#BirminghamCalling – Emma Howett The Things That We Don’t Say review

Single cover

One of the longest running music websites on UK indie circuit JoyZine once wrote this about Emma Howett: “she has a history of being in brilliant bands and a reputation for writing brilliant songs”. What is missing from this statement is that Emma`s talents spread way beyond music. She`s a multi-instrumentalist (playing guitar, bass, keyboards) and a composer (leading three projects at the same time), but she is also an incredibly gifted visual artist and even a video maker. She plans and directs many of her releases and you would be surprised what she can accomplish with a mobile phone and some aftereffects.

Emma has also a heart as big as entire Birmingham metropolitan area.

I`ve known her for years. Our first meeting was kind of awkward – she helped me up when I fainted after a particularly exhausting hospital appointment at a bus stop. But don’t say I am not dedicated to my craft. I may have ended having a concussion from hitting the concrete but I also had her name and a SoundCloud link. Since then, I’ve had a pleasure and privilege of seeing her play countless shows and even photograph her on polaroid.

In April, Emma began running a charity appeal for Cancer Research UK by doing funny challenges such as washing cars, eating sour sweets, memorizing lyrics to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and recording a single. “The Things That We Don`t Say” came out on 10th June accompanied by a DIY stop animation video and hitting 1000 pounds on the fundraiser.

Please consider donating to Cancer Research UK

The song was recorded by Emma with help from Stuart Lee and Gary Chamberlain and mastered and produced by Terry Walls. It may not tell you much if you don’t live in West Midlands, but those are seasoned and well accomplished local artists. I have always had utmost respect for Terry Walls specifically. Think of him as English equivalent of Damien Jurado or Shawn Smith (of Brad/Satchel fame). The guy is a treasure full stop. If you ever have a chance to attend one of his shows, just go and enjoy because that will be one of the best things in that particular year. Terry is Emma`s regular artistic collaborator and to be honest it makes perfect sense. To me, Emma has always been in the same category as Lisa Loeb or Paula Cole, so what we have on “The Things That We Don’t Say” is really a power duo coming together and gifting us a perfectly crafted gem of a pop punk song.  

Emma Howett

The heart-warming video deserves at least a mention. It features snippets from Emma`s challenges but also a strangely shaped couple in love who care a lot about each other, the world around them and the small creatures they own.

“The Things That We Don’t Say” have got some proper coverage from BBC Introducing West Midlands and BBC Hereford and Worcester (and rightly so!).

If you can spare few quid, please join the fund raiser, and do tell few mates that Birmingham has the best talent in the country.

They may call it Second City, but its music scene is second to none.

You can donate to the charity fundraiser:


Emma Howett and Terry Walls in 2019 (polaroid by Malicia Dabrowicz)

You can follow Emma Howett on social media:


Chevy Chase Stole My Wife:

Fix Me Margo:

Malicia Dabrowicz

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