Colin Kenny

NEWS

Press Release via AS Written, September 2021

KENNY READY TO ROCK AND ROLL AGAIN

COLIN KENNY, known to country music fans nationwide as ‘the singing barber’, is back with new music this week, as the Banagher man releases his latest single, ROCKIN’ AND ROLLIN.’ 

The latest cut to be taken from his official debut album, ANNIE, Rockin’ And Rollin’ is set to continue Kenny’s rise to prominence as one of the country scene’s newest singer/songwriters of note. Co-written with Tipp man Brendan Carroll, the track’s feel-good, nostalgia tinged vibe comes at a perfect time as venues begin to reopen and ‘live’ music once again becomes an intrinsic part of so many peoples’ lives. 

For Kenny, based in Borrisokane where his recently opened hair studio is located, getting back in front of his fans again – in real life – has been a beautiful feeling…

“There’s no feeling like it! And every time you get to introduce a new song, especially when it’s an original and one that you’ve had a hand in writing, you’re reminded of that thrill that comes with having a ‘live’ audience in front of you. There’s a certain kind of buzz that comes from connecting with people like that, and it’s nearly impossible to replicate. I was back out this weekend as part of the Nenagh ‘Live’ event when it came to Borrisokane on Sunday, and then an acoustic session in the Green Bar that evening as well, and I’ll tell ya, it’s good for the soul!” 

While Kenny is now back bringing smiles to faces in person again, playing tunes like new single Rockin’ And Rollin’, and previous hits You’ve Got That Something, Will You Dance With Me, Annie?, I’m A Country Singer, and more from his own catalogue, it was his regular Facebook ‘Live’ shows that did so much to keep peoples’ spirits up through the difficult and often lonely times of the last year and more. And even though he’s back on the road again now, he has no plans to call a halt to those intimate performances…

“Definitely not. They’ve become a very important part of what I do now, and they’re a great way of connecting with fans as well. With an actual gig, it’s not always possible for people to travel to see you, but when you do something online, you can have fans joining you from all corners of the country at once, and that’s a lovely feeling. What has happened a lot as well, is that I’d play some of my new songs for the first time during these online shows and that’s proved to be a great and very rewarding way of bringing new material into my set-list. So that’s something that I plan on continuing, for sure.” 

ROCKIN’ AND ROLLIN’, the brand NEW single from COLIN KENNY (co-written with Brendan Carroll) will be available on all platforms from FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1st, and is also available to request from radio stations nationwide. You can follow Colin on Facebook at Colin Kenny Music. 

ENDS

Grace Foley

First Published September 2021

GRACE IN ALL SHE DOES

Just shy of a year ago now, I had the pleasure of hearing from classical-crossover artist GRACE FOLEY for the first time. A native of Killarney, Grace dropped me a line to let me know about her plans to release a Christmas EP – A Time For Christmas – on November 27th of 2020. Unfortunately we weren’t able to plan anything at the time, and between one thing and another it took us until last week to finally sit down for a chat. But I’ll tell you what, never has a first email from someone so guaranteed that they would be featured in OTRT at some stage. 


As you’ll find out as our chat goes on, Grace is an exceptionally talented individual, with her gift for singing matched by her gift with words. I can’t remember too much else about the day I first heard from Grace, but I know for certain that all I did while reading her email was either laugh or smile at her sense of humour and her flair for storytelling. 


When someone tells you about recording a song in their wardrobe and deadpans that it “was a new experience”, shares that, “Basically, I have been creatinga lot and narrowly avoiding lockdowns all year!”, and – and perhaps most importantly – reveals that she made sure her little dog kept her company and was part of things when she performed on RTE’s Today show with Dáthí O’ Sé and Maura Derrane via Skype…well come on, how can you not like that kinda person?! 


So yes, it took a while to plan, but I finally had the privilege of catching up with Grace the day after she had the photoshoot for her album cover last week. And, as I knew she would, Grace lived up to all expectations.


