Starting from Silence

imageI’ve set myself a challenge to write a song that fits in with the type of songs you might hear being sung in the wee hours of the morning in a little cosy Irish pub. Last Friday I joined in on one of those such sing-songs and sang a couple of my own particular favourites such as ‘Grace’ and ‘Caledonia’ – songs that fit in perfectly with the crowd no matter their age. Songs that usually tell stories of places or events and never age.

Just two weeks ago, I had the joy and honour of spending a few hours with Irish composer Julie Feeney. She is a beautiful, bubbly person who spoke so openly to everyone at The Songwriter Club, giving up her time to tell people her stories about composing and her experiences in the music industry. One thing that stood out to me was her belief in writing from silence, something I’d never really challenged myself to do. So while I was out walking my dog Ollie last Sunday I gave it a try. And the result is a song called ‘Stephenstown’, which is named after the town land I was walking in. The tune and the lyrics came to me pretty much in unison although I had focused on getting the air first. Sometimes they come together and it’s half the battle when it does 🙂 I realised as I was walking in the sun that the various sounds around formed a beautiful soundtrack of their own even without visuals. I could hear sounds from the hurling match in the community sports field, people out in their gardens chatting and it genuinely felt like music to my ears.

“The clash of the ash as the home team attack……a man shouting words to inspire”

I decided on the key of A major and once I get back to the house I recorded my ideas on to my iPhone and took it from there. I have two verses and a chorus written and would like to write two more verses to complete it. I’ve concentrated a lot on painting pictures with the lyrics and less on chord sequences and hooks etc. I hope this is a song I can bring to those intimate sing-songs and have it fit right in with all the other beautiful songs that belong there!

Here’s a short clip of the song which I recorded on my iPhone at home earlier today. Hope you enjoy 🙂



A Grounded Return… #sRated

After such a long long break from blogging I’m delighted to be back on board! It’s a very exciting time for me and easily a time when it’s hard to stay grounded with all that’s going on but a good time to start filling you in on all that’s happening and the upcoming musical plans. At the moment I am planning my wedding so it’s all go, never mind the day to day running of being a self-employed musician and music teacher. This year also saw the launch of NCKIDS – a children’s chorus that I hope to establish as a really popular singing group over the coming years. I am really busy getting it off the ground and running their first singing camp this week so it’s a busy, busy start to NCKIDS… NCKIDS Facebook Page


Official Logo

And then there’s my next EP. Just thinking about recording it this Summer gives me butterflies, such is the desire to release and perform my own music again. It’s been 3 yeas since I’ve worked on recording and releasing my music as an artist and that time has been hugely beneficial to me. I’ll explain more in posts to come but for today I just wanted to say hello after such a long break from blogging. It’s a lovely morning here in the wee county so off out for a walk. So from me, my green tea and my home grown daffodils have a lovely Sunday and I look forward to sharing the events of all things musical, marriage and no doubt some madness along the way!! 

Good to be back xx 


Quite literally ‘Unearthed’ – #sRated #nafianna #irishmusic

If you have ever been to a gig where your feet and legs start to take on lives of their own, tapping and moving uncontrollably, a little like Michael Flately has just morphed his way into your lower half then you will understand the absolute energy that kicked in at the launch of Irish band Na Fianna ‘s new album #Unearthed.

Thanks to Hotpress I was lucky enough to get an invite for myself and a guest to attend the launch last Wednesday night at the Opium Rooms, Wexford Street. It started off at 6pm with outside entertainment by The Hit Machine Drummers – they were unreal. Talk about getting the energy levels going. Anyways, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from the evening and even though I had heard of Na Fianna, I didn’t really know what I was going to experience.

What I did experience was well beyond my expectations. These guys are on the pulse when it comes to bringing those classic Irish songs that must never be lost to a whole other level. They look just as good as they sound and have a great selection of instruments and vocals between them. Their  original stuff was really great too but hearing songs like ‘Step it out Mary’  done with such class and cleverness is where they will excel against any bands that are out there getting gigs, jamming out the big ballads and old favourites. There’s an edge to how they do it and as someone who loves playing trad piano with a twist and writing songs that include classical and trad fusions, I really appreciated the way they presented the songs.

If I was to call it, I’d say they are going to be huge all over the world. Keep an eye and ear out for them. It’s great to see old Irish music being pumped up and energised the way they do it! They release their album #Unearthed today. Here’s the link if you would like to go get it! Unearthed Album Link

Studio Stings and Stairways – #sRated

As I typically do on a recording day, I made myself late with excitement. Yesterday was my first day back in the studio since last December to build some content for online marketing, demo a new track and get the ball rolling on what’s coming up for release in the next few months!! Days in the studio remind me of the days in primary school when I waited months for the school tour to come around, planning my outfit and the filling for my sambo’s and of course collecting money to spend on sweets and presents in the novelty shop at the end of the tour! With all that prepared, I’d wake up way too early and spend the morning flapping around with excitement only to realise I had just five minutes to be at the school gates, dressed, washed and packed!!


After a delayed start, we got cracking on stings for It’s a bit surreal hearing my music on their radio ads that are currently running on LMFM and NorthernSound but I am so proud everytime I hear the ads come on! After that, we made a showreel of a selection of the music I have recorded and released to date, which is really handy to have for online marketing and showcasing my work up to now. It’s actually lovely to hear short snippets of the songs back to back and reminds me how much work has gone on up to this point in my career. I’d advise any artist to do that just for a little boost as well as it being a very useful soundbyte.

