Emma Cloney juggles music, motherhood and making money
Posted by Sandra Thacker, SCENE Producer | Saturday March 2, 2013
Emma Cloney with Ismaila Alfa (CBC/Thacker)
My songs were this musical catharsis, basically. I think of my guitar like a six string therapist. I had expressed all of these songs and these lyrics but had never shared them.
—Emma Cloney, singer/songwriter
Imagine learning guitar, fiddle and banjo all in a weekend. That's what singer/songwriter Emma Cloney set out to do, just four or five years ago.
Cloney has a deeply ingrained love of bluegrass and it all started with her father's 1972 guild guitar. "I found out that the best way to make sure your children turn into professional musicians is to own an expensive instrument and tell them that under no circumstances, are they allowed to touch it."
While she dabbled in music over the years, her grown up role as a mom and a nursing student took over. But she still sang and wrote songs whenever she could.
In fact, Cloney wrote many of her songs to provide closure to different chapters in her life. "My songs were this musical catharsis, basically. I think of my guitar like a six string therapist," she says with a smile. "I had expressed all of these songs and these lyrics but had never shared them."
She eventually started jamming with other Winnipeg musicians and even opened her own home to musical gatherings. What started in her rural home at the time eventually became her annual Prairie Kitchen Party at the West End Cultural Centre.
Cloney admits it's not always easy juggling it all, that there are days where there is just no time for her music. Wisely, she has a couple of rules. "The first rule is as long as your kids are your absolute first priority, then you're always winning. And everything else will just settle in after that. The second rule is that I love music. And I love it so much that I never want to have to do it only for money. I'm doing it primarily because it's good for me."
She sees her nursing credentials as a means to an end and admits it also comes in handy on the road. "I have saved lives on tour before...and I also know how much Ativan to give musicians who are exhausted from touring."
Cloney also talks with CBC host Ismaila Alfa about how she spent time in foster care as a child and was separated from her brothers. Her songs draw from her experience, from her own family now and from her positive outlook on life.
Hear Emma Cloney sing at the Folk Exchange on Bannatyne Saturday
night, March 2. Before that, hear her in conversation with CBC host
Ismaila Alfa on SCENE On Air. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6
p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.