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Emma-Lee 6 06 2014 -6 (14182133657).jpg
Emma-Lee, June 2014
Background information
BornToronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s)singer, songwriter, photographer
Instrumentsvocals, guitar, piano
Years active2004–present

Emma-Lee is a Canadian pop singer, songwriter and photographer[1] from Toronto, Ontario. She is considered a mezzo-soprano and is a self-taught vocalist.[2] She has written hit songs for other artists in both the pop and country genres.[3]

Early life[edit]

Emma-Lee was born in Toronto and raised in Markham, Ontario. She started playing guitar at age 14 and credits her father for teaching her. She soon began writing her own songs.[4]

Published works[edit]


Never Just a Dream[edit]

She released her debut album Never Just a Dream in 2008 to critical acclaim from the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.[5] The album was picked up by Bumstead Records and re-released on March 3, 2009. Her vocal style is frequently compared to k.d. lang,[6] Norah Jones[7] and Feist.[8] No Depression magazine described Never Just a Dream as "an album so full of ideas and potential that it is hard to know how to properly frame a description of its contents. It is a collection of songs that is far more than the sum of its influences"[9] and dubbed her "the voice to remember from 2009."[9]

Emma-Lee's song "That Sinking Feeling" was featured as the single of the week on iTunes Canada.[10]

In November 2016 she released her first Christmas recording "It Won't Be Christmas" (by songwriters Karen Kosowski & Julie Crochetière) to radio and iTunes.[11]

Backseat Heroine[edit]

On February 7, 2012, she released her long awaited second album Backseat Heroine, co-produced by Emma-Lee, Karen Kosowski and Marc Rogers.[12] The album features collaborations with Nicole Atkins, Jill Barber and Luke Doucet.[13] Most of the album was tracked at The Chalet, a studio near Uxbridge, Ontario.[14] Backseat Heroine blends multiple musical genres including pop, country, soul and rock. According to her online biography, "Emma-Lee's goal was to make a record that lived and breathed in its own world and could cross genres while still being a soundscape that was complete from start to finish."[15]



  • 2009: Never Just a Dream (Bumstead Records)
  • 2012: Backseat Heroine (eOne Music Canada)
  • 2017: Fantasies: Volume 1 (Special Agent)[3]


Year Single Peak positions
CAN Hot AC CBC Radio 2
2011 "Shot In The Dark"
2014 "What Would Tom Petty Do" 9
2015 "All The Way"
2016 "Worst Enemy" 18 24
2016 "It Won't Be Christmas" 4 "—" denotes releases that did not chart

Awards and nominations[edit]

- 2014, won for best female vocalist in NOW Magazine's best of Toronto feature.[16]

- 2013, her album Backseat Heroine won "Best Adult Contemporary Album" and the video for "Shadow of a Ghost" was nominated for "Best Short Form Music Video" for the 12th annual Independent Music Awards.[17]

- 2013, her album Backseat Heroine won the 12th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop Fan Choice Award for "Best Adult Contemporary Album" and the video for "Shadow of a Ghost" won the Independent Music Awards Vox Pop Fan Choice Award for "Best Short Form Music Video."[18]

- 2013, won for best female vocalist in NOW Magazine's best of Toronto feature.[16]

- 2012, co-winner ROKKY Award for "Best Album" [19]

- 2012, nominated for a CBC Radio 3 BUCKY award in the category of Hottest Pipes.[20]

- 2010, Emma-Lee's song "Until We Meet Again" from the album Never Just a Dream won in the 9th annual Independent Music Awards as "best love song".[21]

Film/TV placements[edit]


  • sings backing vocals on the album "Let Me Prove It To You" by Steve Strongman (2014)
  • sings backing vocals on the album "Rustbucket" by Sean Pinchin (2013)
  • sings on "I Put a Spell On You" and "Ne Me Quitte Pas" on Jesse Cook's "The Blue Guitar Sessions" album (2012)
  • sings a duet with country music artist Josh Macumber on his song "Tomorrow" (Josh Macumber Was Here, 2012)
  • sings on "It Was You" by Peter Katz (Still Mind Still, 2012)
  • sings on Jill Barber's song "Took Me By Surprise" (Mischievous Moon, 2011)
  • sings on Rob Szabo's song "Something Like Me" (Rob Szabo, 2011)

