The Beatles plus Chinese culture influenced San Mei's Heaven
EMILY Hamilton, also known as Gold Coast musician San Mei, began her musical journey at the keys of her family piano, a consequence of a love ingrained and inherited from her dad's favourite Beatles records and penchant for classic 1960s pop.
Her 2018 EP Heaven a clutch of four indie rock songs, characterised by San Mei's take-no-prisoners guitar hooks, lush vocals and exemplifies the multi instrumentalist's songwriting dexterity, which has been meticulously crafted since her 2013 debut Brighter.
The artist is very excited about her upcoming Byron Bay show.
"Expect lots of energy, maybe a lame joke or two," she said..
"Byron has always been special to visit just because... it's Byron!
"I dream of being able to relocate there or (somewhere in the) the Northern Rivers region one day.
"I've also performed in Byron a few times and it's been so great every time. People just show up and have fun and show their support, whether they know your music or not. It's really encouraging to play to people like that."
Besides her dad's influence on her as a Beatles fan, the artist also acknowledges her Chinese-Malaysian heritage as an influence in her music.
"I feel like I got a good start in life being exposed to a lot of Beatles and 1960s and 1970s pop growing up," she said.
"There's always something to be learned from those artists when it comes to good songwriting.
"My heritage does play a role in my music too. I like to celebrate it in the visual elements of my music, like my music videos, artwork, imagery and sometimes what I wear.
"As an artist, I think it's good to recognise something special to you that's part of your identity and to be able to celebrate it."
Where does the name San Mei come from? We asked.
"It's the Chinese name my parents gave me," she said.
"I figured it sounded a little bit more interesting as a stage name than my regular name."
San Mei was recently names a finalist in the QLD Music Awards for Rock and Regional, a nomination she is proud of.
"I'd describe my music as psych-pop/indie rock," she said.
"I definitely have rock influences, but my music also been described as dream-pop and shoegaze, so I think it might fall into a few categories."
She said she enjoys both, live performances on stage and recording new material.
"I love them both so much, and they're both completely different so I couldn't choose one over the other," the said.
"I love the process of being able to really flesh out ideas in a song and watch it come to life in the studio.
"Then to be able see that music connect with people when it's played live is really cool.
Besides music, San Mei enjoys travelling, which given her music career, is a good thing.
"I don't get a lot of time for interests outside music, but travel is really important to me, so I try to do that as much as I can. I've been getting to do more of it with music lately, which I'm really grateful for."
- At The Northern, 35-43 Jonson St, Byron Bay, this Saturday from 9pm. Free show. 18+.