Search
  • g1a5w3g1an

10FROM10 | Irish Artists (Part 1)

On this blog post, both Tina and I have asked 10 Irish Artists 10 questions each relating to their music and about their 2020. With the 10FROM10 blog series continuing to be a really interesting insight into the musicians who we feature, this new post with Irish Artists will hopefully be the start of a new series, as we had always planned to expand beyond Twitch. Links to each of the featured Artists social media and music websites are included below.


Aine O'Gorman is a songwriter from West Cork on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. A multi-instrumentalist, she writes powerful, emotional songs and lush string arrangements. She has released 3 singles as a solo artist and most recently collaborated with Victoria Keating in writing The Poor Ground written about the mother and baby homes in Ireland. It has been playlisted on RTE Radio One and is getting a huge response from listeners.


Renowned musician Christy Moore saying of the track...

         "It's horrific.... it's beautiful....

the beauty holds me there as the horror unfolds.

          I love the way it builds from heartbeat to symphony....

          A tour de force'

1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I've been playing music since I was 5. I suppose I always thought I would be involved in music as it was one of the only things that I loved doing and was also good at. I've had dozens of jobs in different fields over the years but music has always been simmering in the background. I've managed to cobble together a living through different aspects of music, teaching, cover bands and playing for weddings etc., so I'm lucky to be able to make a living exclusively from music. 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

It has been a really strange year. I have released 3 singles since Covid-19 happened so it has actually been a good motivation for writing. I was lucky I had some recordings in the bag before lockdown, so it was a great distraction while I wasn't working or gigging.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

Financially, it has been difficult. In the first lockdown I had to stop teaching and all my gigs were cancelled. During the summer I make most of my money from weddings and pub gigs so it was a very frugal 7 months.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I think having kids is extremely challenging (in a wonderful way of course). Having a child is all consuming and it's easy to lose yourself along the way. I played very little music when my son was small - it was only when he became a bit more independent and started school that I started tapping into my own creativity again. I'm not sure this is the case for everyone, but I certainly found it quite isolating in those first few years. 


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Where I'm from (Cork) there seems to be an inordinate amount of musicians per capita. This can sometimes mean that lots of musicians can all be vying for the same gigs and opportunities. Having said that though, there have been many musicians who have encouraged and supported me since I started releasing my own songs too.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Facebook has been the most successful for me. I released my first song, Lydia, on Facebook and I went from having zero followers to almost 4,000 in a year. You have total control with sponsored ads and promotion and a very broad audience. With Facebook you are not relying on any gate keeper to allow you to get your music heard. 


I have found radio much more challenging. It takes much more tenacity. DJs will often ignore new musicians and it can take much longer to start to make a name for yourself. Having said that, my last single, The Poor Ground, which I co-wrote with Victoria Keating which I released just 2 weeks ago, has been getting much more play so maybe it just takes a bit more time. 


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

It is really expensive to produce high quality music and videos. I was really lucky when I started out, I had a financial backer. Trying to fund original music can be really challenging. If you are going to get a band together you need to be able to pay musicians. Many venues don't pay a huge amount and lots of festivals in Ireland will offer you a slot only if you play for free. Of course there are venues who pay fairly too. Many independent artists are lucky to break even after releasing an album. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

No. I have put up a few acoustic videos but I didn't do any live shows. I really enjoy watching them though.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Try not to take rejection personally. There is a huge amount of sending out emails and asking for gigs. Not getting any responses can be really disheartening and can have a really negative impact on your mental health. If you try to treat it like a job and keep sending stuff out, you will get positive responses eventually. Try not to engage in social media too much. While it is an essential part of the trade now, it can make you feel like every other musician is doing much better than you. This is rarely the case and everyone is engaging in a bit of propaganda. Limit the amount of time you are on social media as it can really stifle your own creativity.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I'm releasing a new single in January/February which I'm really excited about. I'm hoping to do some more recording and collaborating with other artists.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | YouTube | Website


Amy Blake is an Irish Singer-Songwriter living in Vancouver, Canada.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Amy comes from a large family of musicians and writers, and has been immersed in music since she was a small child. While she was studying music at university, Amy began to explore self expression through her own compositions, and thus began her journey of establishing her own personal song-writing style. This style is described time and time again as ‘ethereal, haunting and evocative’, referencing the vocal ornamentation of traditional Irish singing, while rooted in alternative folk/pop of the present.

