Last month I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel to Kansas City to showcase at Folk Alliance International! Thanks Arts Council NI 🙂
What fun was had..11 showcases in 4 days, lots of throat coat tea, very little sleep, many laughs, hilarious stories, 7 eleven mishaps (what happens in KC stays in KC 😉 the best cinnamon swirl i’ve ever had, bowls of coffee, amazing music and even better friends.
I met so many wonderful people including the great bunch of artists over with Culture Ireland and had the most interesting conversations in the wee hours of the morning.
Check out the spotify playlist I put together with all the artists I discovered over the week!
I’ve just returned from my sixth trip to Nashville! How did that happen?! The last two years have flown by and I never would’ve believed i’d be having such a love affair with a city full of Cowboy Boots and Stetsons…
Music City is of course much more than that and I have to say I’ve met some of the nicest most welcoming friends in that city!
Thank you Nashville!!
So what took me over there this April? First of all I was lucky enough to attend The Nashville Film Festival. I know what you’re thinking…why a film festival and not music?!
Well all those amazing soundtracks from your favourite films are made up of lots of cool Indie songs as well as big budget scoring and there is definitely a real need for independent music for synchronisation (the fancy name for matching a song to moving picture).
It is however a very competitive field so my goal for this trip was to meet some Music Supervisors (the important people that get your music to the ears of the film directors and producers) and learn some tips and tricks that I could put to good use and hopefully bring some opportunities my way. It was great, I learnt a lot and met some really nice people who like my music so we’ll see what happens..Just gotta keep riding this wave!
Another goal was to get writing more. Co-writing is a big thing in Nashville and i’m really enjoying it. Its so different from writing alone but I would recommend any songwriter to try it. Magic can happen in that little writing room when two creative minds with different perspectives on life come together..
I got to experience some incredible things as a result of these writing sessions and one was to record a demo of a new song in the famous Cowboy Arms Recording Studio. Once the home of Producer/Songwriter Jack Clement, this studio has seen people such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, John Prine and U2 through its doors to record. It was very cool watching the documentary about the studio realising I was sitting exactly where Johnny Cash was some 20 years before.
I had some wonderful co-writes during this trip and the title of this post is inspired by a song I wrote on my 2nd last day with two fantastic writers James Elliott and Carter Harrell. I had stored the title ‘The Invisible Thread’ in my song ideas, not really knowing what it meant at the time. We decided to work on this idea and the ‘Invisible Thread’ became that which connects us all in this world! No matter our gender, race, nationality, political opinion, age etc we are all the same; just blood and bones and we all feel similar emotions..Joy, fear, anger, trust, envy etc
I’ve been very lucky to have travelled quite a bit in my life from Iceland to Japan, Thailand to Norway and beyond. Its always struck me even when lost in translation, a smile is the same in every language. That small thing connects us all and will take you far. Trust in the knowledge that the world as big and as scary as it may seem, will take care of you. So get out there and explore, meet new people, live outside your comfort zone and go and follow whatever crazy dream you might have no matter what others think. Those are the things you’ll remember at the end!
I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit more about my journey 🙂
Be sure to add your email address to my mailing list (Click on the B&W image) i’ve been recording lots of new music recently and over the next while i’ll be sharing some brand new music to my subscribers.
Also if you’re on Facebook you can like my page here and follow my tweets here.
I also want to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for supporting this trip as well. Their continued support over the last few years means everything! What a great bunch!!!
Next month I have some fabulous gigs i’m very excited to play! The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival is happening again 1st-5th March and i’ll be playing a show called ‘Songs from the Heart’ with the North’s finest female singer songwriters.
The next week is at the Oh Yeah Centre, a brilliant music hub in Belfast. I’ll be the featured artist for their first ‘Getting to know..’ series of 2017. So i’ll be interviewed on stage and then will sing some songs and talk about them with audience participation! I think this will be really fun, I love hearing about other songwriters songwriting process so anyone interested in this, in my experiences in Nashville, what i’ve learnt over the years come along! It’s free 🙂
After this I’ll be joining the awesome Ben Glover for two shows on his UK/Ire tour. Ben is a class act, he relocated to Nashville a few years back and is blazing trails with his superb albums ‘Atlantic’ and the most recent ‘The Emigrant’ I’m so excited to play these shows with him!
