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

NCKIDS

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 

  

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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

‘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!

#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! 

‘MATTHEWS TAKE YOU THERE’ – My first company song!! #sRated

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So after months and months of waiting to share the news with you, I can finally reveal that I have written my first ever company song for Irish transport and tour operator Matthews.ie!!!

http://MATTHEWS.IE

I was delighted that at the end of 2013 Paddy Matthews CEO of the company, asked me to write a song for them. I was a little scared to be honest, simply because of the nature of the song he wanted. It had to showcase the company services and sentiments and also include the company name. Now, as anyone who writes songs or poems know.. rhyme whether it’s in your face or barely recognisable, some words are nearly impossible to use. The vibe and momentum of the word and how it moves and fits into the song and with the music is also a massive factor. Anyways, without boring you, the point is that ‘Matthews’ is a very difficult word to fit into a lyrical sentence!! 🙂 I wrote a blog post at the time describing my experience of writing to brief, which you can read here: https://sineadmcnally.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/do-these-briefs-fit/

But I decided to give writing the company song a shot and after a few days of pulling my hair out and revisiting lots of different ideas, Matthews Take You There finally came together!! It is being launched on May 7th in Dundalk in conjunction with the company’s 20th anniversary, alongside another project that I have worked on with Matthews.ie called the ‘Matthews Arts Showcase’ and it deserves a whole blog post of it’s own, which will be posted soon!

Matthews Take You There Song and Video

Website Revamp!! #sRated

http://sineadmcnally.com/

With everything that’s happening at the moment, including a whole new outlook on the music end of things, it was inevitable that my little personal space on the world wide web badly needed a revamp!! I bought my .ie and .com webspace back in 2012 when I launched my debut EP ‘10,000’ and Ross at Electric Kiwi http://electrickiwi.co.uk/ designed the site for me. I called on Ross again this time round as he is super efficient and I love the looks he creates.. He spends time getting to know what it is his clients and customers do and works on creating something that really suits them!

So within a matter of days, after I supplied some content and imagery, it was all done and dusted. From this, we will build a site with different pages but for now, hope you like the new and improved site!!

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The First #sRated Milestone!

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My own dressing room and a cup of tea…. well if that isn’t a good way to start back on the road gigging, I don’t know what is!! 🙂 Last night was such a buzz. I hadn’t gigged in such a long time and I was mad to get back out there and sing my songs, telling the stories and doing my usual mad leg movements that happen under the piano as I play. The venue was incredible too. It was the Íontas Theatre in Castleblayney, Co.Monaghan and from everything to the dressing rooms, to the main theatre and foyer, it’s just a fab place to play. The sound was also superb! When you arrive somewhere and know that you are dealing with top class facilities, it makes you feel so much more relaxed, confident and excited. Iontas Theatre

As a performer, the audience cannot be seen at all from the stage. You can hear them shuffle and cough and clap but you cannot see a soul. It’s a little weird singing out and simling at a black canvas but it gets you into a zone and its ALL about the performance.

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I did a 25 minute set that included my opening piece that includes a section of a Mendellsohn piece of music that develops into one of my own songs ‘Showtime’. Its a little opener to my set and I really enjoy the blend of genres. Following that I did an old number ‘Fix You Up’ and managed to get the audience singing along with me.. After that was my newest song and with the lyrics only finalised about 4 hours before the gig, I wasn’t convinced I could pull it off but for a first performance, it went better than expected!

After that, I read out my poem ‘Northern Borders’ https://sineadmcnally.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/northern-borders/ which I accompany with my own take on the well known ballad ‘Hills of Donegal’. It’s a difficult one as the emotion is high throughout but people got it and that’s what’s special about sharing it. I finished up my set with ‘Ship Street’,

one of my favourite songs that I wrote last Summer after a visit to Brighton to attend a female songwriting workshop with Fiona Bevan and Kal Lavelle. Fiona wrote One Directions ‘Little Things’. Hence the line in the song that says “I got lost in love and loss and all those little things..”

I finished up a very enjoyable, emotional and buzzing set with one off my debut EP ‘Something Has Changed’, a piece in 6/8 time that is a lot of fun and quite tricky on the fingers!!

Thanks to Barry Jay Hughes, to all at the Iontas Theatre and to all who bought and ordered my CD’s. Over the next few years, I will work towards a changing room of my own in the 3 Arena!! Dream big!! Chat soon x