Amy writes introspective, sweet and melancholic songs, that draw from a variety of vocal styles and musical influences. Frequently likened to Laura Marling and Lisa Hannigan, Amy’s voice has a haunting quality that captivates, moves, and connects with the emotions of her audience.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

Music has been a big part of my life since I was a child, and I always knew that I wanted to pursue music. After I finished university, I travelled a lot and tried my hand at a few different careers. Nothing seemed to fit for me, and I eventually found my way back to music. The only time when I am truly satisfied, is when I am writing and recording new music. 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I feel like there's less pressure to always be performing, and I can settle a little bit into writing. Even though times are really tough, I have experienced some creative spurts, and I am writing new music that is a little bit different to that of my EP.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

I had grand plans for the release of my EP. I expected to be performing at showcases and at summer festivals and meeting new industry contacts. This was not to be. I do, however, have more time to write, and I am singing a lot for my own pleasure. It's hard to know what the future holds, but I am trying to hold steady, and continue working on my craft.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I find the marketing and publicity side of music to be very challenging. It's counter intuitive for an artist to push their art on others. At least it is for me.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes and No! I have a small supportive network of musicians in my circle, but I often feel like a lone wolf. 


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Good Question! I am still figuring that one out!


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

It's a costly business to record all your music out of pocket. Most musicians need to have a side job to pay bills and afford recording sessions and video shoots. Grants are few and far between, and are often extremely competitive. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes, I have performed on Instagram Live, and I have had two Zoom concerts. I would like to do a more professional live stream in the future with a professional camera set-up and sound technician!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Keep going. Stay connected with your audience, and make art! 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I am currently recording my debut album, which will be out in June 2021. Watch this space!


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube | Website


A native Southern Irish girl, Carrie Baxter swapped the green Isle for the big smoke in 2009 when she moved to study at the London School of Musical Theatre. Mixing Jazz with soul-drenched melodies into a melting pot of Dilla-Esque beats, Carrie comes with a distinctively sweet vocal style that is authentically hers.


Since her debut release in 2019, Carrie has been tipped as one of the most thrilling talents coming out of the incredible Irish music scene. Carrie kick started 2020 with a bang when she released her triumphant single, Love Me Better, which features on her debut EP, Placebo.


Carrie has earned the attention of many tastemakers across press, radio and DSP's including notable mentions from The Sunday Times, Hot Press, Sunday Life, COLORS, Nialler9 and Mahogany, with Earmilk branding Carrie as "an artist on the precipice of greatness".


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I'm still trying to inspire myself on a daily basis to be honest - it's hard work to be in the game full time. I still work a full time job alongside pursing music. 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I would say discipline is what keeps me going. When motivation fails me discipline steps in to get me to keep taking action, because otherwise I would take the easy route and settle for less than I am capable of. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

It's been very challenging. Personally I have been in and out of work so the financial hit has been a huge pressure on my life and paying for music to get out the door. I guess as a result of constantly having to be in work my creativity took a major hit as well. 


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I could be here for hours talking about adversities so perhaps I'll skip this one, haha.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

I have a close knit circle of friends that have kept me going, yes. I have also found encouragement/community of musicians on social media to be extremely helpful and supportive over lockdown, especially those in a further on position than myself. 


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Digital via Kobalt.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Finding ways to fund everything yourself and keep a roof over your head at the same time. Building my team up from the ground took quiet some time too. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I have briefly, although I have performed via companies' Instagram pages rather than on my own. It was an interesting experience, but not something I'm overly interested in continuing. 


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

I'm not sure that I do have anything figured out enough to pass on advice - the times seem to be hitting everyone on a very different level. What I do know is fresh air is free, moving should be a daily practice and you don't have to build Rome in a day. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I'm releasing a single in January which is possibly one of my favourite pieces I have ever written, supported by a visual campaign. I then have a few surprises coming in February and a collaboration with a very well-known Irish artist. The rest of the year is subject to change I guess. My headline gig in Dublin is scheduled for April so fingers crossed that goes ahead. 


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube


Dubh Lee started making music in 2018 as a folk singer and guitarist and has since entertained countless audiences with her raw vocal, slick guitar style and charm. She has performed shows all over Ireland such as Electric Picnic and the Ruby Sessions, along with more intimate shows, opening for acts such as Jack Lukeman and Bagatelle. In a shift from her folk beginnings she has transitioned from performing solo with an acoustic guitar to performing heavier material with a bassist and a drummer in 2020, now playing energetic live sets featuring songs with blues and garage rock influences. Since the beginning of lockdown she has performed at a number of live-streamed and hybrid events, such as the Hotpress Lockdown Sessions, Transmission festival, Laters with Griff and the Five Lamps Arts festival.