I’ve also been back in the studio recording with the musical ninja Michael Mormecha at Millbank Studios. It’s going really well and loving what we’ve done so far! I’ll be sharing bits and pieces over the next while so be share to join the mailing list for updates!
So its that time of year again, where we make all these grand gestures for the coming year.. to exercise more, drink more water, stop smoking..whatever your vice may be..mine is chocolate…(I’ll never quit)
I do like to spend an evening at this time though to look back at the previous year, all the things that went well and the things that didn’t and write out some goals that I can work toward in the new year.
I think goals are important and knowing what you don’t want is as valid as knowing what you do want! Definitely one thing I learnt in 2016!
On a personal and music level 2016 was really good to me. I did a lot and am proud of what I achieved..I released my first album, got lots of radio play including BBC6 music, spent more time in Nashville, played some amazing gigs at home and stateside and I wrote some great songs that i’m really proud of but..as with life..nothing is perfect.
After my last trip to Nashville in November I came home exhausted, deflated, and hurtin’ inside and out.
The music industry is overwhelming and at times feels like you’re climbing Everest..Sometimes you feel you’re almost at base camp and then you feel like you haven’t even left the car park..
To give myself and my mind a much needed break I decided to take the month of December off from music..no writing, recording, performing..I didn’t even really listen to music either..except for hearing Mariah Carey warbling about 10 times every day..(love ya Mariah <3)
But being the eternal optimist that I am, the little break did me the world of good and i’m pleased to report i’m ready and raring to get back to it and get started with the new year.
2017 is gonna be a good one..lots of gigs at home over the next few months and then back to Nashville in April, London in May and maybe a wee holiday somewhere special in the summer..
I’ve also been in the studio recently with producer Michael Mormecha and the new songs sound class!!! So so happy with them..different from the first album but still has that moody dark feel which I love!
I’ll be continuing to work on the new recordings over the next few months so I may release an EP this year if I can’t wait for an album but will keep you all up to date with that, i’ll also let you hear a sneak peek of something i’m working on very soon!
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say THANKYOU to everyone who supported me last year either through buying my music, sharing a video, sending a sweet message or giving me advice! It is SO appreciated and keeps me carrying on with this crazy adventure.
Also a really special thanks goes to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland who helped me achieve so much last year and the Nashville angel herself Jewel Coburn for guiding me through this industry storm intact..we’ve got a long road to go 🙂
I’ll leave this here but I hope you all achieve your goals this year and get further along whatever path you wish to take!
If you’d like to keep up to date please subscribe to the mailing list above and if you’ve got Facebook give my page a wee like here
Nashville is starting to feel like a second home 🙂
First up at the start of March was the annual BelNash festival which has been SO good to me the past year.
I played a couple songs at the filming of a TV show called ‘Music City Roots – Belfast to Nashville’ this will be broadcast in Oct 2016 on PBS (into 60 million American homes.. yikes!!)
It was such a lovely night and I also got to hear and talk with the wonderful Jim Lauderdale and Iain Archer. Heres a little photo from the night
The night after, I launched my debut album ‘The Ebony Trail’ also at the BelNash festival. Such a beautiful night, I was delighted with the launch. I baked cupcakes and the room was full capacity with lots of new faces and also my friends and family. Thank you so much for coming and for all the good wishes. And a special thanks to my friend John for playing double bass on the night..He adds so much darkness to the songs!!
After a couple days to recover I headed off to Nashville with a bunch of Irish songwriters! What a week we had..So much ‘Craic’ (the Irish kind 😉 was had. Everyday we had meetings with industry professionals such as Publishers, Management companies etc and we played some amazing gigs including Music City Irish Fest, Curb Cafe at Belmont Uni, Music City Roots and The Bluebird Cafe. I had the best time and learnt ALOT! Everyone was so talented and each had a totally different style so it was great hearing them play every night and learning from everyone. Thanks once again to The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Colin and Anne from Panarts for giving us the opportunity.