Our chat got underway by talking about how the big shoot day had gone…


“It went really well! It’s a bit crazy to get to that stage, because the cover of your album – certainly in my case anyway – it’s the last hurdle, or the last thing on the to-do list. So it certainly feels very final now. I haven’t seen the pictures yet, so I can’t tell you too much anyway [laughs]. But when I finally see them, and finally see the name of the album on those photos, it’s going to feel way more real. It was the last big thing to be done, so it kind of feels a bit like we’re all there now!” 

I get the impression with Grace that a lot of thought goes into everything she does, and that something as important as her album cover would definitely be no different. Did it feel like a bit of a project in itself? 


“Yeah, it’s lots of mini-projects. Everything from writing my own songs, to choosing what musicians you want to have on it, onto the cover and the details on that. I definitely wouldn’t be the kind of person who would just say let’s use an old photograph and put a name on it, ya know [laughs].” 

Before we moved on to Grace’s new single, I wondered if her album had a title yet, and if she had any idea on when this collection would be coming our way? 


“I’m hoping to share the album in the very last week of November, but I haven’t got an exact date yet. I’m going to be releasing it in physical form first – actual cds – and then a couple of weeks later, kind of mid December, it will be available to download online. Just to be a bit different, it’s going to be gradually appearing [laughs]. I haven’t announced the name yet, so I’m gonna keep that a secret for a little longer. But a clue would be that it’s actually the second in a trilogy, and the first part of that was my EP, ‘Unleashed.’ So it’s kind of going to be another UN… [laughs]. And then there’ll be a third Un at some stage in the future to finish off. So there’ll be ‘Unleashed’, ‘Un’-something else, and ‘Un’-something else [laughs].” 

Grace’s new single, Caught Up, which will be available on all platforms from October 1st, is also her own song. In talking about it recently, Grace remarked that it’s about, “…people appearing perfectly fine on the surface, but you never know what’s going on in someone’s mind.” Obviously a song that’s quite personal to her? 


“It’s really very much related to mental health. I’ve often had panic attacks and that kind of thing. I also go out and wear make-up, and I know a lot of people do the same thing, you put a smile on your face, but you can’t really read what’s going on in everybody’s life, inside their mind and their heart. We can all wear a bit of a mask, so it’s like don’t judge anyone by their cover, because you never know what’s going on underneath that. It’s a circular song, if that makes any sense? There’s a line, ‘Caught up, all in circles on the inside’, that’s the opening line of the whole thing. It’s about going around and around inside yourself, appearing fine on the outside but churning away on the inside. I started putting some ideas for this song together pre-lockdown, and then I got some funding from the Arts Council, which I used on this song and on ‘Goodbye To Dublin’ which I released as part of my Christmas EP last year. Songs you had written yourself, that’s what the funding was for, and I started with this one. Then, because of the pandemic, I was thinking a lot about artists, musicians, and entertainers in general, we’re all very good at putting out great stuff, online concerts and everything. But I was thinking about these poor artists who were probably smiling away, but probably so upset on the inside. So the music video itself, and you’re the first person to hear this, is actually on an empty stage, in an empty theatre. It reflects the mental health of everyone in the entertainment industry. That’s the road I went with the video. It all ties in. It went from being very much my own story, to being one for every artist out there.” 

And that video will be debuting on Grace’s YouTube channel on October 10th, which is actually World Mental Health Day.

Grace mentioned anxiety, and one of the things I love to talk to all artists about is what goes through their minds in the minutes and moments before they go on stage, because for a lot of people, that can be an anxious time. Does anxiety affect Grace’s performance in any way at all? 


“In a very different way. I would say in the run-up to a concert it’s very hard to keep all of the anxiety in check. It’s not the performance adrenaline. It’s a daily, continuous adrenaline which is very different. Performance adrenaline comes just before you go on, but then it morphs into a nicer adrenaline [laughs]. The practise one keeps you on a little bit of a high over a couple of weeks! Depending on the type of performance, there can be a couple of wobbly weeks before it where you’re going, oh God…will it all be ok?! But that’s different from general anxiety. But yeah, there’s definitely performance anxiety that begins well before the concert, but then that day, it’s a slight excitement. And then just before I’m about to go on stage – and I’ve spoken to fellow artists about this and they’re the same – I’ll stand side-stage and say, ‘Why do I do this to myself?!’ I brought this on myself! Nobody forced me to do this! I don’t have to do this!’ [Laughs]. My legs are ready to run away [laughs]. But afterwards, I’d always say this is the best feeling in the world, and I’ll never question it again. But then the next time, it happens all over again! [Laughs]. I think artists, like a lot of people, can struggle with their mental health. It’s a rollercoaster anyway because artists can often be quite connected to their emotions, because you have to be to do what we do.” 