Dubh's latest single, Carousel, is a raucous blues-rock tune in which the singer cries out in loneliness and distress. It deals with using partying as a coping mechanism and features a driving chromatic main riff, fat bass guitar, and unhinged lead guitar work. It is now available on all major streaming platforms and a mesmerising music video for the track is set to appear in December 2020.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I picked up the guitar around the age of 14 and remember fantasising about being the lead guitarist in a rock band à la Hendrix or Paige. So I played guitar in various groups in my hometown of Tullamore as a teenager and often sang backing vocals too. I didn’t like the sound of my singing voice growing up and music didn’t seem like a viable career option at the time, so after school I decided to go on to study Finance and Economics. I studied for four years and worked in various office jobs after that, and it took me four more years to figure out I wasn’t a big fan of working in the financial sector. All through college I had been writing songs and performing them at open mics, and I had been performing in cover bands as a side gig on top of my day job. In 2018 I started getting booked for tonnes of gigs, and was making decent cash to boot. The combination of my day job and my night job were getting the better of me and I was exhausted and stressed. It seemed like the second I got home from the office I was straight back out the door again to perform, and then the second I laid my head down to sleep after a gig I was back up out of bed for work again. It was fun and challenging, but unsustainable. So at the end of 2018 I quit my day job and decided I would try to pursue music full-time, and I haven’t looked back since! 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

It’s difficult to say. Throughout the lockdown in Ireland I’ve gone through productive phases and then phases of utter demotivation and dejection. Mostly when I’m being productive, I feel like it’s the art and music itself that motivates me, if that makes sense. If I come up with a good concept for a new song or video, that excites me and it’s easy to put in the work to execute the concept. And then when a project is finished you get a great sense of satisfaction. The other thought that motivates me is that when things go back to normal here, and venues and pubs open up again and gigs start happening, I want to be able to come back with a bang. So that thought helps me pick up the guitar most days and keep sharp.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

Like many others I had to stop gigging in March 2020 due to Covid-19 and the closure of pubs and venues. At that time I had a repetitive strain injury in my right wrist from overdoing it on the guitar and not resting enough, and according to the Irish government our lockdown would only last for two weeks. I naively welcomed the short break and said I’d use the time to write songs and give my wrist a break. It so happens that the bars where I would usually have my residencies haven’t opened back up since March so I’ve had plenty of time to write songs! While curbing my income, in a way the extra time on my hands has allowed me to develop my sound and I now have a far better idea of the musical direction I’d like to take. I also had the new experience of gigging from home, streaming over social media to other people in their homes. Not quite as good as the real deal but still quite fun!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

Quitting my job at the end of 2018 was a huge step and I second guessed myself constantly at the start. I remember waking up in the morning for the first few weeks and thinking I’d made a huge mistake and wondering how the hell I was going to make enough money to keep it going. I had taught guitar in my school days so I took on a few students again for some extra cash. Then I took on a residency on Saturday nights in Peadar Kearney’s in Dublin, a three hour set which can be fairly physically demanding. That was a big help as it guaranteed a steady weekly income. It also meant I had to up my game in terms of my vocal skills and stage persona, so I didn’t damage my voice and so I could keep the crowd happy respectively. The first few months of 2019 were intimidating and I didn’t have the heart to tell my parents that I had ditched a promising career in finance. But with a bit of work I steadied my income, improved my performance ability and when I eventually told my parents they were happy for me. My mental health improved immensely in that time as well, between getting more sleep and not waking up filled with dread in the morning to drag myself to a job I hated.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

A lot of my friends are also musicians and I’ve found them super supportive. When I first moved to Dublin in 2017 they dragged me out to music sessions and open mics, showed me where to sign up to collect royalties for my songs, turned up to my gigs and helped me figure out how to release my own music independently. What goes around comes around and now I’m very happy to do the same for other musicians who seek advice from me. Dublin is stuffed to the gills with musicians whether amateur or professional, rather than competing with each other I think we mainly prefer to have the craic with each other.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I’m an unsigned independent artist so I get my music onto the likes of Spotify, iTunes, Amazon etc. via a digital music distribution service. There are tonnes to choose from but the one I use is called Distrokid.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

When it comes to promoting a release, many publications and radio stations are more receptive to being contacted by a PR agent or a label representative than by the artist themselves. So it can negatively affect the marketing of your release, especially if you’re not in a position to pay for PR. Similarly, Ireland has tonnes of music festivals and it’s far easier to get a slot at a lot of these festivals if you’re represented by certain promotions companies. Ireland has very few truly independent music festivals.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes absolutely! I’ve done a couple of live-streamed gigs over my own Instagram account, and on 6th June I took over the Instagram account of Hot Press Magazine and streamed a performance. If you scroll back far enough on their Instagram account you’ll find it. On top of this I’ve performed at a number of ‘hybrid’ events, meaning there was a small number of attendees and the events were also broadcast over YouTube, Facebook etc. for people to watch at home. Most notably Transmission Festival (by DeMars Entertainment), Laters with Griff (by Drop Dead Twice) and the Five Lamps Arts festival. All the above are available to re-watch online, on YouTube and Facebook.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

If you have more time on your hands due to Covid-19, you could take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about your trade. There’s great solace to be found in learning, and there are tonnes of free resources on YouTube, Coursera, etc. You could learn about music theory, how to use a music software you’re unfamiliar with, teach yourself a new technique on your instrument or pick up a new instrument entirely.

