Emma Hill Uncovers the Legend of the “Lioness”


Singer-songwriter Emma Hill unveils a fearless female superhero (or maybe villain) in “Lioness,” an intriguing folk-pop ballad from her new album, Denali.

And like all the best superheroes, the legend began as an experiment.

“I was working on stepping out of my normal songwriting boundaries,” the Alaska native says via email. “I was working with writing prompts a lot. I gave myself the challenge to write my own comic book character into song. ‘Lioness’ was the result.”

Presented as a dangerous and single-minded hunter, Hill says the “Lioness” is an exaggeration. But really, her powers are built into each and every woman, just waiting to be unleashed.

“She is a hybrid archetype,” Hill says. “She is a character that embodies strength, independence, courage and sexuality, all while trying to remain feminine. She lives in a state of emotional conflict because while she is incredibly independent, her nurturing nature requires she always puts others first.”

Along with harmonies from musical partner Bryan Daste, Hill uses unusual sounds throughout the track, even giving it a sort of video-game feel in the chorus. But the connection to art, comics and games doesn’t end there. She chose a talented animator to create the song’s video.

“I had always thought an animated video would be best for this song, especially with its background,” she admits. “I came across Eric Power‘s work by seeing it used on some Jeremy Messersmith music videos. I instantly became a fan and reached out to him. Power creates shadow animation with a silhouette aesthetic using a combination of semitranslucent and opaque paper.

“We especially like how he created his own narrative with characters and props that the song inspired in him,” Hill adds. “His story and the song intertwine beautifully, and we couldn’t be more happy with the final result.”

Check out Emma Hill’s “Lioness” on the prowl in this CMT Edge premiere.