Irish singer Tolü Makay is celebrating her first ever official Irish chart success with the news that ‘N17′, her stunning cover of The Saw Doctors’ classic, has charted at 35 in the official, national Irish singles chart, making it the highest placed new entry for an Irish artist so far this year. Furthermore, Tolu debuts at 2 in the Official Irish Homegrown Top 20, just behind MEDUZA featuring Dermot Kennedy, becoming the highest-charting solo female ever on the Irish Homegrown Chart, which is a key industry indicator of rising Irish talent. ‘N17′ has been at number 1 on iTunes’ Irish singles chart since it was released by Rubyworks / Welcome To The New World two weeks ago.
Since she performed ‘N17’ with the RTE Concert Orchestra on TV as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration, Tolu’s poignant rendition has touched the hearts of Irish people both home and abroad. Much of Tolu’s January schedule has been taken up with a whirlwind round of interviews with Irish radio, TV, print and online media, as the track went viral on social media and radio stations came on board to support this new Irish artist.
‘N17’ is out now on Rubyworks / Welcome To The New World.
Singer/songwriter/rapper Elina Filice is set to release ‘First World Problems’, an innovative cover of a lesser-known song by Chance the Rapper.
While keeping the thoughtful hook, Elina re-wrote all of the verses in the original spoken word style to produce an honest and powerful piece. She flows effortlessly between the very personal and the very broad, speaking candidly about her journey, pursuing a creative life, as well as larger social issues.
She says, “The song is a critical reflection on the last few years, from leaving the comfort and structure of university to figuring out what to do with my life, the struggles of being an artist, searching for meaning, and trying to understand the world around me.”
Opening with a simple and emotive guitar loop, Elina’s voice is joined by hypnotic backing vocals from Dublin-based singer/songwriter Cat. As the lyrics grow in intensity, the song builds to an anthemic crescendo carried by a steady, work-song type beat.
The song is accompanied by a music video, featuring an impassioned performance by Elina. She says, “We wanted the video to be solemn and pensive. The video depicts me alone in the studio, to convey the idea that the following one’s dreams and passions, or even thinking critically about the world, is often a tough and lonely road.”
The video was created by Phil Kim (Kim Philms) in Halo Studios (Hamilton, Ontario). The song was recorded & produced by Kevin Brennan of Wavefarm Productions (Dublin, Ireland).
Elina Filice is gaining attention for songs that defy genre and interactive live performances. Her music is soulful and melodic while being influenced by blues and spoken word. Born to Canadian parents, Elina spent her formative years in Singapore before moving to Canada to attend university. She then relocated to Dublin where she founded Red Vine Records. Her 2020 releases ‘Thinking Of You’ and ‘Lying’ were met with critical acclaim by dozens of outlets as well as official Spotify playlists.
Stephanie Rainey returns this week with a brand new track, ‘No Cowboy’, taken from an impending EP set for release later in 2021. The young Cork songwriter has already packed a multitude of experience into a short career to date; from seeing her hit ‘Please Don’t Go’ take off internationally as the video went viral, to a deal with Warners and working regularly in the US.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing however, as this thoughtful new track attests. ‘No Cowboy’ reflects on misgivings with the music industry and the road to redemption that follows, as an artist picks herself back up and strives to play the game on her own terms. Produced by Ash Howes (One Direction, Ellie Goulding) and with a music video shot on a packed Hollywood Blvd, ‘No Cowboy’ is the first of four singles planned for 2021.
“Here I am,” Stephanie asserts, “ready and armed with more information and experience than ever before. I wasn’t prepared then but I am now. I’m out the other side of what was a very challenging time, and I wouldn’t change a second of the hurt or hardship given what I’ve learned in the process.”
The time is right for someone as resilient and forward-thinking as Stephanie Rainey. One of Ireland’s most-played female artists on radio, she has a combined 30m streams and views across all music on social platforms. With 20m hits across social platforms of the video for ‘Please Don’t Go’ (as well as a US Billboard 200 charting for the song), she has shared spotlights with the likes of Imelda May, Kodaline, The Waterboys, Tom Walker, Tom Odell, and Donovan.