 

But at the same time, don’t beat yourself up too much if you’re not getting a lot done. Your value as a person isn’t measured by your productivity or your output. I’ve been very hard on myself during the times where I haven’t been getting a lot done, and it really doesn’t help the situation. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I’m preparing to record a 5-track EP - recording will begin before the end of 2020 and the work will be released in Spring of 2021, all going to plan! I’m super excited about it. In the meantime my current single, Carousel, was released on November 20th - it’s a lot heavier than my previous release and I was so happy to put it out there. I’m working on the music video with my brother Declan Dooley (@_declando on Instagram) and it’s going to be a trippy one. It’ll be available in December of this year.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube


Eiza Murphy is a singer-songwriter from Ireland. Her debut single, Black Hole, was released on October 15th 2020 and charted at #1 on iTunes Ireland. The artist featured on Ireland’s top radio station, RTE 2FM, with Black Hole as ‘The Track Of The Week’ and appeared on publications such as Music Crowns UK, Earmilk, and LA on Lock.


Eiza moved to New York, aged 15, to study Logic Pro music production at Dubspot School of Electronic Music where she was the only girl in a class of 20 men and the youngest by 15 years. Living in London from 2017, she has performed in venues such as Tobacco Dock, Battersea Evolution and the London National Film Theatre alongside international venues such as the Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean.


Eiza is now back in Ireland and 2020 marks the beginning of her artist project with “Taxi” as her thought-provoking follow-up single.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I can't think of one specific thing that made me want to do music - it was just always what I wanted to do. Music was always in my house growing up so that was probably the main motivator.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I just started releasing and I've been really busy with that so I've had a very different year to a lot of people. I think I've been more motivated this year than ever because of that.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

I think in a weird way it's had a positive impact on my music because I've had more time to put into releasing and writing. Obviously Covid is awful and I'm not trying to put a good spin on it, but in terms of music, I've had more spare time to work on things. The balance has definitely tipped more towards music than living though. I don't think anyone feels like they're fully living this year, haha.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I think the most challenging thing starting off is finding the right people to work with. You kind of have to use trial and error when it comes to producers/other writers etc., because not everyone will click or fit your sound.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes, definitely. I have a lot of musicians in my circle and some of them are on the same kind of path at the moment so there's a lot of support there.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I've used Distrokid independently with my last two releases and they've been really good.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

I feel like I've just started in a sense because my first release came out last month so I can't complain. I've really enjoyed releasing independently but it's definitely a lot more work because you have to be the artist, manager, and PR all in one.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes, I started putting up performance clips at the beginning of the year but it's just not the same.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

The best thing for me has been staying active as if nothing has changed. There's so much more time to write and even release so I would say if possible, keep doing that.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I'll definitely be releasing more music and hopefully, if everything opens up again, I'll get to plan some live shows in the New Year.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Spotify | YouTube | Website


ELKAE is an electronic soul artist, songwriter, and producer setting out in a genre of her own. She combines funky old-school grooves with new and exciting electronic production, polished off with her powerful, soulful voice to create a high energy live show! Taking inspiration from the music world and settings around her, she combines ambient production and live instrumentation to set her apart from the crowd. Bass and synth driven beats run parallel to her powerful soulful voice to consume the listener and immerse them in her world.


She released her single, Cause I Was Busy Working, in February 2020. To much success, her music has been playlisted on on Spotify’s ‘New Music Friday UK’, ‘Chilled Pop Hits’, 'A Breath of Fresh EIRE', ‘Easy’ and ’New Pop Revolution’. She has gained over 150,000 listeners and 300,000 streams and has been featured in media such as Hot Press, The Irish Times, Nialler9, SPIN103.8, 2FM, FM104.4, 98FM, IMRO, Remy and The Last Mixed Tape. ELKAE was 1 of 50 showcasing artists at Ireland Music Week 2019 and a top 10 finalist in the IMRO Christy Hennessy Songwriting Competition. ELKAE hit the festival circuit playing Electric Picnic, Other Voices, Indiependence, Bloom and We’ve only just Begun last year.


