We are delighted that David Lyttle, Emmy the Great and Quinta will be the next three musicians to spend up to six weeks in China as part of our Musicians in Residence programme with PRS For Music Foundation. They will each travel to different parts of China and, while there, create new music, work with local musicians and experience a new international audience.
Meet the musicians
Emmy The Great
Emma-Lee Moss was born in Hong Kong to an English father and a Chinese mother. Performing as Emmy the Great, she has released three studio albums: First Love (2009), Virtue (2011) and Second Love (2016). In 2014, she released the soundtrack to the Sony Pictures film Austenland and was longlisted for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. She also contributes original music to the podcast Mystery Show, the number 1 podcast on iTunes US in 2015, which has been featured on Conan, the Simpsons, Brooklyn Ninenine and more. She writes about culture for the Guardian and is a regular contributor to publications such as Noisey and i-D.
“Chinese culture is in everything I do, even when I don’t mean it to be. In the last few years, I have been coming to terms with this inherent relationship, and using language to discover truths about myself that were hidden. Although I was born in Hong Kong, I have never been to China proper, and I cannot describe how momentous this will be for my personal and creative journey. At least, right now I can’t describe it. I plan to write an album in Xiamen that documents the moment that I was there. I want to drink it all in and tell all the stories, collect the words I need.”
Described by Rolling Stone magazine as "one of the best, robust listening experiences you're likely to have all year,” MOBO-nominated David Lyttle shifts seamlessly between the personas of jazz drummer, recording artist, composer/songwriter, producer and record label owner. Starting out as a child performer at the age of four with his family band, he first reached a national audience as a jazz performer in the band of legendary guitarist Louis Stewart, before going on to perform in 15 countries and develop associations with jazz icons Joe Lovano, Jason Rebello and Jean Toussaint, hip hop visionaries Talib Kweli and Soweto Kinch, and Irish music star Duke Special. The release of his third album, Faces, led to nominations in the MOBO Awards, Urban Music Awards and radio play on both specialist radio and mainstream radio.
“I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to visit China for the first time and learn about Chinese music and culture. I'm very excited to get to write and collaborate in the historic city of Suzhou and be part of its music community.”
Classically trained rather than classically moulded, Quinta is a London-based multi-instrumentalist performer, improviser and experimental composer. Her first record, My Sister Boudicca (Tartaruga, 2009) was variously described as “sparkling with a sense of play, wilful originality and effortless grace” (The 405), “the most peculiar recital you’re ever likely to experience” (Line of Best Fit) and “strange, beautiful and irresistibly unique” (God Is In The TV). Her next album is due for release early next year. She has collaborated with a range of critically-acclaimed and innovative artists, including Bat for Lashes, Patrick Wolf, Scanner, Lou Rhodes, Penguin Café, Marques Toliver and flagship contemporary dance company, Rambert, where she was 2015-16 composer-in-residence. She is one quarter of all-female experimental arts collective, Collectress, who released their first album, Mondegreen, in 2014.
“To be awarded the Guiyang musical residency is an enormous honour – I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted, and can’t wait to get started! I hope to build on previous work, most recently as Rambert Music Fellow, to explore how to make improvisation ‘work’ in a performance context, to use electronic interfacing to perform musical material in unusual ways, to meet the traditional with the experimental in another culture, with new instruments and new friends, creating a show for and of Guiyang that is innovative, entertaining and rich with local colours. Can’t wait!”
Explore the cities
Our residents will each travel to different locations in China to soak up the music and culture of different parts of this vast country.
Xiamen, Southeast China (Emmy The Great)
Xiamen, the island city historically known as Amoy, is a major city on the west bank of the Taiwan Straits. With a population of 3.5m, Xiamen is a major Hokkien-speaking city and has been the official Sister City of Cardiff since 1983.
Suzhou, Eastern China (David Lyttle)
Suzhou, also named Gusu, is located in the middle of the Yangtze River Delta. With a population of 6.7m, home to many high-tech enterprises and with a comparatively developed economy, Suzhou ranks sixth among China’s 10 most prosperous cities. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Venice of China” due to its canals, stone bridges and pagodas.
Guiyang, Southwest China (Quinta)
Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, is well known as the first “Forest City” and China’s best summer resort. Guizhou Province has rich and varied folk customs. Apart from the Han people, 10 other minority groups live in Guizhou, including the Miao, Buyi, Dong, Tujia, Yi, Gelao, Shui, Hui, and Bai. The total population of Guiyang is over 4.3m.
You can find out more about previous Musicians in Residence via the links below, featuring Jamie Woon, Imogen Heap, Gareth Bonello and Matthew Bourne (2012); Anna Meredith, Arun Ghosh, Oliver Coates, Sid Peacock and Sam Genders (2014); Bella Hardy, Kerry Andrew and Mira Calix (2015).