As well as Grace’s forthcoming single Caught Up being an original, she’s also written Together Apart, and co-written Close The Door with Dave McCune. So it’s fair to say that her artistry extends beyond the beauty of her voice and into her songwriting as well. I asked Grace to tell me about that side of her and that side of her life…


“I still consider it a very new side to me. When I was finishing recording ‘Unleashed’ in the studio with Dave McCune in Dublin, somebody said something about how maybe someday I’d sing my own stuff, and I said I’d love to do that. I like to write, I said, but I’d never written a song. In school I always liked English, and I used to write poetry when I was younger, and I wrote a column for a local publication here in Killarney. Then Dave, who was right next to me in the studio at the time, said, ‘Well, I’ve written music myself, so if you ever want to team up, we’ll have a think about it. That stuck in the back of my mind, and I started writing down some ideas. In 2019, when the homelessness crisis in Ireland was becoming more and more apparent, well, like a lot of things when you’re an artist, you’re thinking is there anything I could do. And I was thinking maybe I could sing something. And a bit like with ‘Together Apart’ when the pandemic started, at both those times I thought well why don’t I get my own feelings down on paper? It was driven by a need to say something. ‘Close The Door’ is a song I’m very, very proud of, I wish it had gotten more airing at the time. It was weird, because when I started writing the lyrics to it I knew I wanted to give the proceeds to the Simon Community, but I hadn’t done my research on it. So I didn’t even realise at the time that ‘close the door’ was their slogan. I went to their website the next day, saw that, and I was like, oh my God, this is meant to be! [Laughs].”

So I wrote the lyrics”, said Grace, “and Dave McCune wrote the melody, and I had some input on the melody too. We got the musicians into the studio in Dublin and they all gave us their time for free. We got the videographer from Tralee, he gave us his time as well. It’s a song I hope we can use again, because unfortunately it’s not a crisi that has gone anywhere. And ‘Together Apart’ was born from the same feeling, wanting to say something about something big that was happening in the world. That’s how it’s happened for me so far. The Christmas one, ‘Goodbye To Dublin’, I did try and sit down and write a song, but they all kind of flowed. There was another one, but it was terrible [laughs], I spent half an hour looking at it and thinking ahhh this doesn’t work [laughs]. So I think I need to be inspired! I think I’m one of those people. Some people have their writing time, I think I need to have inspiration. And at the moment inspiration is a bit low to the ground, I’m afraid, trying to create an album and raise a child at the same time [laughs]. I’m hoping that there’s some bits and pieces in Anna’s short life so far that I’ve written down about her, that maybe I’ll get to write a song about her someday. That’s the next thing that’s in my mind, but we’ll get this album out first!” 


As well as some of her own originals, Grace also has a Bryan Adams classic – maybe THE Bryan Adams classic – on the record. So, what I needed to know is was this a particular weakness on Grace’s part, a guilty pleasure perhaps, or the flicker of a long-standing love affair from long before she met her husband, John? What was the story? 


“[Laughs] I’d love to say it was something as romantic as that! [Laughs]. Every year for the last few years, when it comes up to Christmas time, I record a song for my parents for their Christmas present. And they very much love the classical-crossover stuff, especially my mom, the Italian and English mix. I heard Katherine Jenkins singing it and I thought it was a beautiful song but it kind of went out of my head. Then I came across the Bryan Adams version and I thought, I wonder if I could sing that? The Katherine Jenkins version was entirely in Italian, then I listened to his one and his is so passionate in English. I didn’t want to sing it in italian because it had been done, but it’s such a romantic song it really lends itself to the classical-crossover voice. So I said I’d try it in English and Italian, and I recorded it for them for Christmas. The minute they heard it they said I couldn’t keep it to myself, that I’d have to release it at some stage. So very selflessly of them, they gave away their present [laughs]. We developed it slightly more than the version we presented to them. We had decided pre-pandemic that I was going to release three singles last year; ‘Danny Boy’, ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, and ‘Silent Night.’ Little did I know what was going to happen. But I had started to have everything organised in January and February for the year, and that was one of the songs. Everybody probably thinks it’s about John, but with everything I’ve done over the years my parents have given me everything. So I wanted to say, everything I do, I do it for you, to them. The love of a child for their parents is the inspiration for that one.” 