ELKAE's first International coverage in the USA was with TrippleX music blog, DiscoverNu (UK) and was shared by La Belle Musique (France 2.2m followers). I Feel was added to new Irish radio station, PLAY IRISH’s ‘A List’ and named 1 of 10 must listen to tracks alongside The Cranberries, Gavin James, Le Boom, AE MAK, Loah and Mango x MathMan. ELKAE was also recently featured in both The Irish Times and Hot Press, where she was named “an exciting new force in Irish Music Scene”.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

Music has always been a big part of my life. I come from a musical family and my parents are musicians. I started out playing piano and singing when I was about 4, or since I could talk really. I was always writing little songs and poems from a young age and I have a distinct memory of being really young, maybe 6 or 7 and decided I wanted to be a singer. There's never really been another option for me, it’s just always been there and there’s nothing else that would bring me as much joy as being a full time musician and songwriter.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I’m not going to lie, it can be very hard to stay motivated at times but I try to remember that it's unrealistic to feel motivated all of the time. I’m trying to see the bigger picture and having projects I can focus on and work towards helps a lot. I’m trying to take advantage of this time as best I can but not feel guilty for not always being able to be productive.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

It's allowed me to take a step back from a busy music schedule and a 'go, go, go' lifestyle and refocus on myself. I take the time to reconnect with myself as Laura and not so much as ELKAE and do things I didn’t have the time to do before which has actually been really nice and needed. I’ve also had a lot more quality time with friends rather than relying on nights out.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

A few years ago, before I started the ELKAE project, I was still gigging and releasing music under my own name. I became really stuck, I didn't know who I was as an artist yet, I didn't know what 'my sound' was and I was allowing myself to be pulled in too many different directions, trying to be what I thought people wanted rather than who I was. I was so caught up in whether the song would be radio friendly, whether my band would find it intricate enough, and so focused on what people thought. I was too concerned with trying to fit into a box or genre that I ended up losing my confidence, becoming quite depressed and falling out of love with music for a while. I thought that was the end of the road as far as a career in music was concerned. After about a year I began getting really into producing, just at home for myself. I began writing loads of songs, without worrying what people thought. I threw the mentality that my music had to fit into a certain box or genre out the window and just wrote whatever the hell I felt like writing. Producing it myself allowed me to merge different sounds and genres while writing it and presenting it in a way that made sense to people. Doing all this led me to find 'My sound', fall back in love with music and relaunch myself as ELKAE. It's funny looking back, that the very thing that I labelled a weakness turned out to be my biggest strength.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Absolutely, I have great friendships with other musicians and songwriters and we really push each other and champion each other and it keeps us all going! It’s really comforting knowing we're all dealing with the same struggles.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Up until this point it's ELKAE I have only done digital distribution which I find great - it's easily accessible and makes keeping track and learning about your fan base easier, although I’m really looking forward to releasing a vinyl next year as it will be my first body of work other than singles.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

The question is what challenges haven’t I faced as an independent musician, haha. I think as an independent musician you wear many hats! You’re a musician, songwriter, producer, performer, social media guru, marketing manager, handy man/woman, PR, photo and video editor, manager etc.. At one stage I found myself on my hands and knees with a hammer installing lights into an ELKAE backdrop I made. I mean, to be honest it's part of why I love it so much. It’s so versatile and you learn so much. At the same time it can be a lot to balance, especially with personal life.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes I’ve done a few charity gigs on Instagram Live and pre-recorded for YouTube. I’ve also done the Hot Press live shows too which was fun. It’s definitely a different experience, and it kind of made me appreciate gigging even more - it's just a different experience being up on a stage with your band, feeling the energy off the crowd, but it's a nice alternative to have right now! I’ve also watched a few artists live shows and really enjoyed them! Lianne la Havas did a gorgeous show a while back and its a nice way to support musicians.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Don’t get caught up in the mess and uncertainty of the world right now, and try to stay focused on the bigger picture. Be kind to yourself and don’t put yourself under too much pressure to be really productive - we’re literally living in our rooms right now. Enjoy the other parts of life as best you can and reach out if you’re ever feeling low. There's a great counselling service for musicians I just started last week called Minding Creative Minds. They offer 6 free sessions and I know a bunch of people, myself included who’ve availed of them and they’re great!


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I’ve also a few songs that just need some finishing touches so I’m trying to use this free time to get all my ducks in a row, as I’ve got a couple of EPs planned for release for next year so I’m really just focusing of writing and recording at the moment, so I can get a move on with all of that in 2021!


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube | Website


Laura Elizabeth Hughes is a Dublin born singer-songwriter, touted as a "gentle yet steely, formidable yet tender" one to watch by Tony Clayton-Lea of The Irish Times. On stage is where Laura feels most at home and truly connects with people. Throughout her time as a performer she has supported acts such as Dermot Kennedy, James Bay, Billie Marten, Little Hours and recently toured with Irish folk duo, Cry Monster Cry.


Debut international shows in London and New York would precede a first sold out Dublin headline show in 2019. Her Ireland-Music-Week performance later that year, brought her to the attention of industry delegates from around the globe and led her to be named by IrishTimes.com as one of “10 acts to see before they are famous”.


