Fire, Bikes, Beyoncé: In conversation with ethereal singer/producer Magic Island

Anyone who has a nodding acquaintance with Shakespeare might be reminded of his latter-day, druggy weird-fest, The Tempest as they sink into the deliciously rich and dreamlike textures of Magic Island’s debut album. Both works are heavy on the fantastical isles, both present ambiguous, shadowy antagonists, and both feature a single female voice: crystal-clear, a little lonely and more than a little sad. But – and this is important – powerful in their vulnerability.

Canadian musician and performer, Emma Czerny wrote and produced the album herself, drawing on personal battles and bolt-from-the-blue inspirations as she cycled home through amiable but grubby Neukölln, singing as she went. Everything about Czerny paints a picture of a musician who loves the multitude colours of her craft and wants to share them with the world; from her cavalcade of live backing vocalists she dubs The Angels, to the stories and experiences she gathers up into her songs like so many ribbons. We spoke with her to delve deeper into the story.

How are you? How have things been progressing over the last year?
Hi! I’m ok I guess. The past year has been a bit difficult. Trying to find purpose in this mad, sad world. Having trouble not letting this darkness consume me. Moving pretty slowly because of that…

‘Like Water’ is your first full length release. Feelings about putting it out there at last?
Ya this work took a little while to get out. I think it’s because I wasn’t even sure I was working on an album until 5 tracks were done, then it all started to make sense. I’m kind of a slow producer too, I don’t like to rush things; the emotion and inspiration has to be there or it doesn’t really work for me. Anyways, I’m happy with the release but of course if I had more time I would maybe rewrite/reproduce a few things… deciding when something is finished is the ultimate challenge in this game!

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