What other songs have become presents like that over the years? 


“For my wedding, I actually did ‘In My Daughter’s Eyes’, and that’s on the album. That’s kind of blown my mind recently, because towards the end of the time I was looking at my options for the album and I was thinking right, how am I going to manage this. Then I think it was Brendan, down in the studio in Killarney, he said, ‘That song you recorded years ago’ – which I kind of put on my YouTube channel but I didn’t do a whole lot with, I got it mastered at the time and I didn’t even know why I did that! – but he said, ‘That’s a gorgeous song.’ And then, ya know what, after the year that it’s been and with Anna being born and everything, wouldn’t it be nice to have that on there? I had a lot of time away from my family, but I didn’t actually sing that song online during the year but I often thought about it because it reminded me of them. Then suddenly, it shifted, and that song had a new story and I thought I’ll have to think about its new meaning for me. I had a listen to it one day, John and I went out into the car, I wanted to listen to the running-order of the entire album before it went to mastering, so I was chopping and changing it. So we put that on, and I hadn’t listened to it in ages. I completely broke down in tears! It had a different meaning to when I recorded it for mam and dad because now it’s for her, for my daughter. And I’m so glad it’s on the album now. That song has gone on a bit of a journey. I think I wasn’t actually meant to release that properly until now. That song’s been around for a while. So, these Christmas presents, they grow legs! [Laughs].” 


When Grace had first got in touch with me, she told me that contralto – how she sings – was “a classical style of singing, but with a dark edge…”


“Well, contralto is the lowest female voice in the classical world. That’s what I am. Sopranos are what you’d hear most often, and tenors you’d hear of a lot in the classical world. They’ve the highest voices. But contralto is the most rare voice type in the world. And over the years, be it in contemporary style or classical, everyone would say that it was very rich, like chocolate, like gold. So there’s lovely colours and lovely descriptions that come with it. And it is, it’s a classical voice, and a classical crossover voice with a dark edge, my voice just has a darker colour. No matter what I sing, be it a happy song or a romantic song, whatever it is, there is a darker sound to it. And that can bring a little bit of a melancholy to the way I sing because there is that…maybe slightly more lonesome sound to my voice. So it was never a decision to sing this way, it’s just the voice I was born with.” 

So was it a big surprise for Grace to find out that her voice was one of the rarest kinds in the world? Or how does that happen? 


“It was very unusual. And what’s even more unusual is that the first singing teacher that I ever had, Áine Nic Gabhainn , fourteen I think I was, and I didn’t have a clue about classical music or anything. She was listening to me for a bit and, ‘Well!’, she said – and she herself was a contralto, so she always knew how rare it was – and she said, ‘You’re probably one of the youngest I’ve come across to have such a developed lower range, you actually are a contralto.’ And sure I didn’t have a clue what that was! Mezzo is the middle, and contralto is the lowest, and even the mezzo in the college would say, God, you just have a different voice to the mezzo voice, which is Katherine Jenkins, let’s say for example. She wouldn’t sound all that different, but my voice quality would be darker. Even if I’m singing something now, there’s always someone in the room who just knows their stuff, and they’ll say, ‘Oh my God, a contralto!’ I just find it fascinating that somebody will always know what it is [laughs]. It’s kinda cool! It’s been tough too, because when I was younger it was always harder for me to sing the higher stuff, but that’s kind of settled now. It’s a privilege, I think, to have this voice.” 

