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!!

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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

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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

#sRated Photoshoot – Magic in the Making!

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Last Wednesday, I filled my car with props, clothes, accessories and all sorts of bits and pieces, spent about an hour putting the hairdo together and hit the road to Sligo! It was a long morning of preparation after a few weeks spent putting Pinterest boards together, sourcing a photographer and makeup artist, etc etc. I decided early this year that I wanted to update my visuals and start to define my brand as such in line with new music and a new #sRated approach! When I found Suzy McCanny Photography, I was immediately like YES, this is the vibe I’m going for. Loved all of her work – check it out here, incredible! Suzy McCanny Photography so I got in touch with her and shared my Pinterest board

and we took it from there! She reccommended Michelle Anderson Make Up Artist to me and again I was blown away by her work. So creative… MAMU So after that, I hit the N53 on a glorious afternoon with a few ham sandwiches and arrived in Sligo at Suzy’s studios at 4pm. It was a great few hours, getting the make up applied is always relaxing and fun to see it coming together!

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Afterwards we discussed what shots we would focus on achieving and got to it. Suzy had also made a beautiful backdrop (picture at top of post ) out of old music sheets, which looked so effective even just by itself. I’ve been in a couple of photo shoots before and it’s all about the pose and positioning of your body. Being small, Suzy gave me tips and pose suggestions that helped elongate my body! Some of them feel totally weird and uncomfortable but end up looking great on camera! After approximately 300 photos, we finished up and had a quick flick through them and chatted about how some of them might look when they have been put through the next creative process! That’s where the magic happens and I can’t wait to pick out my favourites and get to work on them with Suzy.