At the end of the week everyone headed off home while I stayed on for another couple weeks to get some co-writing in! I wrote so many songs during this time some of which my publishers are very excited about so fingers crossed something good will happen!
I had such a lovely time writing, hanging out with the little kitties (Kosmo and Pipi) I was cat sitting for and meeting up with friends for some great times including some fantastic gigs..Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers and Sam Palladio (‘Gunnar’ from the Nashville TV show).
I just love this place, I meet new friends every time I come and find new amazing things to do!
But for now i’m back home in Ireland where the grass is green and the sky is blue (for a change 🙂 I’ve already organised my return to ‘Music City’ for June. Not long to go..Yay!
I’ll leave you here for now but i’ll be back soon with an update on all things album related including my next single which will be ‘The Ebony Trail’
It’s been a busy time recently as I have just released the first single from my upcoming debut album ‘The Ebony Trail’.
The single is ‘Ghosts’ and here is the animated video for the track created by the wonderful Ashling Lindsay .
It has been getting lots of great feedback all over the radio-waves with airplay in Ireland both North and South and even on London’s BBC Radio 6 Music on the Tom Robinson Mixtape. It was also chosen as a ‘Fresh Fave’ on ‘Fresh on the net’ last week picked out of around 150 songs.
Support like this makes all the sleepless nights, hours of computer work and hours of recording and writing all worthwhile. It’s a tough business this music malarkey..but I can’t imagine not doing it!
This week is the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and I will be playing two gigs. One on Friday night which is in the Empire Music Hall and is a live recording of a TV show called Music City Roots. The show will be broadcast into 60 million US homes in October 2016 on the American channel PBS. No pressure!!
On Saturday i’ll be launching my album 😀
Delighted to be launching it at The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival as these guys have been big supporters of mine and have given me some great opportunities including…another trip to Nashville!!
Hope everyone is having a brilliant lead up to Christmas!!
Can’t believe this year is coming to an end..and what a year it has been!
I’ve just returned from Nashville and I have so many photos and news to share with you all..so here goes…
Just before I left for Nashville I got word that I received the ACES award (Artist Career Enhancement) from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI). So grateful for this! And the perfect send off before heading off on my American adventure.
This award means so much as the support will really help further my career and allow me to release my album, make music videos, return to Nashville in 2016 and much more!
Thank you ACNI 🙂
Soo I left Ireland with a big smile on my face and arrived in Nashville tired but very happy.
Here was my little home for the next month
After sleeping off my Jet Lag I tuned the guitar up and got to work!
I even had this little lady bird helping me with lyrics
This was the most special night. The Bluebird cafe is everything people say and more. The audience were lovely and the other songwriters in the round were insanely talented! Loved every moment! Thank you Eleven Eleven Music Group for having me 🙂
Other gigs included another fun Eleven Eleven night in Douglas Corner Cafe.
A house concert
and Hotel Indigo
Ahhh they were all great, thanks to all the friends, new and old, I met along the way.
Lots of co-writing and demo’s were recorded during my time in Nashville and you will be hearing the results of these sessions soon… 😉
I had such a fun, busy, productive time and some of my songs have already been pitched to American artists and American TV/Film, very exciting! Watch this space!
I learnt so much and have arrived home inspired and ready to write and organise my next trip to Nashville. It is a beautiful city, with amazing people and incredible talent. How could you not be inspired?!
When I arrived home my local newspaper The Portadown Times included a lovely article about my trip, the ACES award and whats coming next..
So what is next?!
Finish Christmas Shopping!!! EEkk
Seriously though there are lots of fun, exciting things coming up next year including another trip to Nashville and the launch of my debut album at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. This festival has supported and helped me out so much. Make sure to get tickets for next year 2nd-6th March!!
