Gold Coast artist San Mei, also known as Emily Hamilton, began her musical journey at the keys of her family piano. The daughter of Chinese-Malaysian and New Zealand born parents, her family immigrated to Australia at an early age.
Family and home have always been integral to Hamilton’s creative process. Her parents nurtured and encouraged her creatively, instilling in her a gift that she would lean on heavily to help diffuse and navigate the chaos of growing up and forging her identity. Using art as therapy, her songs became a conduit for escape and to shoulder the loss of her mother. Armed with just a MIDI-keyboard and a Macbook, San Mei was born. Her DIY project quickly gained groundswell and nods from national tastemakers Triple J, and further afield from heavyweights NME and NYLON. As San Mei evolved sonically, she gravited towards the fuzzy world of dream pop, fused with over-driven, psych-tinged guitars, and atmospheric synth melodies, and this is where she found her sonic shelter.
When Hamilton joined forces with producer, songwriter and musical phenom Oscar Dawson, this collaboration saw the pair refining ideas, exploring soundscapes and laying the foundation for San Mei’s sonic progression. Hamilton then offered the first single Wonder in early 2018 which quickly rose through the Hype Machine ranks to number one in 10 days, along the way being added to full rotation on triple j, and San Mei became the Unearthed feature artist the week of the release. This cemented her momentum in the top ten most played unsigned artists on Triple J and catapulted her towards a spot on the coveted BIGSOUND festival. San Mei went on to conquer SXSW stages with a mammoth nine shows in six days. This behemoth of a schedule sent industry buzzing, and gained San Mei a new loyal US following, with many soon-to-be-announced partnerships.
Readers also enjoyed our story Musical Maple.