Emilie Autumn Liddell (born on September 22, 1979), better known by her stage name Emilie Autumn, is an American singer-songwriter, poet, violinist, and actress. Autumn’s musical style has been described by her as “Fairy Pop”, “Fantasy Rock” or “Victoriandustrial”. It is influenced by glam rock—from plays, novels, and history, particularly the Victorian era. Performing with her all-female backup dancers The Bloody Crumpets, Autumn incorporates elements of classical music, cabaret, electronica, and glam rock with theatrics, and burlesque.
Growing up in Malibu, California, she began learning the violin at the age of four and left regular school five years later with the goal of becoming a world-class violinist; she practiced eight or nine hours a day and read a wide range of literature. Progressing to writing her own music, she studied under various teachers and went to Indiana University, which she left over issues regarding the relationship between classical music and the appearance of the performer. Through her own independent label Traitor Records, Autumn debuted with her classical album On a Day: Music for Violin & Continuo, followed by the release in 2003 of her album Enchant.
She appeared in singer Courtney Love’s backing band on her 2004 America’s Sweetheart tour and returned to Europe. She released the 2006 album Opheliac with the German label Trisol Music Group. In 2007, she released Laced/Unlaced; the re-release of On a Day… appeared as Laced with songs on the electric violin as Unlaced. She later left Trisol to join New-York-based The End Records in 2009 and release Opheliac in the United States, where previously it had only been available as an import. In 2012, she released the album Fight Like a Girl. She played the role of Painted Doll in Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2012 film The Devil’s Carnival, as well as its 2015 sequel, Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival.
Autumn attributes her ability to write music in her mind to the fact that as a child, she played Pachelbel’s Canon in D (pictured) mentally every night.
Emilie Autumn was born in Los Angeles, California, on September 22, 1979. Autumn grew up in Malibu, California, and according to her, “being surrounded by nature and sea had a lot to do with [her] development as a ‘free spirit.'” Her mother worked as a seamstress, and she has said that her father was a German immigrant with whom she did not share a close relationship. While not musicians, her family enjoyed various genres of music.
When she was four years old, she started learning the violin, and later commented: “I remember asking for a violin, but I don’t remember knowing what one was. I might have thought it was a kind of pony for all I know, but I don’t remember being disappointed.” Four years later, Autumn made her musical debut as a solo violinist performing with an orchestra, and won a competition. At the age of nine or ten, she left regular school with the goal of becoming a world-class violinist. On her time at the school, she remarked, “I hated it anyway, what with the status as ‘weird,’ ‘antisocial,’ and the physical threats, there seemed to be no reason to go anymore, so I just didn’t.” She practiced eight or nine hours a day, had lessons, read a wide range of literature, participated in orchestra practice, and was home-schooled. Growing up, she owned a large CD collection of “violin concertos, symphonies, chamber music, opera, and a little jazz”. She began writing her own music and poetry at age thirteen or fourteen, though she never planned to sing any of her songs. She studied under various teachers and attended Indiana University in Bloomington, but left after two years there, because she disagreed with the prevailing views on individuality and classical music. She believed that neither the audience nor the original composer would be insulted by the clothing and appearance of the performer.
While convinced that she would only play violin, eighteen-year-old Autumn decided to sing on one of her songs as a way of demonstrating to a major music producer, who wanted to sign her on a label, how it should sound. She became unhappy with the changes done to her songs, and decided to break away from the label and create her own independent record label, Traitor Records. Through it, she debuted with her classical album On a Day: Music for Violin & Continuo, which she recorded in 1997 when she was seventeen years old; its title refers to the fact that the album took only a day to record. It consists of her performing works for the baroque violin accompanied by Roger Lebow on the baroque cello, Edward Murray on harpsichord, and Michael Egan on lute. She considered it “more of a demo despite its length”, and released it as “a saleable album” after fans who enjoyed her “rock performances starting asking for a classical album so that they could hear more of the violin.” She also debuted with her poetry book Across the Sky & Other Poems in 2000, later re-released in 2005 as Your Sugar Sits Untouched with a music-accompanied audiobook.