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! 🤔


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.


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

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.


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

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 🙂 https://soundcloud.com/nallymusic/nally-blog-post-21st072016-starting-from-silence


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 Matthews.ie. 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