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Lizzie Emeh

Lizzie Emeh

Lizzie, 32, was born and brought up in West London. She currently lives in Westbourne Grove. Her mother is of Irish descent and her father of Nigerian.

When Lizzie was born, the doctor said she would not be able to walk or talk due to severe medical complications. From the beginning her father said Lizzie would be an ‘antibiotic baby’, as he felt she would always need medication. However she started to walk and talk around the age of 4 years old.

Lizzie has a mild learning disability due to severe complications at birth. She does not read or write and she takes longer to learn new things than someone without a learning disability.

Lizzie says music is in her blood. Lizzie’s grandmother was her inspiration who used to sing jazz and blues. When Lizzie was 10, her grandmother would sit her and her cousin down and they would sing and harmonise. Her grandmother always thought that Lizzie could go far.

Lizzie attended a mainstream primary school, but at 13, went to special boarding school, Parkwood Hall in Swanley, Kent, for people with learning disabilities. She was there for 6 years before returning to London at 19.

In 1997 she met Mark Williams from disability arts organisation Heart n Soul. She was discovered on the open mic at Heart n Soul’s Beautiful Octopus Club. She says: “at Heart n Soul I was allowed to express how I really felt.”

From here her career really took off - she’s performed with Heart n Soul at the Glastonbury festival, in Asia and to thousands of people across the UK at numerous club events. She’s even met Nelson Mandela –her dad was so proud, he sent a copy of the photo to his family in Nigeria.

Loud and Proud is her first album. It has taken 2 years to put together. She equates her songwriting approach to R.Kelly.

She doesn’t write lyrics down, she writes them in her head and then works with the musicians to come up with the mood, beats, chords, melodies she wants. She says she writes about experiences in her life instead of getting angry or upset, this way she can relate to other people.

Lizzie would like to be the first disabled musician to win a MOBO. She wants to push boundaries and educate others about what people with learning disabilities can do.

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