Emma was born in Hong Kong to an English father and a Chinese mother. The family moved to the UK when she was 12, swapping the the world's most densely populated city for a rural village between a Mormon temple, a Steiner community and the centre of British Scientology. In a review of an ETG single, the Guardian referred to East Grinstead as 'the UK's answer to Twin Peaks'.
First Love, released in 2009, was recorded in the Lancashire moors, outside Manchester, with Euan Hinshelwood of Younghusband and Tom Rogerson of Three Trapped Tigers. The album was album of the week in the Sunday Times Culture, and ranked as one of the New York Times' Albums of the Year for 2009, while Clash Magazine described Emma as 'Quite simply the female counterpart to Bon Iver'.
Her second album, Virtue, was released 2011. Mixing themes from myths, fairy tales and saints' lives, using the voices of archetypal female protagonists, and mixing classical images with the modern industrial images that have replaced them, the album started out as a purely third person project, but took on a personal tinge when Emma got caught up in her fiance's sudden religious conversion and the break-up of their relationship. The album was recorded very quickly after the summer of her cancelled wedding, with producer Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Grizzly Bear, These New Puritans).
Emma has also contributed vocals to records by Lightspeed Champion, Ash, and the Brighton Port Authority. She wrote the original songs for upcoming film Austenland.
She is working on her third album.
She is a mentor for Strummerville UK, campaigns for Wateraid, and has worked with Jail Guitar Doors, Billy Bragg's prison-based music charity.