Monday, 7 June 2010

Coffee shop worker's music career perks up after TV exposure

A FORMER Finsbury coffee shop worker has been catapulted to the top of the charts after one of her songs was used as the theme tune to a hit TV drama.

Rising folk star Emily Barker, 29, has all but quit her day job at Brill coffee house and record shop, in Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, swapping lattes for a life on the road.

Last year her song Nostalgia was picked to open the BBC's flagship Sunday night detective serial Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh.

The exposure has seen the Australian and her backing band The Red Clay Halo gain Radio 2 airplay and a string of top festival appearances.

Emily, who until recently lived on a house boat on the Regent's Canal, said: "It's been amazing. We were top of the iTunes singer songwriter charts and Amazon folk charts for weeks.

"I'm independent - it's my own label so it has been quite slow-burning. We were never expecting to have a big break.

"A lot of opportunities came from working in Brill. A TV producer asked us to play at his house in Tufnell Park for a house party. The composer for the series was there. He rang two days later and said 'what's the name of that song you played at the end - can I use it for this new show with Kenneth Branagh?' I've never had a TV in my life, so I'd never even heard of him!"

The all-female band is currently touring the UK before heading into the studio to record their third album.

"I still have stints at Brill from time to time - partly for the cash flow but mainly because I love it. It's a great vibe on Exmouth Market. There's a real community and I think Brill is a big part of that."

Proud shop owner Jeremy Brill, 49, added: "Emily's incredibly committed about what she does. She takes it seriously but at the same time she's a lovely person. I'm pleased for her and hope it will grow and grow."