Finally we worked on a demo of a song that I have co-written with a girl in America who I have never met personally but we connected online and decided to try working together. The song is called ‘Standing Right Here’. Lynda wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music. It’s exciting working out of my comfort zone. The song is not something I would write for myself or sing myself so I’m working in a very different way, quite a methodical way asking questions like what sort of vocalist would suit the sentiment of the track, what genre will it sit into best, where do we position it etc.

First thing I did was put down the guide piano track. Played it fairly well and thought, that didn’t take long, I’m happy with that only for Martin the studio engineer and producer to tell me that my intro came pretty close to being a rip off of Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven both melodically and in chord sequence! Well that was the end of that intro and it was a case of re-writing on the spot. I was more annoyed with myself for not spotting the similarities! A risky little business this songwriting is!!

Other than that near miss, it was great to be back in my own little sweet shop and of course now I have the bug back so badly that I’m just waiting on confirming my dates to record a new track for release in October/November. I’ll leave you with the track that I had a very close shave with.. Enjoy and chat soon!

Stairway to Heaven

‘Dance With Me’ in Greece!! #sRated

Dance With Me in Greece!

Dance With Me in Greece!

Every so often I hear of couples who have chosen ‘Dance With Me’ for their wedding ceremony or reception. This week, I know of a couple who got married in Greece and chose it as a song for their ceremony. Things like that blow my mind a little. It’s a song I wrote in 2009 and officially released it in 2011. It did very well on it’s release getting lots of airplay on stations throughout Ireland as well as getting a live interview on The Morning Show on TV3 and a slot on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1. A lot of the appeal was that Ireland was pretty much in a depressed state and there is a lot of love and hope in the song.. “through the darkness we’ll find our way back into the light.”

Dance With Me Official Music Video

The song is very personal to me and it’s lovely to be able to share it in a way that it becomes a very special part of another person’s life and especially on a day as important and significant as a wedding day. I am really honoured that it has this way of fitting into other people’s lives, sometimes without me knowing. That’s why I love writing so much. The songs can live out there forever floating around, doing their thing!

Every once in a while it’s nice to give them a little push again and find ways to gain some momentum for a few weeks or months. Over the next few weeks, I am going to dedicate some time to this song to see what I can achieve with it. I’ll keep you posted on what I find, things that work, things that don’t and make an #sRated report on what I managed to do!

Let’s Get This Party Started!! #irishmusicparty 

 So a few weeks ago I got a text from a friend in the music industry about #irishmusicparty, a new Twitter community for Irish musicians/writers/performers etc. It’s pretty much open to everyone who would like to chat about anything to do with music and I really wanted to give it a spot here on my blog! 

Being such a tough and cut throat industry, it can be very difficult to really get to know our peers or even just support one another. It can feel like an isolated place at times with everyone competing for the same recognition and success. Fact is that the more we all come together, recognising what other artists have to offer and their talents we can actually all benefit from that kind of mutual respect. It also leads to opportunities to collaborate, opportunities to take part in different events and most importantly creating a strong sense of community among us.. It’s a flippin hard industry to work in, we should be able to chat with each other about it and find ways to help change things that may need changing and chat about the things that work. The industry is so different to how it was when I was a teenager and that’s a good thing because there seems to be more space out there for all of us, so many new ways to create and build our careers however far we want to take them… Keeping the chat going and getting to know each other better is brilliant and I’m delighted to have been introduced to @irishmusicparty on Twitter! The party starts at 9pm every Monday and continues until 11pm with growing numbers every week!! Get involved if you want to introduce your music or your music business, or even if you just want to discover new music. 
Follow them here: Irish Music Party

#sRated Recording DIY Style! 


It’s FINALLY a bright, sunny morning here in Ireland! I’m on day three of a pretty miserable cold that hit me hard on Monday and knocked me for six. It’s one of the worst things about being self employed! You push yourself as far as you can go because you kinda have to. Ain’t no such thing as a paid sick day! 
Anyways, the point of this mornings bright and sunny post despite the sneezing is to tell you that I finally started to do something I should have done on day 1 of my music career. My good DJ buddy Dave O’Connor has been shouting down my ear for years about setting myself up to do some pretty decent home recording but I just never really took it that seriously and kept putting it on the long finger. I wish I hadn’t but I’m starting now and would like to share some of my experiences as I go through the process of buying items and recording.. Maybe my experiences will be useful to someone along the way! 

First up I was told, is to invest in a really good mic and the Rode NT1a had been suggested to me many times. There are lots out there but at €189 brand new on Thomann Ireland it’s a decent price and won’t break the bank. I did a little scan for one on the private seller sites and found a guy up the road selling his for €130 – “barely used” the ad said so fingers crossed! I offered him €110 so I’m hoping that for the €80 savings it will be a good buy! I’ll keep you posted!! 

Apparently the next not so expensive step is to purchase a pre-amp! I might as well be looking into a ditch as to knowing what exactly they do but it’s my job now to find out and buy myself one! 

I’m happy that I finally got a move on in setting myself up to home record. While nothing beats the real experience, it’s ridiculous that I am not  doing all my demos and basic productions myself here at home. Got the ball rolling now at least and I’ll share my experiences of it along the #sRated way!