Stephanie has also played most of Ireland’s primary music festivals, including Indiependence and Electric Picnic, has sold out Irish venues with ease, and is a record breaker (going gold) courtesy of her inclusion in the ensemble Irish Women in Harmony, whose 2020 cover version of The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’ has amassed well over 1m Spotify streams.
“My wish for the new songs,” remarks Stephanie, “is they find the ears that need them. If they do that I’ll be happy. All I have to offer the world is my version of my truth. To actually connect with what I’m saying I have to be honest. People will see through me if I don’t, and I’ll see through myself, which is worse.”
‘No Cowboy’ drops on January 29 with a follow-up single, ‘Woman’, due for release on March 12. In a forthcoming TV special that celebrates the 75th birthday of iconic folk/pop singer and songwriter Donovan, Stephanie will perform ‘Catch The Wind’ and ‘Colours’, two of Donovan’s best-known songs. She also contributes three songs (‘Please Don’t Go’, ‘Catch The Wind’, ‘Colours’) to the soundtrack a forthcoming feature film, details of which will be announced shortly.
Dec 2 – Galway – Roisin Dubh
Dec 3 – Limerick – Dolans
Dec 9 – Dublin – Whelans
Dec 10 – Cork St Lukes
More dates TBA
Cork Songwriter Mike Roche is delighted to announce the release of his latest single ‘Me And You’, which is released today, January 29th.
‘Me And You’, in Roche’s own words, is the perfect follow-up to his previous single ‘Confess’. “I sent a bunch of songs to Dave [Skelton, producer] and we went with this one next for that reason,” Roche explained of the track’s selection.
The track is dichotomous in nature, with the deep, heartfelt lyrics striking in contrast to the more upbeat and joyous melodical and instrumental choices. “I like creating that conflict between lyrics and music,” Roche adds of the decision, “I like to tell a narrative over the course of my songs and ‘Me And You’ is very much in line with that.”
The song was written over a year ago and was originally written as a piano ballad. “I had no real upbeat song at that stage so I decided to make it more pop-rock by adding in a baseline electric guitar and synth,” Roche adds of the song’s development.
The track forms the second part of a trilogy, the first of which came from his debut release ‘Confess’. “I like to tell a story over the course of my songs and I have about 3 different story arcs going at the moment,” Roche explains of the concept, “I left ‘Confess’ a bit ambiguous for that reason because I bet a lot of people took the lyrics to that song in the wrong way. So if you place ‘Me And You’ before it actually you’ll get another piece of the puzzle.”
Growing up, Roche came from a very musical family. His late Grandad Charlie O’Keeney was heavily involved in music from playing fiddle and keys with his band ‘The Silver Wings’. Having never taken music lessons as a child, he began to teach himself the piano following his grandfather’s death in 2016. His interest in music grew from there, and he slowly taught himself the guitar, mandolin and the bass guitar in a busy three year period.
Roche began writing music almost instantaneously. He saw songwriting as the opportunity to make his family proud, and used his newfound musical talents to pen a song in honour of his Grandmother, who also passed away in 2016. The track is now one of a number of tracks being considered for his debut EP, which Roche hopes to release in the opening months of 2021.
‘Me And You’ is Mike Roche’s latest addition to a thriving Irish music landscape. With an EP set for release in the coming months, and aspirations for future releases beyond that, 2021 already looks set to be the busiest year for Mike Roche to date.
Irish new-wave artist Jack Dora is back with his latest single ‘Oh So Lonely Man’. Having “stormed onto the Irish scene” with pizzazz in 2020, Dora’s second release and accompanying music video promise to be a rollercoaster of a ride, with bold images, bombastic production and eccentric vocal delivery.
Infused with the glistening synth-pop hooks of the ’80s and Prince-inspired vocals, ‘Oh So Lonely Man’ is in Dora’s own words, “a song about all the relentless pent up sexual frustration we’ve all been feeling this past year. It’s for all the lonely souls out there who want to go get groovy on some sweaty dance floor under a huge revolving disco ball and fall in love for a few hours.”
Keeping the family’s creative flair going strong, the music video was co-directed and shot by Dara Tah (Dora’s older brother), a prominent content creator who has received over 8.6 million likes on TikTok and has over 300,000 followers. It features Dora carrying out his banal daily routine, and his crazed disco-loving alter ego inviting us all to the kind of parties that we want to get back to.
