“To say that Deborah Emmanuel is a woman of many facets is hardly an exaggeration.”
– Gary Lim, City Nomads
Deborah Emmanuel (b.1988) is a Singaporean artist, most recognised for her work as a poet, singer and theatre-maker. Deborah’s gifts have taken her across oceans, from the spiritual settings of Bali and Kathmandu to the vibrant cities of Berlin, London and New York. Her powerful performances have been at select events like TEDx Singapore and The Performance Theatre, and have toured alongside performance poetry sensation Sarah Kay.
Her writing continues to feature at poetry festivals like the Barcelona International Poetry Festival and the Makassar International Writers Festival and has even won competitions in Singapore, Germany and Australia. The quality and versatility of her craft has also seen her invited as a resident artist to respected spaces such as Literarisches Colloquium Berlin and The Watermill Center New York.
When their visions are aligned, Deborah works with consumer giants like Procter & Gamble or Lululemon to workshop staff members and perform for target audiences. She also takes on commission projects, like ones with fashion label Lisa Von Tang and cultural organisation Goethe Institut.
Deborah’s first poetry collection, When I Giggle In My Sleep, was published by Red Wheelbarrow Books early 2015. Her creative non-fiction work Rebel Rites, was self-published with a well-funded Pozible campaign in 2016. After the success of that, Deborah decided to release her third book Genesis: Visual Poetry Collection in 2018 with the same independence. She has also released multiple music albums as a lead vocalist and collaborated on many sound works. This of course includes her current biggest projects Mantravine and Polymorphism.
In the last few years, Deborah’s work has been heavily influenced by political and feminist discourse, and a commitment to spiritual practice as the key to her personal revolution. This has led her to open up new abilities and pursue work in the healing arts as a shamanic practitioner and past life hypnotist. You can book a healing session below.
“Deborah is undoubtedly one of the greatest natural talents I have seen in the world of poetry. She can turn up and burn the place down in a few short breaths. Some poets need to practice, rehearse, run through lines and warm up before getting onto a stage. Deborah is always a poet, always sincere, always heartbreakingly truthful and effortlessly powerful.”
– LUKA LESSON
Deborah Emmanuel was a 19-year-old drama school dropout, working a soul-mashing job at a five-star hotel. She drank, smoked and had the occasional spliff or ecstasy pill. After a Monday-night party raid by the Central Narcotics Bureau, she tested positive for MDMA and THC. The next year unlocked her gates to the Singapore punitive system; a world of steel bars, squatting holes and broken women.
Blurb: This is spoken word. This will make you feel things. This is a poet illustrating her own book. This is in alien language. This is an angry bedtime story. This contains occasional confessional explosions. This is a bit of sexy feminism. This is hipster monologue. This is angst that will not fester. This is a spiritual quest. This is sometimes grammatically incorrect. This is don’t let anyone say you can’t draw. Not even your own mind.
As long as I have been alive, I have felt alien. Outside collective identity, outside my own identity. In this poem, I am capturing two stories which I have lived simultaneously. This is a poem about two completely separate emotional states; one of longing and one of gradual acceptance. It is about a space of grappling with a being misunderstood within my otherness as well as in a time of experiencing unrequited love.
Keeping No Country
I was always drawn to Nepal. Many people are; it is an old and rich place full of deep beauty. In June 2016 I took some time to do an arts residency at The Marpha Foundation in the Mustang district. This time in the mountains shifted me into a different era of my work and career. Here I share some perspective on my solo journey to live in Marpha and find more meaning to the word ‘Home’.
“Deborah Emmanuel is one of the most exciting, challenging voices to have emerged in the Singaporean scene. To listen to her work is to listen to an artist who wears vulnerability like an armour, who uses poetry like courage. Her writing is both tender and tough, both lyrical and unapologetic. She’s one of the most important writers we have for young people who are confronting issues of true diversity, identity and experience.”
– POOJA NANSI
“Anchored by the profoundly heady lyricism of Singaporean poet-performer Deborah Emmanuel, Australian outfit The Ditha Project’s moody and groovy confluence of jazz, funk, folk and electronic soul is heaven-sent.”
– HIDIZIR JUNAINI, BANDWAGON ASIA
My father had this mammoth CD collection as I was growing up. There were hundreds of discs in stacks and stacks. They made alphabetized walls on either side of the television.
From the formative times, life had a soundtrack. From Black Metal to Trance to German Reggae. Whole eras have passed with a small selection of albums on repeat.
These days I have opportunities to contribute my words and voice to songs and albums on multiple projects with many different musicians and instruments. For this I am so grateful.
“Deborah Emmanuel, a Singaporean writer who will open her flip-flops whenever she will perform in public, at a seminar, discussion, or on stage. Like when we go into people’s homes, we’ll open sandals or shoes to honor the house, keep the house clean of others. Some people see this as a very romantic act of Deborah. “
“Inspirational and transformational, Deborah resonates with the strength of her convictions. After participating in Deborah’s workshops, our writers and performers will never look at poetry the same way again.”
– ADAM DAVY, HOD ENGLISH, KELVIN GROVE STATE COLLEGE
Experience a workshop with me, privately or in a group. I’ve worked with curious adults looking to expand their understanding of multidisciplinary creation. I’ve worked with seniors who have emotional disorders. I’ve worked with young people of all ages in classroom and auditorium settings. I’ve worked personally to help individuals break out of inhibiting patterns, so that they can be the best performers they can be. Let me know what knowledge you are seeking. Perhaps I can help you.
As an artist, I have been commissioned by the Singapore Writers Festival, Lisa Von Tang, P&G, the Goethe Institut and many more. In a commission circumstance I can work individually or collaborate with other artists to create a piece designed to meet your needs. My modalities are: Poetry, Prose, Non-Fiction, Song, Illustration and Visual Art, Theatre, Movement.
Experience a shamanic healing session with me (composed of removing astral energies which do not serve you, soul retrieval and guardian spirit retrieval).
Experience a QHHT session with me (an in-person past life regression and inner guidance hypnosis).
Experience a BQH session with me (a more freeform hypnosis modality which can be done remotely).