Singer-songwriter Emma Stevens on her perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 17:51 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:54 13 February 2015
A favourite of Radio 2, singer-songwriter Emma Stevens travels the world for her career – but she says her heart will always remain in her hometown of Guildford...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2015
Being a touring singer-songwriter, I’m used to travelling a lot, and I’ve had the privilege of seeing many wonderful places around the world. However, Surrey (home) is where my heart is, and I’ve lived in Guildford all of my life. I attended St Teresa’s school in Effingham, St Peter’s School in Merrow and then studied guitar at the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford.
It’s hard to narrow down precisely what I love about Guildford, but whatever it is, it has got a good strong grip on me! Maybe it’s the beautiful scenery, the landscapes and the walks. Perhaps it’s the cobbled high street and the bustle of happy shoppers.
As a young child, I was fortunate enough to be given a wealth of wonderful, fun activities to do here at the weekend.
My Saturdays were very busy, and I would attend the Surrey Youth Orchestra with my cello at Charterhouse School, followed by drama classes at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (my Uncle Archie was the founding chairman of the theatre!). I would then have swimming lessons the same afternoon.
When I wasn’t practising piano or cello, my Sundays comprised often of horse riding lessons and going out on hacks, followed by a Sunday lunch with my family and an afternoon stroll through the ‘Chantries’ – an area of beautiful wooded countryside.
I feel so lucky to have been given such an amazing and inspiring childhood. So, perhaps for me, one of the things I love so dearly about Surrey is all the beautiful memories and the familiarity. Having lost my Mum to cancer in 2012, these memories are so cherished and I feel closer to her being around all the nature she first exposed me to.
Pushing the boat out These days, a typical weekend for me when I’m not out gigging would start with a visit to the cinema on a Friday night with some friends.
Then, on Saturdays, if it’s the summer-time, I love taking a book and my acoustic guitar and just laying by the river with some friends, writing, jamming and picnic-ing! It’s like a little escape for me. On another point of interest, the Stevens family ran the Wey Navigation until, in the early 60’s, it was given to The National Trust. My great, great uncle gave his lovely boat, the Harry Stevens, to the Trust – and it still makes regular trips up and down the river with tourists on board!
Saturday evenings perhaps I would spend cooking at home, maybe baking! I am not one for going out to bars and clubs. I tend to like to do quiet and reflective things when I’m not gigging or in the studio. Perhaps the theatre, if I feel like spoiling myself, while other times I simply like to read by the fire.
A Sunday would more often than not consist of a walk followed by some great food and music making!
Surfing and the sea are the only passions of mine that Guildford doesn’t offer me. But Surrey makes up for that with the incredible walks. As a typical Taurean, I am pretty down to earth and I adore the nature… I could walk for miles! And on my return home, a lovely big mug of Earl Grey and a great film (perhaps a classic like The Italian Job) next to my open fire and I am in heaven!
• Emma Stevens’ latest album Waves is out now. For more information, visit her official website at emmastevensmusic.com