8 weeks to go……

In just under eight weeks, I will release a new song and video called ‘My Silent Night’. If the truth be told, I am nervous as hell. For me, releasing music has always been a huge buzz of anticipation, excitement and of course nerves but this time it’s a bit different. I’ve been out of the action for a number of years now and music has been put on the back-burner so I could concentrate on a very important part of my life; having a family.

Well, as you are about to see in a few weeks time, this part of my life has been incredibly difficult and is ongoing…

In the meantime, I made the decision to get my musical heart pumping again. Not for the purpose of making money or securing wonderful opportunities, although they are always welcomed. More so that it might save me from losing the complete run of myself in sadness. As a teenager, I always used my sessions sitting at the piano after school as therapy sessions. I played, I composed, I dreamed and I healed. And whatever it is that music does for me, it gets me out of some pretty big, aching holes. It made things better then and it makes things better now.

And while I know this returning first release won’t be described in the reviews as ‘joyous’ or ‘celebratory’, for me it really is something to celebrate. It’s brave, it’s honest and it’s important. Breaking my silence about something so sensitive isn’t easy but it will be worth it. It will allow me to move forward musically by letting the sadness out, hopefully making a difference in some people’s lives and it will give me the freedom to move forward in my music, whatever the outcome of my family hopes and dreams are!

Here’s to many years of music.. happy, sad or indifferent. xx

Night is to see the dreams and day is to make them true. So its good toeep now and see the dreams. Good Night!

PS. Anyone who wishes to contact me in relation to upcoming projects, please just drop me a line: nallymusicproduction@gmail.com

 

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In the land of Tír na nÓg…

Unless you are Irish, you probably won’t have heard about ‘Tír na nÓg’. Meaning ‘land of the young’ ‘Tír na nÓg’ is a Celtic otherworld and in our primary school history lessons we learn about this beautiful land in the western sea. People who lived here never grew old and there is a particular love story about a boy called Oisín and a girl called Niamh.

Oisin

Oisin agus Niamh

 

In July 2015, I went to an album launch by a Irish band called ‘Na Fianna’. It was one of the most enjoyable gigs I have ever been to. Four excellent musicians performing re-vamped and original arrangements of Irish songs and tunes and they absolutely blew the crowd away. I for one came away from that gig with a re-ignited love for songs I hadn’t thought of for a while. I also had my ears caressed by a beautiful new song ‘Ballad of Oisín’ and it very quickly became one of my new favourite songs. I did a bit of digging and discovered it was written by Irish singer/songwriter Don Mescall. I shared it with everyone I met and most of them also became fans. So, here I am on the 14th August 2019 at Jam Studios in Kells with my good friends Brendan Duignan, Roisin Crawley and Eibhlin Dowdall recording our version of the song!

The three girls of the band formed ‘Skylark’ in March this year. While we all know each other really well and have played at many events together over the years, we had never formally played as a group with a name. We believe there is a space in the market for what we do which is ultimately a fusion of different genres with a trad/folk sound given the nature of the instruments; fiddle x2, flute, whistles of all keys, shapes and sizes and then myself on piano tradding it out or rocking it up!! We have a lot of fun and hopefully that will come across to our audiences in our gigs.

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Skylark in flight!

Everyone of us, including Brendan who joined us in studio this week, knows the power of music to heal and to energise. We’ve all faced major personal challenges over the past few years and the one force that really supports us through everything is music. Ultimately this is why we play, why we sing, why we do this.. Hopefully through our recordings, gigs and collaborations over the coming years, ‘Skylark’ will help you find your ‘Tír na nÓg’ even if it’s only just for a couple of hours!

For more info contact Sinéad: nallymusicproduction@gmail.com

 

 

 

Originality and how falling out with my own music made me appreciate it more!

So what do Groucho Marx, a difficult drumming score and CRAZY eye-lashes have in common? Well, somehow or another their paths crossed in a small, two bedroomed house on the east coast of Ireland in 2011, when I set out to create something original! 🤔

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Music ‘originality’ is highly questionable. After all, there are only 8 notes in an octave and 12 keys to choose from. On top of that there are fundamental rules about how we move around those keys and notes. So inevitably, music is repeated and copied and repeated and copied and repeated and copied…. Most music we listen to reminds us of another song or piece of music we listened to, so being TRULY original is very, very difficult.

I released ‘Moody Blues‘ in February 2011 and I was super proud of it. It did very well for me and received lots of praise and radio play, becoming a very popular choice on morning radio for its’ energy and message. However, less than 3 years later, I actually didn’t want to perform it anymore. I was a little embarrassed by it. The cynic that had begun developing in me was not, excuse the pun ‘in the mood’ for it anymore. It was a little too cheesy for my liking and it hadn’t opened any ‘serious’ doors for me. Embarrassed as I am to say it, I didn’t care for it anymore and I left it out of many if not most performances.

