Emerson Royal on living life in London to a Brazilian beat
WE’ve Asked Emerson Royal to tell us the first album he ever bought: it was a compilation CD of pagode, a form of music that originated in Rio de Janeiro. The Tottenham wing-back picks out a song on there that he has listened to since he was a child – Grades do Coração – and mentions a particular lyric: “A paixão me pegou, tentei escapar, não consegui.” Translated: “Passion has got me, I tried to escape but I couldn’t.”
It’s an apt line, as the 24-year-old is passionate about a great many things. Music, for example, which features in his pre-match routine. “I always have a shower before heading to the stadium. That’s my superstition. And I listen to music while I have a shower – I give myself ten minutes to shower and only four or five to get dressed and on the team bus.” So acoustic ablutions take precedence over pulling on clothes? “That’s how I organise myself. My hair is always messy but on the pitch, it doesn’t look half bad.”
The music vibe continues in the dressing room – “I like to listen to music that gets you worked up!” – and then out on the pitch, particularly the first time he listened to a certain tune ahead of kick off. “It was tough to hold back the tears when I heard the Champions League anthem.”
He has other cultural interests too, including a TV series where the stakes are high. Last one he watched? “Prison Break. No, it was Money Heist; I watched Prison Break before that.” Money Heist, in case you’re wondering, is a Spanish crime drama. “When I was staying in a hotel, I ended up watching ten episodes in a row. I finished an entire season.”
But perhaps Emerson’s greatest passion is his family: before a game he gets texts from his mum, dad, brother and cousins, and talks to his girlfriend Stela. But she saved her most important words for his birthday in January (pictured): she revealed that he’s going to be a dad. “It was always my dream to be a father,” he says. Music to his ears, no less.