Songwriting Credits (Selected Discography)[edit]

Title Artist Album Label
Wasted Sam Drysdale Single Warner Music Canada
Swerve Samara Yung Single Independent
Over Me Michelle Treacy Insane Independent
What A Song Should Do Tim Hicks New Tattoo Open Road Recordings
So Fresh & Legs Stacey Kay 11 O'Clock Number Independent
The Story Leah Daniels The Story LDM Entertainment
I Don't Wanna Know Kira Isabella Sides Creator
Anthem Brett Kissel We Were That Song Warner Music Canada
No Last Call Dan Davidson Found
Pony Up & Jim, Jack, Johnnie & Jose Nice Horse A Little Unstable Coalition Entertainment
Colours Michelle Treacy Single Sony Music Canada
You Don't Know How To Love Me, Shake! Mike Todd Good Man (album) Independent
Live On Your Love SATE Red Black & Blue CLK Creative Works
Crush Madeline Merlo Free Soul Open Road Recordings
I'm So Over Getting Over You Kira Isabella Single Sony Music Canada
Salt Water Leah Daniels What It Feels Like Independent [23]
A Little Bit Goes A Long Way River Town Saints Single Open Road Recordings [24]
Only The Strong Survive Alee Single Wax Records
Sawdust Victoria Duffield Accelerate Warner Music Canada
Pick Me Up, Dust Me Off Carleton Stone Draws Blood Groundswell Music
One More Light Alee This Road Goes Everywhere Independent
Cabin Fever & Man Up! Tia Brazda Cabin Fever Rebeluck Records
Sheets Carleton Stone Carleton Stone Groundswell Music
Fall Apart Sabrina Carpenter Single Independent


  1. ^ "Toronto singer Emma-Lee ready for her close-up". thestar.com. 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  2. ^ "Emma-Lee Never Just a Dream Review". awmusic.ca. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  3. ^ a b http://canadianbeats.ca/2017/10/06/review-emma-lee/
  4. ^ Carter, Kern (Spring–Summer 2013). "Emma-culate" (PDF). Boss Magazine: 54–55. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  5. ^ "Gold Sprinkled Dream". Globe and Mail. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  6. ^ "Emma Lee's Never Just a Dream - Americana and roots music". No Depression. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  7. ^ "Album Review: Emma-Lee - Never Just a Dream | Music". ShowbizMonkeys.com. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  8. ^ "NOW Magazine // Music // EMMA-LEE". Nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  9. ^ a b Doug Heselgrave (2009-05-05). "Emma Lee's Never Just a Dream". No Depression.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  10. ^ "Free iTunes 2008 - MacRumors Forums". Forums.macrumors.com. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  11. ^ Heldman, Linda (21 November 2016). "Christmas Comes Early For Emma-Lee". Canadian Beats Media. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Karen Kosowski Backseat Heroine Released". Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  13. ^ "Emma-Lee To Release Backseat Heroine Out February 7th On Eone Music". Top 40.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  14. ^ "Raised on Radio Song of the Day". Raised on Radio. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  15. ^ "Biography". Emma-Lee Official Website. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "12th Annual Independent Music Awards". Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  18. ^ "12th Annual Independent Music Awards". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  19. ^ http://www.rokline.com/first-annual-rokky-awards
  20. ^ Wright, Graham. "Vote now on the 2012 Bucky Award Short List". CBC Radio 3. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Emma-Lee To Release Backseat". Top40.com. 2012-01-24.
  22. ^ soundtrack, IMDB.com. Retrieved August 2011
  23. ^ http://topcountry.ca/leah-daniels-salt-water-music-video/
  24. ^ http://www.cmaontario.ca/newsletter-beta/2015/12/artist-of-the-month-river-town-saints/

External links[edit]