Grace has previously spoken about the tremendous support she’s received from three men in particular; Dave McCune (mentioned earlier in our chat), Brendan O’ Connor, and the great Liam O’ Connor. I asked Grace to explain the importance of kindness like that being shown towards an artist like herself who is on the upward climb in her career…


“I think everyone in this industry, and everyone in any job, you can just do your job, but there’s people out there who go that extra mile when they’re working with you. And especially Dave and Brendan, because I work with them very closely. One of the first people to find out I was pregnant was Dave McCune because I was going up to record with him when I was six weeks pregnant, and no-one knew. Suddenly, I became really unwell, and I didn’t want to cancel because I knew the pandemic was just getting worse and worse. So I said, ok, I’m gonna have to go, but it’s the middle of the pandemic and I look a bit grey so they’re gonna say why did you come in here sick?! [Laughs]. But he treated me so kindly, and he always did, we’ve always had that relationship. But even recently he’s gone that extra mile again, trying to finish off the album. Like, I don’t have a big budget, I’m an independent artist, I’ve had no work for so long. But he’s done so much extra work, especially in the last couple of weeks. I’m aware of how much more he did than he should have done for what he got paid [laughs]. And Brendan’s the same, and it’s not even mate’s rates because we’ve only worked together professionally, but we’ve become friends. During this whole time I’ve been recording some stuff in Dublin, and then Brendan too, I had to tell him quite early on as well that I was pregnant. And I was sayin’ to him, look, don’t let on anything cos’ I was tryin’ to get a bit done before Christmas. I hadn’t publicly announced it at that stage. They’ll both say things, Grace, maybe this isn’t really the way to go with this. But then they’ll both really listen, and it’s a lovely thing to feel so heard, especially when you are an up-and-coming artist. Neither of them care if they’re working with a famous person or an up-and-coming artist, they don’t care. They’ll give you the exact same amount of attention. They’re both very different men, and they’re in different parts of the country, but they’re both an absolute pleasure to work with. And it’s lovely in the industry as well that neither of them are ever like, ‘Oh, but you’ve gone to this other studio to do this…’, you know? They don’t work together on any of the songs, they’ve always worked independently on different tracks, but if I ever mention one to the other it’ll be, ‘Ah yeah, you did that song with Dave…’, or ‘You did that one with Brendan’, so I’m blessed.” 

Grace continued, “And then with Liam O’ Connor, he came into my life when I was releasing Unleashed a few years ago. He’s such a phenomenal performer. Obviously living here in Killarney, so I was very ballsy, and I thought is there any chance he might come and play a song at the launch because he’s just so exciting, he’s amazing. We didn’t know each other at all, we probably might just have seen each other at a couple of events, we’d never spoken. But I got his number, gave him a quick text, thought he might say that he didn’t have time, but not only did he ring me back, he took me for a bowl of soup and a cup of coffee one day! We talked for about five or six hours, and he gave me loads of advice. He came along that night, gave a phenomenal performance, stayed around afterwards and had a couple of drinks with us. He came on this album as well, very same thing. He rang back straight away and said yeah, he’d do it, anything to help out. It’s kindness like that during a time when we’ve all been hit. Those men in those studios, they’re busy now, but they were very quiet for a long time. Liam the same. I’ll never forget their kindness.” 

Before our time came to an end, I asked Grace about her column for the Classical Crossover magazine, the wonderfully – and aptly – titled Grace Notes…


“I’m quite a storyteller, I think I write columns differently to other people. They’re not just factual factual, I always have a bit of an emotional reaction to things in that. It’s kind of my perception of the world of the arts, different things about it, like online versus ‘live’ performance. That was an interesting one for me to even write. I don’t have a big plan when I’m writing, I just sit down and I start. It kind of helps me figure stuff out when I’m writing it. I write about the role of music in my own life, the role of music in the world, there’s a lot of me in my columns as well. Particularly in that one about online versus in-person performance, it was me thinking out loud. That’s kind of what the column is, it’s me thinking out loud! [Laughs]. I give my opinion on classical crossover music, and look at why people like it. I often ask questions in them, I don’t always get answers back from people, but I still ask the questions. I hope that will make people ask themselves questions about music. When you’re at a concert and you don’t know the artist, or you’ve never been an artist, or maybe you’re a performing artist yourself, if you read one of my columns I’d like to think that you’re not separated from that person on stage. That instead, you’ll be thinking, ‘I wonder are they like that girl that wrote that column? I wonder if they are feeling this way backstage? I wonder are they delighted to be back performing ‘live’ again? I wonder if they miss performing online?’ So yeah, it’s me thinking out loud, and I’m hoping that it will allow people who read it who aren’t performers, to kind of get into the mindset of a performer.” 