The track was recorded and produced by Dora himself in his bedroom studio in Dublin. Citing influences such as Grace Jones, Roisín Murphy, Depeche Mode and Billy Idol, ‘Oh So Lonely Man’ is an archetypal soundtrack to youth culture and a Covid anthem for all those lonely souls out there yearning for a night on the town.
Having already performed in Whelans with Dublin artist St. Bishop, Blushing Boy and Tangier, Jack has begun plans to host his own socially-distanced gigs in the not-too-distant future. With a string of singles in the pipeline and an EP on the horizon for later this year, it’s set to be a big year for Jack Dora.
‘Oh So Lonely Man’ is out now.
After performing in venues across the world, including places like London and Singapore, Dublin rapper and producer Johnny Climax returns to the fore with the release of his latest EP ‘One Day You’ll See’, which includes his latest critically acclaimed single ‘Nobody Happy’.
Continuing on a similar note to ‘Nobody Happy’, Climax’s EP ‘One Day You’ll See’ examines whether it is the journey or the destination that brings a person happiness. “It’s is a project about realising one’s potential and realising what you are capable of” Climax explained of the EP’s premise, before adding that the project examines “Taking stock of how far you have come and where you’re going next.”
The five-track EP, the second full-length project of Climax’s career following his 2019 debut ‘I’m Fine’, is, “a proclamation to suppress doubt from both the internal and external, encouraging both factions to take a back seat and just watch.” It’s an eclectic mix of influences and style, aided in production by the producer Chris Kabs, offers an insight into Climax’s never-say-die attitude that has been ever-present throughout his career.
Johnny Climax has been a member of the wider Irish hip-hop scene since the release of his first single ‘Mood’ in 2018. His music consists of diversified electronica and hip-hop, all of which he draws influence from to form his emotive musical selections as his own therapy. Over the past two years, he has released a number of singles and his debut EP ‘I’m Fine’, which was released in 2019.
Climax has performed in some of the biggest venues in Dublin including Whelans, Workmans, The Grand Social, The Underground and The Lighthouse in Dun Laoghaire. He has also performed sets abroad, at a show in both the Nottinghill Arts Centre in London and the Choice Cuts Goods in Singapore.
‘One Day You’ll See’ was released on January 29th and can be streamed here.
Kildare singer-songwriter Megan O’Neill has just finished working on her second full-length studio album, ‘Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty’, set for public release in March 2021. This much-anticipated album follows ‘Ghost Of You’ (June 2018) which hit #1 on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts in the UK and Ireland.
Ahead of its release, Megan shares the album’s bonus track, a brooding cover of Jim Croce’s hit ‘Time In A Bottle’.
Megan says: “’Time In A Bottle’ was in collaboration with Mark Caplice and produced by Mark also. It’s our original and unique cover of this incredible Jim Croce song. I hope you enjoy it.
This forthcoming album was much more personal for me than any of my previous releases. I suppose I’m that bit older (and none the wiser!) – I feel that the more I learn about life the less I actually know about anything. That is where the title came from (‘Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty’). I’ve had a lot of change in my life in the past two years and I’ve felt pretty battered by the whole process to be honest. But I do believe that all those tough times bring about growth – in a way that contentment and comfort never will. So I’m learning to just get comfortable with the uncertainty of life – it’s always going to change.”
Deemed a “rising star” by uDiscover and Timeout Magazine London, Megan’s forthcoming album has already received huge attention in the sync world, with one track having already been selected for placement in a major Netflix series, airing spring 2021.
To date, Megan has toured the UK, Ireland, US and Germany. She has performed at private Oscars’ parties in LA alongside Gavin James (on invite from JJ Abrams) and has had her song ‘Don’t You’ featured on ABC’s hit TV Show ‘Nashville’ (Season 3). In 2019 Megan opened three stadium shows for the legendary Sir Tom Jones – performing in front of 15,000 people per night. In the first few months of 2020, Megan opened for Lighthouse Family at The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, and Jamie Cullum at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.
New album ‘Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty’ coming 12th March 2021.
