Emma, the adopted daughter of a former army major and explorer, spent the first years of her life growing up in unconventional surroundings. Her father was the secretary of the Naval and Military Club in Mayfair and Emma lived in a flat overlooking Piccadilly in London until she was 14 years old. In 1988, during her college years, she and some friends formed a band called The Baby Machines which turned into a band called Lush. Lush signed to 4AD, put out 4 albums, graced the pop-charts and toured the world until tragedy struck in 1996 with the suicide of their drummer, Chris Acland, and Lush was over.
It had been eight fantastic but also hard years and Emma was ready for new challenges. She had a batch of songs but no one to sing them so she put feelers out. It was her friend Bunny who told her about a singer/songwriter called Lisa at her animation company who had contributed to an album called `Morning Light` by Locust but was looking for a full-time collaborator. Emma had said album, stuck it on and was immediately impressed with Lisa`s contribution. It also transpired that Lisa was the girlfriend of her then boyfriend`s flatmate and they had actually already met! The double connection was too much to ignore they met and hit it off at once.
Lisa O`Neill also had an atypical childhood but in a different way. Her parents had been very young when she was born and during her first few years in Manchester, she was surrounded by 1970`s rock, English folk and psychedelia before upping sticks and moving to Montreal. There, she not only had to learn and speak a new language, but she immersed herself in disco. It was when she came back to London she started getting back into live music and bands. However, even though Lisa had not spent a lot of time recording her own material, her connection with Locust (real name Mark van Hoen) was to prove vital as Mark went on to provide Sing-Sing with the sound that would carry them through the years.
Sing-Sing`s first few years are characterised by frustratingly travelling from pillar-to-post with labels. Singles came out on Bella Union, Fierce Panda and Sanctuary Records until the album `The Joy of Sing-Sing` was released on Poptones in October 2001. LA-based Manifesto Records the released the album in North America the following year and Sing-Sing embarked on two US tours that took in SXSW in Austin and CMJ in New York.
However, both record deals were only one-off licenses for that album so when all the promo was over, the girls found themselves label-less. They had been through enough label machinations for one band-lifetime so it was time to take matters into their own hands - Why not take start a label and sell the records through an online shop direct to the fans?
Autumn 2003 and Sing-Sing went back into the studio to record three new songs with Mark Van Hoen using their personal savings to fund the sessions. It was a risk but apart from supplying the patient fans with four brand-spanking new songs, the main purpose of the resulting `Madame Sing-Sing` EP was to sell it through their online shop in order raise money to fund the second album. For another band, the risk might not have paid off but all went swimmingly for Sing-Sing. Just one month after of going on sale, the EP had raised enough money to pay the girls back and to enable them to start recording again. This was achieved not just by sales but also by the overwhelming generosity of the fans �some donating even as much as 200 pounds/dollars apiece. The girls were not only amazed but also truly humbled. People that they had never even met were sending in money so they could carry on producing music that they wanted to hear.
The latter part of 2004 saw Emma and Lisa back in Mark`s studio laying down eight more tracks for an album to be released on their own Aerial Records. `Sing-Sing and I` is that album. With six years of being in this band behind them and all the highs and lows that that has entailed, this album is a culmination of hope but more importantly gritty perseverance.