So please stick around for the next stage of this crazy journey with me!!
I’ll leave you with my favourite things this month:
Christmas!! Lots of food, presents, family time, watching Home Alone for the hundredth time..whats not to love!
The Martian – I’ve just finished this book and I LOVED it!! Am dying to see the film now.
Glen Hansard – What a legend this man is. I’ve been a fan for years and I was at his Belfast show last weekend. He just keeps getting better and better!!
Chocolate Chip shortbread and tea…Yummm!!
Yankee Candles..I am such a candle freak..In Nashville I bought loads to make my room feel more like home. The ‘fireside’ scent is the best!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and peaceful New Year.
Its October!!! How did that happen?! Hope everyone is keeping well and had a lovely summer. Been a while since I updated this blog so here goes…
In just over a week i’m heading back to Nashville 😀
This time i’ll be staying for a whole month..I have some amazing co-writes and shows lined up including The legendary Bluebird Cafe on Nov 18th and Douglas Corner on Nov 11th.
I’m so excited about these opportunities and absolutely love Nashville so I can’t wait to get back over. There isn’t a music industry in Northern Ireland so in order to get my music heard elsewhere it’s important to take a leap and go. It’s not easy going off on your own to a new place without really knowing anybody, but I definitely recommend it. The magic in life lies outside your comfort zone! So go for it!!!
I’m also going to be in America for my very first Thanksgiving!! I’m heading to Baton Rouge in Louisiana to spend it with my family there..Can’t wait!
Since my last post i’ve played some lovely gigs
And this coming Saturday..Halloween night i’m playing my first show in Ballymena for The Braid Real Music Club. Can’t wait to play this show as i’ll be playing a bunch of new songs. Go to the link above for tickets!
I’ve also been back in the studio at Millbank (a great wee independent studio in Lisburn) recording some instrumentals for some publishing work. I’ll hopefully be able to tell you more about that soon 🙂
Apart from that its been writing writing writing! I love the studio and can’t wait to bring my new songs in and let you all hear what i’ve been working on!
I’ll finish this off with a few of my favourite things at the moment:
The Autumn!! This is my favourite season..the colours, the crunchy leaves, wrapping up in a big comfy scarf, hot chocolate, candles burning..Bliss!
The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, this book focuses on gratitude and not taking your life for granted. Might not be everyones cup of tea but i’m really enjoying it.
Burning House by CAM. I’ve just recently heard of this Nashville based artist and I love her voice and songwriting. This song is beautiful.
Tunesmith-Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb..This is a great book about songwriting that someone recommended to me. Its an interesting read if your a songwriter!
Frank. I finally got round to watching this movie the other day..Its about a musician who joins a pop band fronted by an eccentric guy wearing a giant fake head. It sounds really weird but its great! Check it out!
So that’s all for now folks..If you want to keep up to date, subscribe above and join me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! The next post will probably be from Nashville. See ya’ll on the other side! 🙂 xx
Well its been exactly a month since I returned from ‘Music City’ Nashville! Its hard to believe..feels so much longer than that!
Things have been quiet on the music front recently as I have been battening down the hatches and working on new songs, having trips to the sea (and Morocco) and hanging out with my wee nephews!
I’ll be returning to Nashville in November to work with some more songwriters (I’m really enjoying the co-writing) and also to explore some publishing opportunities which is really exciting. Watch this space for more news on that.
Check out the gig section for news of my summer gigs! Some fun stuff coming up so be sure to say Hi if you see me about!
I’ll leave you for now with a little list of my favourite things at the moment! Here goes!
1. The curious incident of the dog in the night-time- Amazing book, great for a summer read!
2. Amy- Documentary exploring the life of Amy Winehouse. So moving and boy what a talent!
3. Instagram!! I’ve finally created my own account and I love it..check it out over here ->
4. Summer Smoothies! I’m addicted to them but they’re healthy so its all good! 🙂
5. Music- SOAK and Marika Hackman are on constant repeat in the car!