PHOTO CREDIT: @keithoreillly
ANOTHER one of my musical ambitions, aside from seeking artists…
outside of the U.K. has been to discover a true Irish gem: specifically someone from the great city of Dublin. I am familiar with the music there but have few requests from bands/acts. When I heard Ailbhe Reddy’s current single, Relent, I was compelled to get in touch. She has been compared, without any exaggeration, to the likes of Hannah Reid (London Grammar) and Daughter. Reddy plays Servant Jazz Quarters on 15th February: a chance for British audiences to see one E.I.R.E.’s most promising singer-songwriters amaze and seduce. I will (hopefully) get to that gig. Regardless, Reddy has a busy and exciting year ahead. She talks about her upcoming plans; her favourite memory from 2016 and the musicians that inspired her growing up.
Hi Ailbhe. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m well, I’m good! I’ve had a great week. I spent my weekend between the studio recording new material and filming a music video for Relent.
For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. My music has been described as a variety of different genres: mainly Folk, Alternative/Indie-Pop.
Relent is your latest single. Can you tell us a bit about it and what compelled the song?
The song was inspired from the natural retrospection that results from a break-up. I had gone through a break up a few months before and not really processed it until much later.
When I finally looked back on it I felt an immense sense of guilt and loss – because I hadn’t even tried to maintain something important to me. I think songs can often only come from the perspective of the person writing – who sees themselves as blameless. I really wanted to put something forward that was more honest. I’m trying to portray the guilt of my own failings within the song.
The vocals on the track are especially arresting and beautiful. You have been compared with some real musical heavyweights. Do you have to work on your voice a lot of has it come rather naturally?
Thanks so much. I’m delighted with the comparisons to Daughter and London Grammar. My voice has matured and improved a lot over the last two/three years of gigging and recording so I’m hoping to continue that. I work on it a lot, especially improving my range, so that I can sing a song like Relent – which is quite powerful and challenging to sing.
You are based in Dublin (not many of us think of the city regarding music). What is the scene like in the city?
I would have thought that Dublin was thought of as a hub for music. There’s a really vibrant music scene here and a brilliant community of performers and promoters that work together. I find myself inspired and impressed every time I go to a gig here. It’s also a great place to start your career as it’s a tight-knit community where people support each other.
Your early singles, like Flesh & Blood and Cover Me, gained impassioned reviews and were celebrated by many. How do you think you’ve progressed as an artist and do you ever look back on your early days?
I definitely think I’ve progressed. My music now is more lush, instrumentally, and more honest and clear, lyrically.
Lyrics have always been central to whatever I write so I take real pride in people being able to relate to them.
2016 was a busy year for many of us. What would you say was your proudest memory from the year?
I played a lot of brilliant festivals to great crowds last year. My highlight was playing at Other Voices – which is a prestigious festival in Dingle which happens every year (and recorded for the television programme of the same name). It’s something I grew up watching and being part of it was a dream come true. The crowds there were so appreciative and engaged; I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.
With Relent out, can we expect an album or E.P. this year?
I’m recording new material as much as I can in hopes of releasing a few things before 2017 is out.
You’re playing Servant Jazz Quarters on 15th February. Is this your first time at the venue and do you get to play in London a lot?
This is my first time playing in London so I’m really excited about it. I’m hoping to be back over in the U.K. a lot this year.
PHOTO CREDIT: @chazlottee
With your music finding a lot of fans across social media and music-sharing platforms; how important are these outlets for a new musician promoting their work? Do you get quite overwhelmed knowing a song like Relent has amassed thousands of Spotify plays?
Spotify has been huge for me. I think the curated playlists are amazing for new independent artists like myself. I can be heard among established artists like Ben Howard, Hozier and Daughter within a playlist.
Relent was played over twelve-thousand times during its first day on Spotify so that was really incredible for me to see. There is no feeling that I can compare to knowing that people are listening and relating to your music. It’s amazing.
Who were the musicians and artists you grew up listening to?
I listened to a mix of whatever my older sisters were listening to – Jeff Buckley, Coldplay; Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers – and whatever my mum was listening to – Queen, David Bowie; Simon & Garfunkel and Don McLean. I think this really informed my taste growing up.
Are there any artists coming through you would recommend we check out?
There’s definitely a lot of incredible musicians coming up in Dublin: Maria Kelly (who is supporting me on the 15th), Farah Elle; Barq and Rosa Nutty are all artists I see going really far who are from Dublin.
PHOTO CREDIT: @webloompresents
What advice would you offer any young songwriting starting out?
Keep writing; write every day.
Be honest and take risks even though they might feel terrifying – people appreciate it.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can choose any song you like (not yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.
Hundred Waters – Cavity. I can’t stop listening to this track this week.
Follow Ailbhe Reddy
PHOTO CREDIT: @olgakuzmenko_photography