There is a refreshing frankness about Emma-Lee Moss, the singer-songwriter who performs under the name ‘Emmy the Great’. She is a warm and relaxed presence, talking plainly about everything from feminism to the break-up that inspired recent album ‘Virtue’; as in her lyrics, her responses are both thoughtful and completely honest.

“This was a really soul-searching record,” she tells me. “I actually did it to get over something and in the process of that I discovered what I felt about things.” The album is centred upon earth-shattering events in the songwriter’s life: in her own words, her fiancé “went ballistic” and left her to become a missionary, something that seeps through the entire record and forms its emotionally affecting core.

The most intriguing aspect of this lyrical exploration is the balance between religion’s evident influence on her - her ‘Virtue’ - and her separation from it. Discussing the song ‘North,’ wherein she sings of her rejection by the Christian missionaries’ “piece of Heaven”, I discover how profoundly she engaged with the religious life. “I gave myself a blank slate to start with. I was like, I’m not going to be judgemental; I’m going to find out everything I need to find out about this particular niche and decide what I think. I realized from writing that song that I wasn’t just upset by what he does, going around the street and trying to convert people in foreign countries, but I was upset about the original missionaries.”

Many other lyrics focus on women, with songs written about figures like ‘Sylvia,’ ‘Juliet’ and ‘Cassandra’. As a result The Mirror has referred to her music as “outright feminist pop”, but is this accurate? “It’s not like I attend society meetings or anything, but in the way that anyone with any level of brain or education should be a feminist, yeah.”

This is a topic that evokes an exasperated frustration as we move on to the sexism she has experienced in her career. “We had this stupid student review the other day with a guy who wanted to be the next Terry Richardson or something. He was talking about how much he would like to fuck me - my jaw-line being this and that - and that would never happen for a boy-band. I would never go to see Hayden from Wild Beasts and come out saying ‘I really want to fuck him’. It’s just horrific.”

Another irritation is lazy journalistic comparisons which are commonly confined to other female artists, with particular favourites being “a mixture between Ellie Goulding and Florence, between Marina and the Diamonds and Kate Bush.” A recent comparison to Cowboy Junkies elicits an ecstatic, “there’s a man in Cowboy Junkies, I’m so happy!”

Moss recently chose ‘Rebel Girl’ by Bikini Kill, a seminal part of 90s feminist punk movement Riot Grrrl, as one of TimeOut’s ‘100 Songs that Changed History.’ Unlikely as this musical influence might seem, her passion for it is clear: “it basically paved the way for girls like me to do songs about vaginas and semen, without it being an issue. It’s about channeling your political will into creativity, and it’s not just girls who benefit from it but anyone who is just decides, ‘I’m not going to sit around and wait for a record deal, I’m just gonna do this.’”

That is exactly what she did with her most recent album, which was enabled by use of PledgeMusic, a way for fans to fund musicians directly. “I wish that I hadn’t been the first of my peers to try it, because we had to make some experiments and make some mistakes, but I’ve actually learnt a lot about coming up with ideas to interact with fans."

All other issues aside, it seems to be this connection that has become one of the songwriter’s driving impulses. “I love it, because someone will say,  ‘your song reminds me of when I was at university,’ or ‘I met my girlfriend at your gig,’ and that’s cool. As a musician, you’re just a soundtrack to someone’s 45 minutes. The best you can hope for when you make an album is that someone will listen to it, with a friend, or while they’re cooking, or while they’re driving, and that’s what you’ve done, you’ve given them 45 minutes of music for their day.”

A rational yet passionate vision, this assessment is indicative of the same intelligence and emotion that seem to mark all of the work of this increasingly self-assured artist.