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Fast forward 7 years and naturally life has changed me. It changes everyone year by year, experience after experience. My focus on ‘serious’ doors opening for me and being levitated into music industry fame pissed off about 2 years ago thank God, when real life came along and bit me in the butt a few times. Life softened me, despite facing some of my hardest moments and eventually I remembered to look at the whole, sweet, glorious picture.

I had become a musician who forgot the importance of being a creator. I had become a musician who depended on likes and shares and being ‘cool’. As much as I tried not to be musically driven by what people liked and what 2FM or Today FM were playing, I tried to be part of that gang. I burned out trying to fit in. Last night funnily enough, I had a dream about meeting a group of girls who I went to secondary school with. And guess what, they were the same bunch of assholes in the dream as they were in secondary school. Only, this time I was SO relieved not to be part of their gang.

Somehow or another, Groucho Marx, a crazy set of eyelashes and a nifty little drumming score were put together because I had ideas. Musical ones, lyrical ones, visual ones. And with a determination to see that vision through, ‘Moody Blues‘ came to life. Of course someone has already sung some of the lyrics and there are lots of chord progressions and melodies that have been played a million times before but the way in which those elements are presented and arranged because of the vision behind it are what make it original. Anyone can reproduce something that’s already done by changing it up a bit but originality lies in the commitment to a new way of presenting and arranging the musical content.

<I’m very proud of the song despite there being things about it that aren’t all that ‘cool’ anymore or ever maybe 😮 Because art is really just a moment in time, original because of the creator not because of the tools. Credit to Martin Quinn in Jam Studios for his incredible ability to produce and understand my mad ideas in studio and the very generous team behind the video production who survived on tea and crisp sandwiches. Finally to the beautiful venue that is Darver Castle in Co.Louth for letting us use their home and venue for our fun and games.

Thank you, chat soon x

Nally in Wonderland

 

NALLY Illustration

Nally in Wonderland – Photo and Design by Paul Connolly Digital Artist

So here’s what happens when a songwriter with some crazy ideas meets a digital artist with the talent to make those ideas come to life! I wanted my 2017 images to be really imaginative and full of colour. I came across Paul’s work early last year and really loved how he could take a regular image and transform into into a magical, wondrous version of itself. So I knew he was the right person to work with on the new imagery and couldn’t be happier with the outcome..

 

The image captures so many elements of what I do and what I’m about and it gives me the chance to showcase ‘NALLY’, in the quirky, fun and creative way that I would like to be perceived.

Big shout out to everyone involved in this project. Paul and his lovely partner Alma and the beautiful Aoife Rogers Makeup Artist. Go check out their work.

Hope you like the new look… XX

“The soundtrack of my deepest fears.” Why now was the right time to release my new single. #NALLY

nally-mysilentnight-1450pxLet me introduce you to ‘My Silent Night’, a song I wrote a few years ago but was waiting on the right time to release it. The song was three quarters of the way through the production stage when I pressed pause on it. That was November 2013 and I was exhausted. I didn’t have the energy or interest to release the new songs I had begun writing and producing so I put everything on hold and trusted that I’d know when the time was right for me to release the song.

Fast forward three more years and with a renewed energy and a deeper sense of understanding of myself, I am happy and proud to share ‘My Silent Night’ with you. It’s an eerie little song, definitely a lot more moodier and ambient than my previous singles. It’s inspired by the traditional ‘Silent Night’ that we all know. I thought it would be cool to take the idea and structure of the original and create something alternative, something dark. The song begins with whispering. I actually recorded myself saying ‘You’re not good enough’ backwards, which was good fun even though it was tricky. The producer Martin Quinn then decided to reverse that phrase again to really mess things up. Recording this song was so much fun. I didn’t want to create something for radio, I just wanted to create something that was totally me and to my surprise it all came out a little off centre and a lot less mainstream. I have to say, I’m very happy with that. Creating easily digestible, popular music to get on the radio is fine in the case where someone asks you to write a catchy hook or phrase that stays with the listener for hours, days maybe. But I just wanted to make something that was interesting to me. Maybe it’s the music nerd in me. I’m happy to know the little secrets behind the various layers of the music. Even if no-one else gets it, I do and I’m more than happy to share the detail with anyone who asks. It may all seem a little selfish but I wanted to be able to stand over my new releases and say, yes as weird and wacky as it may be, they were my choices and my preferences.