Laura writes from the heart, with human experience being the backbone of her work. “Laura has that rare ability of tattooing melodies inside your head while cutting your heart to ribbons simultaneously. Joyful, aching music.” - Ciaran Lavery


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I'm still flitting the lines between a job, music, and studying, so I'm a full time everything at the moment. I think the first few times I played in front of rooms of strangers that seemed to connect on some level with some of the words I had written, that collective build up of human experience and connection was a big deciding factor. I love singing my life and having someone in the audience hear my words hit on something they've lived too. It kind of bridges a weird gap, and all at once you're both standing in the middle of that bridge talking about a shared experience, without having said a word.



2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

Honestly, not a lot. I'm just focusing on getting through this time period with some semblance of mental health! I've been motivating myself in little spurts, but not putting pressure on myself to create when the whole world is remotely, emotionally drained, myself included.



3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

It's stopped all gigging, which has taken a huge part of why I write music away from me. That closeness that I loved can't be replicated through online shows and Spotify streams, so it's been quite difficult. There isn't a huge amount of work-life-music balance at all, or well it's balanced in a sense that there's not much movement anywhere. We're in another 6 week 'lockdown' here in Ireland, so I'm pretty much going to work, coming home from work, studying, trying to make some music, and then rinse and repeat. Social life is non-existent. I have been trying to create more self-care time, consciously making a decision to try keep my mind and soul healthy and somewhat content. It's been difficult, I'm not going to lie.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

My confidence, or my self-belief rather, in general.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

I have my little bubble of humans that have kept each other going during this time. We're all in the same boat, so it's been nice to have that support and love and extra sets of arms to keep rowing.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I guess that depends on what you mean by effective! I've found that playing support to other acts has been my most effective method of getting my music to new people.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

I guess everything is a little challenge - I've never had any huge issues per se... I guess trying to get in front of bigger audiences, trying to get my songs to more ears, that's been my biggest challenge. I also think that the reach we have here in Ireland is quite small, so getting out beyond our seas is a challenge. Finances play a big part in that - travelling costs money! I am lucky in a sense that it's me. That is my whole act, no bands or bells and whistles - right now I'm just me and my guitar.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I have a couple of times through Culture Ireland and Hot Press initiatives. That was great, new people getting on my radar. I haven't done any on my own, because like I said I don't feel anything playing to a screen of people I can't see or feel or hear.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Don't be hard on yourself, keep the head down. Create, don't create, just don't put pressure. This will pass, it has too.


It's all stuff I'm trying to tell myself everyday too.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

New year - I've been working on an EP that I want to get out in the New Year, and beyond that I just want to play for people again. I want to stand in venues and play my songs, connect with people, and listen to the room. <3


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube | Website


Ria Rua is a singer-songwriter from Cavan in Ireland. After her musical journey began as a drummer touring and playing professionally in Ireland and abroad, Ria shifted her focus to singing, songwriting and producing. Her debut single, I Can't Sleep, was released in May 2020, and there are 2 EPs due for release in 2021. More recently, Ria recorded a live stream for Indie Buddie Sessions.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I took a circuitous route into music. I started out playing guitar in school, then tin whistle, but the first instrument that I truly bonded with was the drums! I played drums and percussion in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and, with that orchestra, travelled around the world playing music. By the time I was in university I was a professional drummer and knew music was the only life for me! I then started getting really interested in composing music for soundtracks, and playing the piano.


Really though it wasn’t until I wrote some dance music about 2 years ago I that it occurred to me that I could pursue a career as an artist and producer. I had a degree in music and had learned music production as part of that, so I just bought some recording gear and thought: "sure why not!". The first song I released was played on the BBC and then RTE and loads of other stations. The Irish music press then noticed and the next thing I knew, radio in England and Germany and even the US decided to play it. It was crazy and exciting, and it made me feel like I’d made the right choice to try!


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I’m so lucky that I control the means of production, so to speak. So if I want to write a song about the pandemic or politics I can, but I can also just follow any whim I might have on any given day! That freedom is really my biggest inspiration. If I want to write it, I can. If I want to record it and release it I can!


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

In some ways Covid-19 has been a huge disaster for me. Almost all my paid work disappeared overnight, and who knows when it’ll get back to normal.

In other ways it happened at a very fortuitous time for me personally, as it gave me a forced break to concentrate on developing and producing more material for myself. I know when everything is truly back to normal, I won’t have this luxury, so I’m trying to make the most of it!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I’m highly individualistic. Not by choice. I just wake up and behave how it makes sense to me, but it turns out that doesn’t always make sense to everyone else. Usually it’s fine – great even – but when I was younger, and before I realised all of this, I was bullied. And like so many bullied people I thought it was my fault.

