will always be grateful, she says, for the success ‘Big Big World’ propelled her towards. But it is only recently that she has been able to make sense of it all. “I learnt that there are no easy ways up,” she laughs, “but also that it’s not important to be everybody’s darling. At 19, possibly. But not now – I don’t need to be that person anymore.”
In 2012, Mitiku is a very different artist. “Today,” she says, “there is so much music about that, if you’re going to ask for people’s time, you have to be honest. I met someone recently and they said, ‘So, what do you do – photography, writing?’. And I said, ‘No, I sing’. My way of dealing with a blue day, with a difficult thought in my head, is notes, tones.” Mitiku, the daughter of a Swedish mother and the revered and pioneering Ethiopian jazz singer, Teshome Mitiku, grew up immersed in the music of Etta, Ella, Eartha and Billie, and it was to these early loves that she knew she would one day return: it was only a matter of when. Meeting the producer Hansson, and writing with him and Vaughn, proved the key turning point in a project whose gestation, Mitiku says, lasted years. “Going back to that music happened so naturally – but slowly. These melodies were probably always there; they just took their time getting out. But I’ve always sung this way, it really is at the core of me, though it’s taken me until now to represent that.”
Mitiku’s journey to ‘I Belong To You’ has been a long and circuitous one, but the strangest thing of all about it, she says, is that it’s led her right back to where she began: to the music her father shared with her, to the iconic singers she heard as a child, to the honesty she found there, to the reason she ever started singing in the first place. This is her world, Mitiku says. “And I want to invite people in.”