CAUGHT UP, the brand NEW single from GRACE FOLEY will be available on all platforms from Friday, OCTOBER 1st. And keep an eye out for the accompanying video which will premiere on Grace’s YouTube channel on World Mental Health Day, October 10th. 

ENDS

Cassadee Pope/MacKenzie Porter/ Olivia Lane

First Published September 2021

POPE LEADS TRIO TO WATCH

Grammy-nominated artist Cassadee Pope has confirmed the October 15th, 2021 release of her upcoming album, THRIVE, featuring latest single, Tomorrow Night, which is out now to stream and download.

The album, co-produced by Nick Wheeler (All-American Rejects) and Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town), also features previous singles What The Stars See and Say It First, both released earlier this year.

New song, Tomorrow Night, written by Pope, Dein Guisande and Aaron Chafin, is an upbeat track leaning further into Cassadee’s pop-punk sensibilities and describes a longing feeling that everyone can relate to – whether it is anxiously awaiting a well-earned holiday or anticipating the return of a loved one, we all understand wanting to push the clock forward. 

“I had a chorus idea before my session with Devin Guisande and Aaron Chafin that really excited me. As a big Weezer fan, I really wanted to lean into that influence for this track,” says Pope. “It’s a love song at its core, wrapped in walls of guitars and high energy percussion. I hope people relate to this lyric of just wanting to fast forward to the moment you get to be with the person you’re in love with.” 

Following a premiere last week with PEOPLE.com, Cassadee went on to share the music video for Tomorrow Night via YouTube. Directed by Kamren Kennedy, the quirky video calls back to the style and feel of the early 2000s as it takes us through all the fidgety ways in which we may try to busy ourselves while aching for the time to pass. The conclusion of the music video features someone near and dear to Cassadee’s heart and who she can’t wait to see every day – her beloved dog, Cuppy!

“I knew I wanted the music video for ‘Tomorrow Night’ to be fun, quirky and early 2000s nostalgic,” says Cassadee. “I wrote the treatment and was so happy that Kamren Kennedy was up for bringing it to life. I’ve never had so much fun shooting a video before. Getting to spend the day shooting with my dog, Cuppy, was such a blast. I hope this video makes people smile and feel like they’ve been transported to a time that was so influential for me.”

Cassadee is a Grammy-nominated, platinum-certified singer-songwriter, and Thrive will be her ninth album when it drops next month. The album’s first single, the aforementioned What The Stars See – featuring Karen Fairchild and Lindsay Ell – is a raucous anthem about longing to see what a past partner is doing since going separate ways. Pope performed the track on The Kelly Clarkson Show where she also revealed  what the title of her latest collection would be. The project is special to Pope – blending her influences from her pop-punk days fronting the band Hey Monday, and the country music storytelling and songwriting that she now calls home.

Last year, Cassadee released her first acoustic solo album co-produced by Pope alongside Todd Lombardo. The project followed her album, Stages, featuring hit singles Take You HomeOne More Red Light, and If My Heart Had a Heart.

From fronting rock band Hey Monday, to winning Season Three of The Voice and releasing her #1 debut album Frame by Frame, Cassadee has effortlessly re-arranged the lines of country and pop. She has already experienced tremendous success throughout her career, with Platinum-selling single, Wasting All These Tears being awarded with Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2014 CMT Music Awards, and her #1 hit Think of You with Chris Young receiving a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group.

Cassadee has toured extensively, joining legendary artists Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley, playing London’s iconic O2 Arena during C2C: Country to Country Festival, and earning the distinction of the only country artist to perform at 2018’s Warped Tour. Cassadee performed If My Heart Had a Heart on the TODAY show and toured with Maren Morris on her Girl: The World Tour. Cassadee continued to tour throughout the spring of 2019 as the headliner of the 2019 CMT Next Women of Country Tour, which brought the franchise outside of the U.S. for the first time ever.