Then, when I finally realised that the bullies were in fact bullies, and tried to report them to the proper powers that be, I was made feel like I was weak, and was actually bullied by an adult to the point that I almost quit music entirely. Obviously I’m hugely happy now that I didn’t, but that period was extremely stressful and trying.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

As a drummer it’s been amazing but also challenging. On one hand I’ve had so many positive experiences and met so many amazing people and really learned so much about myself as a human, through these interactions. On the other hand, as a female drummer it can be hard. There’s still a LOT of prejudices and preconceptions and those make the whole thing a bit frustrating at times.

As an artist, as Ria Rua, the producer and songwriter and singer, I have had so many people immediately decide to stick their neck out and say something nice about what I’ve done! And in turn I’ve tried to do that for others whenever I can. Ireland does have a small enough scene though, and I’m still very much on the outside of that. I’d say I’ve had a lot more support from people that work in the music industry than other musicians. I do think that’ll change when I start playing gigs as an artist though. At least I hope so!


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Right now, I’m still self-distributing to all the streaming platform with Distrokid. I tried another service and it just didn’t suit my approach to releasing music. I also email every single radio show and DJ directly when I am releasing new material. It’s time consuming, but I definitely feel the personal touch works a treat. Treat people with respect and hopefully they’ll give your material a fair listen!


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

The biggest challenge initially was trying to figure out what to do once the song was finished! How do I get this music on the radio, or on a playlist or to a record label?! Luckily a lot of very friendly people in radio gave me pointers and so that stopped being as difficult.

Now the hardest part is just the endless repetitive tasks involved in sending music to hundreds of people. That’s tough.

Saying that, I’m still a complete outsider, so it’s still very challenging finding the right people and making connections, especially now when everything is online and not in person.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

A little bit. I live somewhere that has abysmal internet and so that’s a huge challenge! I have done a few live-streams though, and a few industry showcases, using Zoom.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

I always try and find a way to remind myself how lucky I am, every single day. It can be challenging, but I think the alternative it too dire to consider! So I guess my advice is to use these times to try and create and grow personally as an artist. That’s been my approach and it’s worked for me, but I know everyone has their own situation and it might not work for them.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I’ll be releasing my third single in December, and then two EPs in 2021. Who knows what’ll happen after that, but no matter what I’ll just keep writing, recording, releasing and repeating.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube


SIIGHTS are a Irish/Scottish songwriting duo made up of Mia Fitz from Dublin and Toni Etherson from Glasgow. Since meeting in LA while Mia was touring with Hozier, they have both been writing and producing music together as SIIGHTS. Earlier this year the duo released their debut self-titled EP, which has had over 1 million streams on Spotify, and they are already working on EP number 2. Their latest track, A Little Lonely, was released on November 6th.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become full-time musicians?

Mia: I'm very lucky to have come from a musical family - music was all around me growing up and my dad is an amazing pianist. I took up piano & guitar when I was a kid and started trying to write my first songs when I was around 9 years old. I don’t think I even realised what I was doing, I don’t remember ever setting out to write a song I just started doing it as a way to express myself and get my emotions out. I won a songwriting competition in this music school called ‘Newpark’ in Dublin that someone entered me into when I was 12 - I remember I was so nervous at the time to actually sing and play something I had written in front of people, but I think that gave me a lot of encouragement. I then took up Bass & Drums and sang with a bunch of choirs. I was obsessed with harmony and different music styles. I began playing as a session musician professionally when I was around 18 and also studied sound engineering & music technology. I was writing songs all the time, but also started producing them and I got to work alongside Brian Masterson (an amazing Grammy award-winning engineer/producer). I think everything kind of fed into each other and I just felt like I could express myself through music in a way that was different to anything else it was almost therapeutic. I then started writing and producing for other artists and got to tour the world playing with Hozier - by that point I already knew that all I wanted to do with my life was music and I was ready to take the ups and downs as they come (of which there are many as any creative I’m sure will know!), but it is so worth it when it is something you are so passionate about.


Toni: Growing up I was always interested in writing - initially it was poems I wrote but eventually they grew into songs. Ironically I was always really shy and not the best at saying how I felt so I guess expression through music has always been a huge comfort for me. My uncle works in the music industry too, so growing up we were always taken to the shows for the acts he worked with (Westlife/Busted/Five), so I think seeing that from such a young age also gave me a very tangible understanding of music as a career, which i'm really grateful for.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

We're definitely motivated by the idea of what comes next - as a band we're in a really exciting place and really cant wait to release this new music, also to finally get to play live again for people hopefully. Its been a crazy year and with a lot of things seeming out of our control we realise its super important to shift our focus onto the things we can control, along with what we're grateful for. We’ve had tours cancelled and lots of trips cancelled too but at the same time we've had more time to spend with family and in the studio so we're always reminding ourselves of how lucky we are. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

As we mentioned we had a lot of our tour/travel plans cancelled, so it meant that we've had a lot more time in the studio to write and create. It's been challenging at times because as creative people we're definitely sensitive to our surroundings and travel is a huge part of how we keep ourselves inspired/collaborating with people. We've just had to adapt, we did a staycation in Ireland for Toni's birthday with some friends, we took a camper van and drove down to Dingle. It was so much fun and much needed.


