Born Michael Emile Telford Miller, the artist/scientist was taken to England in his late teens with the resolve of mastering the science of sound-engineering production. But, as fate would have it, to validate his technical discoveries to his doubting college professors, in the early sixties he decided to produce his very first recording, “What do you want to make those eyes at me for?”
This record not only catapulted him into instant stardom – requiring the shortening of his name to “Emile Ford” – but it also quickly broke all kinds of records, including being entered into the “Guinness Book of Records” the same year it was released; and shortly afterwards, he was also awarded a Platinum disc.
Despite his extraordinary popularity as a performer, in later years, Emile returned to his first love: his relentless pursuit of finding the most correct technology essential for producing the ‘perfect sound.’ Through the years, names such as Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and many other well-known musicians also made use of his cutting-edge technology.
Ford was born in St Lucia on October 16, 1937: the son of Frederick Edward Miller (a politician of distinction in the Health and Social Services from 1956 to 1961) and Madge Murray (a concert and opera soprano). He was educated at St Mary’s College, Castries, St Lucia and came from a privileged family with earnest interests in music and all the arts; this was true of both his immediate-and-grandparents. On his mother’s side, his grandfather (Louie M. Murray) was a renaissance man and founder of St. Lucia’s first Philharmonic group; he was also its executive director and conductor between the years of 1902-1904. Similarly, Emile’s mother (the concert soprano) performed throughout the West Indies and Guyana, both live and on the air; and in 1954 she created a cultural organization and presented St Lucia’s first music talent-show at Clark’s Theatre. Madge Murray specifically founded this organization to help encourage St Lucia’s youth to be actively involved in all the arts. Prophetically, the show was entitled “Musicians of the Future.”
He was the creator of the first backing-track system for stage appearances, which he used for the first time in Morecambe, Lancashire (UK) in June of 1960 for a midnight charity matinee. Later, this system became widely known as Karaoke
During the 1970s, Emile was able to accomplish in Sweden his most intensive and fruitful research into sound; and it was at that time that he developed his open-air playback sound system for stage appearances, i.e. his patented “Liveoteque Sound” Frequency Feedback Injection System (Patent No. 2148074), which he was able to use and fine-tune when and wherever he performed in Sweden, the UK, and on the continent. While appearing in these numerous venues – especially those badly affected by faulty acoustics – Emile was able to learn invaluable information from each of these ever-varying acoustical situations. This gave him abundant opportunities to research all the different intrinsic acoustical problems inherent to all venues. He was a meticulous research scientist and kept copious statistics of all his findings which in turn were programmed into the software of his intricate ‘feedback system;’ making it possible for his unique invention to manifest all the subtle characteristics of a ‘thinking’ apparatus.
Emile is survived by six siblings: Dame Billie Miller, Cecille Miller, David Sweetnam, George Sweetnam (recently deceased), Dr. Paul Ashley Sweetnam, and Jeanne Sweetnam-Brown; and by seven children – Sonia, Michael, Thony, Rebecca, Alexandra, Cheryl, and Marcus, as well as by many other loving relatives and friends too numerous to mention here.
The Emile Ford technology can be followed up at “Web-Fi Sound” (http://www.web-fi.net/).