Put October 15th in your diaries now, because as far as contemporary country music goes, you’ll make few better moves this year. 

Rising singer-songwriter OLIVIA LANE is another name to watch out for, and she’s just released her new full-length album HEART CHANGE, whichisalsonowavailable to stream and download also. The album features eleven songs, all of which are written or co-written by Lane, along with well-acclaimed songwriters including Matt Nolen (Eric Paslay, Trace Atkins, Lindi Ortega) and Skip Black (Craig Morgan, Jana Kramer, LOCASH), among others.

“When thinking of what to name this body of work, I had to reflect on what I had experienced in my life over the last few years,” says Lane. “I’m learning heart changes lead to growth, maturity, heartbreak, heart mending and new ways to look at life. They are necessary in becoming our truest selves.”

Olivia’s new collection features the brand new song BREAK, as well as recently released Lois Lane, Woman At The Well, and I Let The Devil In which has received airplay across the UK and Europe following its exclusive first play on BBC Radio 2 in February. Streams for the album tracks released to date have already totalled over 3.9 million, with 2.4million+ views for the official music videos, and features on high profile playlists including Wild Country and PopCo (Spotify), New In Country (Apple Music) and Country Waves (TIDAL).

Most people would probably know Olivia Lane from her appearance on NBC’s Songland, as host of her Living Instead podcast, by the songs that have earned her recognition as one of country music’s new top female artists, or from the highly lauded entrepreneurial spirit that led to the launch of her own publishing venture, Liv Write Play Music. 

But, this new album, Heart Change, heralds the arrival of an Olivia Lane her fans have yet to experience. A Houston native, Lane spent time in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California before settling in Nashville in 2013. Her sweet, soulful voice and insightful songwriting helped Lane earn an enthusiastic following and she continues to grow her audience on her socials and her consistent headlining UK tours. She’s a savvy businesswoman who enjoys being a publisher and mentor. 

At her essence, Lane is a singer/songwriter, and entertainer, and she’s excited for her audience to experience the songs on her new album.

Add Heart Change to your music library and you’ll find that it’s a long-player you keep coming back to. 

And finally for now, we come to Big Loud Records’ Country riser MACKENZIE PORTER who has released track-one in a series of new songs to come with UNLONELY ME. 

Penned by Porter herself, along with Nick Bailey and Craig Wiseman, the song is a light and sunny ode to wanting to rekindle a former flame, and is an infectious country track.   “I wrote ‘Unlonely Me’ at the very start of quarantine in 2020,” explains Porter. “I was super resistant to write over Zoom because I’m very much an ‘energy in the writing room’ person, but when I jumped online with Craig Wiseman and Nick Bailey, I started playing those chords and this song just kind of fell out. We wrote it about the beginning of a relationship, but for me personally, it was about feeling pretty lonely at that time. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.”


This song comes on the heels of the launch of the Buy Dirt Tour withJordan Davisat The Fillmore in Minneapolis, MN. Porter is tapped as support for the tour this fall. From Minneapolis, she will start the three-month club run across the country, stopping at legendary rooms such as Webster Hall in New York City and Joe’s Live in Rosemont, IL. Porter also recently released a new Amazon Original cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn. Featured on the playlist cover, Amazon Music listeners could find Porter’s cover of Torn on the highly coveted Breakthrough Country playlist. They could also find her on Canada Now, Amazon Music’s playlist celebrating the best new Canadian music. 

The 2021 JUNO Award nominee for Country Album of the Year is also featured on hitmaker Dustin Lynch’s current single Thinking ‘Bout You that is quickly climbing up the U.S. Country radio charts. About to knock on the doors of the 20s, this song has shown itself to be a massive hit. Selected by Lynch during a blind audition, Porter delivers her signature “girl-next-door vocals” that, according to Billboard, “cut like a blade.” 

Recently wrapping her 2021 extension of The Loft Sessions, directed by Caleb Donato and shot at the iconic Bluebird Caféin Nashville, the series originally launched in 2019 with These Days and continued in January of 2020 with a cover of Alanis Morissette’s Hand In My Pocket. With Nashville taking notice of what American Songwriter magazine has called her “authentic heart”, and Billboard paying attention to “her mesmerizing vocals and hook-driven songs”, Porter was also inducted into CMT’s Next Women of Country Class of 2021, joining an elite sisterhood of trailblazers and tastemakers.