Time in a Bottle single: https://ffm.to/by3dkxe
Ye Vagabonds have shared two new tracks, ‘I’m A Rover’ and ‘The Bothy Lads’, on a limited edition 7-inch vinyl, Friday 29th January, via Rough Trade’s imprint River Lea.
These new songs were recorded at Hellfire Studio, Dublin, by Lankum producer John ‘Spud’ Murphy, in March 2020.
The brothers, Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn, learned ‘I’m A Rover’ from their mother when they were young, and believe it travelled from Scotland to her home of Arranmore Island, off the coast of County Donegal, becoming this distinctly unusual version of the song on its oral journey.
‘The Bothy Lads’ is a song Ye Vagabonds learned and honed at singing sessions, before becoming a highlight of their spellbinding live shows. “We first heard this from our good friends Luke Mercier and Anthony Mannion in Walsh’s Stoneybatter one night, and they introduced us to the singing of Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise, from whom we learned this song.”
Speaking about the making of the video, Brían says: “René Reusser and his partner Mirjam run the most beautiful gigs in a venue at their home in Brienz, Switzerland. We visited in December 2019. They do nothing by halves there. Even their posters are made in the spirit of adventure that often require a small team to pull off and photographers dangling from trees. René had an idea to make a video with the two of us in one canoe and himself and Martin, the cameraman, in another. One-take videos are hard to pull off. You need a good idea. In this case, it also required René‘s very steady paddling.”
The cover photo was taken by fellow Vagabond Alain McFadden, backstage at Dublin’s National Concert Hall before the band’s biggest headline gig to date, in October 2019. The sleeve was designed by Brían and Diarmuid’s brother-in-law, Jesse Smith, whose fiddle playing was central to the sound of ‘The Hare’s Lament‘.
“We recorded both songs live within two or three takes. We’re delighted with this snapshot we got at the end of the Before Time.” – Brían Mac Gloinn, Ye Vagabonds.
‘I’m A Rover’ (Track 1) is available on all platforms now (29/01/21).
‘The Bothy Lads’ (Track 2) can be found exclusively on the 7” record.
Order the vinyl from River Lea/Rough Trade: https://tinyurl.com/y6ksy3mk
‘I’m A Rover’ on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4gCYrHbYgj9cFRRCYL7CHr?si=wJ0Y974zSzqN7Iv0R3If4g
Amy Ellen is part of the emerging Irish indie-folk scene. Hailing from Dublin, her music is inspired indie-folk artists such as Laura Marling and Fleetwood Mac.
Her new single ‘This Life’ is a coming of age pop-rock tune which conveys a sense of maturity and realisation that nothing good will last forever.
In Amy’s words, “The song is inspired by true-life events, it touches on losing and gaining people in your life and outlines that some moments become memories we cherish and reflect on. I feel that it’s a subject that everyone can relate to, sometimes we fail to see the impact others have on us until they are no longer present and vice versa.”
Instrumentally, the song features punchy 90’s rock elements, a contrast from Amy’s latest acoustic driven songs. This will be her fourth single leading up to an EP release expected later this year. ‘This Life’ is out on the 19th of February.
To mark the release, Amy will perform an exclusive live stream show on Saturday 20th February (8pm) in partnership with California based company High Plateau Productions. Tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite.
Evenbrite Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/amy-ellen-livestream-live-from-ireland-tickets-136627280875
Minister Catherine Martin has welcomed the BAI announcement of an open Sound and Vision funding round of €6.9m to support the production of content in the broadcasting, audio and audiovisual sector. This will incorporate ring-fenced funding that supports the live music sector.
Minister Martin, recognising the severe challenges faced by Irish musicians and the live music sector as a result of COVID-19, had asked the BAI to include a call for specific projects to support this sector in an open round of the Sound and Vision Scheme and provided €1.4m for this purpose.
Speaking today the Minister said: “I am delighted that the BAI is putting this round in place which will complement the other initiatives my department has already put in place to support the live music sector. Musicians, in a sector severely damaged by the pandemic, need opportunities to perform. These new broadcasting grants will give their music a platform, especially at a time when the public really miss going to concerts. I look forward to enjoying the projects that will be made possible through the additional funding and am delighted that the open round will significantly benefit independent producers and broadcasters at this difficult time.”
Details of the round are available at BAI.ie.