My first few years releasing music taught me I could handle the mainstream stuff. I know how to put together a good pop song. But as an artist in my own right ie. NALLY, I didn’t want to do that anymore. Plus let’s not beat around the bush here, I’m a lot older now. When I made my first EP, I was 27 and then at 30 I left my job to focus on writing and releasing music. I’m now 37 and while I don’t see that as a bad thing, I am inevitably more aware of who I am as a songwriter and also as an artist. I deliberately separate the two now. In the beginning, it was all the one; an experiment in music.

Before signing off, I’d just like to explain what ‘My Silent Night’ means for me. I already explained that I pressed pause on releasing it in 2013 when it was well into the production stages. While I had gone through a tough few years up until then with short bouts of burnout and depression, the song never felt more attached to me as it did when I found out this year that my body wasn’t exactly working efficiently enough for me to have children without the help of specialists. It took months for the news to sink in and while I am still a long way from understanding how I feel about it, I know that my whole identity took a knock. The one role in life that we feel is a given, a certainty, a role we put off stepping into while we define ourselves in our careers.. All of a sudden, I hadn’t a clue who I was or what I was meant to do. And that is exactly what ‘My Silent Night’ stands for. It will mean something different for other people and that’s great. I love that about music. But for me personally it’s about my identity and the if’s and buts I now have in my life since I got that news. Some fears are temporary and some last much longer. I am a very positive person in life but I also learned over the years that we need to honour all our emotions, sit with them and accept that they are there so that we can find a way to feeling better in ourselves.

And here my friends is my musical take on what those fears and anxieties sound and feel like. Hope you enjoy… (this is a free link to listen to the track but if you would like to support it further, you can purchase it on iTunes for 99cent or any good digital stores. Stream it on Spotify, Apple Music etc) Links below..

MY SILENT NIGHT – SOUNDCLOUD LINK

PS. Have a close look at the artwork. Maybe now that you know the background, the contents of the image will make sense.

PURCHASE ON ITUNES:

STREAM ON SPOTIFY:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Fantasies #NALLY

So today, I had my first meeting with the photographer I am going to be working with for my re-branding images. Paul is a digital artist who I discovered on Instagram. I was immediately drawn to his work because I love the way he can take a shot of a regular image and transform it into something more fantastical and surreal.

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St. Peters Tin Church at Laragh by Paul Connolly

We took a look at my Pinterest boards where I keep hundreds of images I love and discussed how we could use them to create something unique to me. The images below are two of the images that I have really been inspired by. (Image caption credits photographers, external links at bottom of article)

As I explained to Paul, I want to create something quite fantasy like, like a character version of myself. Having worked for 6 years in the music industry, I know how intense and overwhelming it can become. I just want to have fun and enjoy the visual aspects of the music projects as much as the aural. It’s so important to have a real sense of adventure and to just go with that. I don’t want to be afraid or worried about what people think. Everything about the next few releases represents freedom and empowerment to be whoever you want to be.

The next stage is to discuss the shoot ideas with the make-up artist, work out costs and finalise a date and I will post regular updates on how each part of the process is coming along! Finally, during the process of sifting through Pinterest for images that stand out to me, I was delighted to discover the work of a lady called ‘Mary Katrantzou‘. She is a Greek designer with absolutely stunning creations. I’m off now to have a proper browse through her work! Chat soon folks and thanks for being part of the adventures!!

Photographer Links:

Paul Connolly Digital Artist

Huainan Li Behance

Garjan Atwood

Trying out the Trad #NALLY

trad fiddleAround 10 years ago, I was playing a lot of Irish traditional music, in seisiúns and with friends etc in my local town of Dundalk. I decided to try and write some ‘tunes’ even though I didn’t know if there were any rules or do’s and dont’s when it came to writing in this style. So I just went for it. I decided on jigs in 3/4 time and I called them ‘July Jigs‘ (click to hear them)  I was very nervous playing them in front of the pro’s – the musicians who are out there every week playing polkas, slides, reels and jigs etc but they went down well and nobody refused to play them so I suppose that was a good sign 🙂

On Friday night next, I will be playing them again for the first time in many, many  years and I feel a little bit more confident this time round. I’ve lost some of that shyness and have decided to embrace that whatever I create should have a chance to be heard, liked or disliked!! I am busy rehearsing them this week and I am so looking forward to being joined by lots of musicians on the night, including a great flute player and piper Patrick Martin who will also play the uileann pipes on an air I wrote called ‘This Heart‘. I will also be performing a new ballad called ‘Stephenstown‘. It’s all in aid of Louth Hospice and the night is being hosted by The Crawley Family, who are a super talented group of musicians from Gyles Quay. Tickets are already sold out so it’s looking like a great night of music for a great cause!

Here’s a short video of me preparing the jigs for Friday night’s gig 🙂

Trying out the Trad