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Emma Gillespie (born in Edinburgh, Scotland), better known by her stage name Emma's Imagination, is a Scottish singer. She first came to prominence after winning the Sky 1 TV talent contest Must Be the Music. She has since been signed to Gary Barlow's music label Future Records.[1] She has since released her debut solo album, Stand Still in January 2011.

Emma's Imagination
Birth nameEmma Gillespie
BornEdinburgh, Scotland
GenresPop, alternative
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2010–present
LabelsFuture Records (2010–12)
Associated actsGary Barlow

Early yearsEdit

Emma Gillespie was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Dumfries where she attended St Joseph's College.[2] She lived with her mother Sharon and stepfather.[citation needed] Gillespie was in the Andaman Islands in India at the time of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.[citation needed] She then went on to travel in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, with many of her ideas for music originating while travelling.[citation needed]

Gillespie took up playing guitar when aged 16. Before coming to public attention, she spent time busking on the streets of Glasgow, to which she had moved a year before her breakthrough. She also spent time honing her skills performing in New York.[3] Gillespie released her debut single, "Stamp Your Feet", in September 2009, on independent label Up Next Records, based in Glasgow.

Music careerEdit

2010–11: Must Be the MusicEdit

Emma's Imagination entered Must Be the Music, broadcast on Sky1 and Sky 1 HD. In the initial televised audition phase, as well as the three semi-finals and final, contestants sang in front of the judges, Jamie Cullum, Dizzee Rascal, and Sharleen Spiteri. The auditions took place in early August 2010 with musicians allowed to play their own compositions. The live finals were held at Wembley Arena with a live audience behind the judges. During the finals, the public voted for their favourite act, which was Emma's Imagination.

After appearing on the show, her first single, "This Day", was released for sale by download and debuted at number 10 on the United Kingdom Singles Chart and number 2 on the Indie Chart.[3] The single also charted on the Irish Singles Chart, where it reached number 9 and on the Scottish Singles Chart, where it debuted at number 7.

Emma's Imagination won the final on Sunday 19 September 2010, and received a prize of £100,000.[4]

2011: Stand StillEdit

Following victory on the show, Emma's Imagination's second single, Focus, debuted in the United Kingdom at number 7,[5] her second British Top 10 placing. The single also debuted at number 1 on the Indie Chart, number 8 in Ireland and number 5 in Scotland. Her debut album Stand Still was released in January 2011 and peaked at #14 in the UK charts.

In 2012, Gary Barlow announced that he was closing his record label.[6]

2013-present: Independent careerEdit

In 2013, Emma's Imagination released independently a 6-song EP, Underway, produced by Youth. This would be Emma's last release under the name Emma's Imagination, and she has used her birth name for subsequent releases.

Gillespie released her second full-length album, Pier Siamese, in April 2016.



Year Album details Peak chart positions
2011 Stand Still 14 48 2
2016 Pier Siamese
  • Released 8 April 2016
  • Label: Self-released
  • Genre: Pop, Alternative
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released


Year Album details Peak chart positions
2013 Underway
  • Released 12 August 2013
  • Label: Pebble Island Records
  • Genre: Pop, Alternative
2013 Acoustic
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released


Year Single Chart positions Album
2009 "Stamp Your Feet"1 65 15 - 46 N/A
2010 "This Day" 10 2 9 7 Stand Still
"Focus" 7 1 7 5
2011 "Brighter Greener" - - - -
2016 "Mercury" - - - - Pier Siamese
"Your House" - - - -
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released


  • 1 "Stamp Your Feet" did not chart when it was first released, it charted in October 2010 at the same time she was announced winner of the Must Be the Music contest.

Promotional singlesEdit

  • 2010 – "Faerie Lights"


  1. ^ BBC – Newsbeat – Gary Barlow signs talent show winner Emma's Imagination 11 October 2010
  2. ^ Emma’s Imagination star reveals plans to ride 'wave of success'
  3. ^ a b's+Imagination+Cracks+The+Top+Ten/nid7951[dead link]
  4. ^ "Dumfries artist Emma's Imagination wins UK talent show"
  5. ^ "The Official Charts" – 26 September 2010
  6. ^ "Gary Barlow closes record label" Archived 1 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Emma's Imagination – Stand Still – CDs at (UK)". Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Emma's Imagination – Stand Still (2011)". Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  10. ^ "UK Charts: Emma's Imagination". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 January 2011.

External linksEdit