With a year as unprecedented as this it's pretty normal to not feel OK or be as productive as usual so we're really reminding ourselves of that on the harder days too. 


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I think for both of us and any creator will know how challenging the industry can be at times - trying to balance promoting what you do along with the ups and downs of the industry in particular this year whilst trying to make sure you are really giving yourself time to be creative and make the best music possible.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes definitely, there is a real sense with this that we are all in the same situation this year. I think hearing others share their own experiences with it and how they are coping has helped with perspective also.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I think it can be different for every individual artist - we released our debut EP with LAB records and love working with the team there. They're great.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Honestly the biggest challenge in the creative industry probably hit when Covid came around - all of our live tour dates were either moved until 2021, or cancelled completely. That was hard, and with no real clarity on what really comes next, we've really put our focus on being in the studio. We know we're not alone and that this won't last forever so we're working hard to give our fans as much as we can remotely until we can get out and play this new music for them again live. :) 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes we definitely have, we released our debut EP in April this year and that was a really busy time where we did a lot of live sessions including ones for the fashion brand River Island and Sennheiser :) We definitely will be doing more of that before the year is out!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Music is one thing that people are really relying on to get through these times, so keep on creating, be kind to yourself, this won't last forever.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

We're going to be releasing our second EP, which we're finishing in the studio as we speak, some exciting collaborations and touring as soon as that's possible. We did just get our first ever UK and IRL support tour opening for an artist we love - that has been postponed to next year but hopefully we get that confirmed and announced asap. :)


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Spotify | YouTube | Website


Sophie Doyle Ryder is a rising singer-songwriter from Malahide, Dublin, Ireland. 2020 has seen Sophie release 3 tracks: Enough, Too Much and Little Black Book, spending 10 weeks in the top 100 Irish Artists on Irish radio peaking at number 9 with Too Much and also earning over 6.5 million Irish radio impacts. Sophie has grown into her own style of music and has found her unique style with a consistent theme of female empowerment throughout her music. Influences include Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I think growing up in such a musical family almost made it like 'why wouldn’t I?'. It’s something I get so much joy out of and I can do so well! My dad definitely played a big part though. He pushes me to work hard and honestly he’s brought me to where I am today! 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

It’s very hard to find motivation sometimes, especially when it feels like all I’m allowed to do is go to school, like how boring is that! 


So I do try to watch more movies, listen to music and even watch short stories on YouTube just to get the creative part of my brain flowing especially just after school! I find doing things like that almost get my brain ready for writing music. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

I’m still in school and doing my Leaving Cert so Covid-19 literally feels like it blew everything up and now everyone’s trying to put it back together. Honestly the hardest part about Covid-19 is going to school and having the stress of loads of exams in case we have predicted grades! Music if anything has just become a form of relaxation and therapy to get me through the rest of it!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

Starting was the hardest part, getting people to take me seriously even now is still tough sometimes. It’s definitely important to make your mark and a statement so people know you’re not just doing it as a hobby. 


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Definitely. When I started releasing more music and more artists started following and sharing me etc., I found I had a few friends in the industry which was really nice!


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I like to let songs have their time to shine! Releasing songs sporadically is the most effective way in my opinion! Refresh with a new song when the earlier one is dying down!


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

I find people and teachers in school seem to think what I do is more of a hobby than a career! So it’s hard to get people to take me seriously! But when it comes to people in the industry, no one has ever really doubted me as an artist. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes! I did many live streams especially while I was off school. I don’t have much time for them anymore unfortunately. I did one with Hot Press Magazine and other Instagram Lives. They’re so much fun and I love being able to sit in my home and play brand new songs that I might have only written that week! 


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Keep doing what you can, don’t dwell on what you can’t. Write music, improve your vocals, learn a new instrument or Zoom call to write songs with other people. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I really want to do a few festivals when it’s possible. As many gigs as I possibly can! I’ll definitely keep releasing songs often.


Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Spotify | YouTube

Tina and I would both like to say a huge thank you to each of the 10 Irish Artists: Aine, Amy, Carrie, Dubh, Eiza, ELKAE, Laura, Ria, Mia & Toni, and Sophie, for being a part of this blog post and for taking the time to answer our questions and allowing us to share their replies. We hope to continue this blog series even more over the coming months so please do keep checking back for our updates in the near future on this great new 10FROM10 Blog Series.

Please click on the image below to check out all the other posts in this amazing blog series...


#10FROM10 #IrishArtists #SingerSongwriters #IndependentArtists

©2020 by g1a5w3g1an