Emma Ballantine

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The EP is out and in the charts!

But I could never have predicted which track would emerge as the lead single...

Six months ago to the day I was at Monnow Valley Studio in Wales with my producer, Peter Waterman. In spite of slightly fuzzy heads after Burns Night whisky drinking with the engineers, we were well into day two of the session, and we were struggling with one of the tracks.

The song in question was The Love I Seek. Something wasn't sitting right and it was sparse compared to the other tracks we'd built up. I remember thinking at that point: 'Oh well, I guess you can allow for one dud song on an EP'.

What a difference half a year makes! That same song has gone on to become the lead track from the EP. It was featured by Q Magazine as their Track of the Day, helping the EP shoot to no. 15 in the iTunes charts on the day of release, and it has been played on radio shows from BBC Introducing to Resonance FM. When it came to the launch gig - a sell-out show at the Bedford in London - that was the track that we played for our encore.

All of which goes to show, you never know how a track will evolve. Back on that day in January we hadn't enlisted the talents of classically trained trumpeter Erin Yanacek to play the distinctive counter-melody that runs through the chorus. We also hadn't unleashed the force that is Chilean guitarist Fernando Sanchez on the song: by the time he'd woven in his Spanish-style guitar flourishes throughout the track, the whole thing was transformed!

It was also a song I grew into as performer. I had written it just weeks prior to recording - squeaking in just before the songwriting deadline Pete had set me. I knew as soon as I wrote it that it was among the strongest songs I'd written, but I hadn't yet performed it widely when we arrived at Monnow Valley. By the time it came to recording the lead vocals however, I'd done an entire tour of the South and the Midlands and it felt like a new pair of shoes that I'd finally 'worn in'.

Further tours confirmed its potential to be a single. Between January and July I completed three tours (two of the UK and one of Germany) and The Love I Seek emerged as the favourite - the one people went away humming and asked if they could buy.

The clincher was the video. I was lucky enough to work with a very talented filmmaker, Todd Macdonald, and he managed to get permission for us to film in legendary London venue The Union Chapel. Time was tight: we had just two hours to get the one continuous take that comprises the video right - shooting between midnight and 2am whilst the venue was empty. However the result was almost certainly one of the main reasons we were able to nab the slot on Q Magazine.

Having now played it at festivals and venues all over the place, from an arts centre in Belfast to Jools Holland's Jam House in Birmingham, and from Exeter College Chapel to a jazz club in Dresden, I am happy to say it's become one of my firm favourites too - which is just as well given I think I'll be playing that track for some time to come!

2.32am 26th Jul 2015