Signed to Big Loud Records, Porter is currently enjoying the spotlight thanks to her headline-making Thinking ‘Bout You collaboration with Dustin Lynch at Country radio, plus her own Drinkin’ Songs: The Collection, an arsenal of two years’ worth of new music produced by Joey Moi.

Since moving to Nashville in 2014 from her native Canada, MacKenzie has developed a radiant country style which threads the needle between traditional heart and modern energy, often collaborating with songwriting mainstays like Nicolle Galyon, Craig Wiseman, Natalie Hemby, and Tommy English. Her songs have sparked a list of headline-worthy accolades, including multiple Canadian Country Music Award nominations – four times for Female Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Fans’ Choice – as well as 2021 and 2015 JUNO Award nominations, both for Country Album of the Year


In really making her mark, Porter became the first female artist to have three back-to-back #1 singles at Canadian Country radio in twenty-two years with About YouThese Days and Seeing Other People in early 2020, following Shania Twain who last achieved that feat back in 1998. Porter also earned her first crossover Top 10 at Canadian Pop radio – a first since 2003 for a Canadian Country artist – with These Days (Remix), and joined CMT’s elite sisterhood of tastemakers and trailblazers as one of their Next Women of Country class of 2021.

The Pandora 2021 Country Artist to Watch has toured extensively on her own, also sharing stages with Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Chris Lane, Blake Shelton and Dallas Smith, and co-starred in the Netflix series, Travelers. Her newest release Unlonely Me is part of a series of new music to come.


THRIVE, the brand NEW album from CASSADEE POPE, will be available on all platforms from October 15th. HEART CHANGE, the NEW and full-length collection from OLIVIA LANE is OUT NOW, available on all platforms, as is the latest single from MACKENZIE PORTER, titled UNLONELY ME. 

ENDS

Marc Roberts

First Published August 2021

“PEOPLE NEED MUSIC”

Part 2

It’s far from a given that somebody who possesses an extraordinary talent will also possess a personality to match. One gentleman who effortlessly excels in both regards, however, is one of Ireland’s foremost talents when it comes to the gentle entwining of words and music, MARC ROBERTS. 


Truth be told, in fact, if some extraordinary talents were relying only – or even too much – on their personalities, they’d be in big, big trouble. And just to be clear, when I talk about personality in this context, I mean something as simple as someone’s ability or inclination to be friendly, to be respectful of others, to be able to show some sympathy, some empathy, and some compassion as a matter of course, rather than as an exception, or only when they have their ‘show’ face on. There are some in the world of entertainment who consider themselves to be ‘stars’ first, humans second. In their own minds, they walk among us, rather than with us. Not so with Marc. 


The Mayo native, who has made his home in the land of the tribes where he presents The Feel Good Factor on Galway Bay FM, is as down to earth and normal a chap as it could ever be your pleasure to meet. Marc is a genuinely extraordinary artist, as his latest single, CONSIDER IT DONE, proves yet again. And if you haven’t yet heard his previous release, the truly beautiful Don’t Let The Sun Get In Your Eyes, let that be exhibit B in this case. 


But as well as being s songwriter of considerable skill and renown himself, Marc was also the man responsible for introducing Daniel O’ Donnell to the craft in a serious way. But how, I wondered, did it all happen? This week, we get Part 2 of our recent chat with Marc underway by the man himself telling us all about it…


“Well Daniel has been a friend of mine forever, for as long as I can remember. And he’s always been a great encourager and a great friend in the business, without a doubt. And we have a similar sense of humour too, to be honest. Then in 2004, I toured Australia with him, as his guest artist. He’s always said he loves my songs, so I used to always send them to him. But then he’d come back and say, ‘It’s a gorgeous song…but it’s just not me.’ And I was like, ‘Well what IS you then?’ [Laughs]. I didn’t get that. You see, with me, cathartically, I have to write. And I love it. I won’t push myself, but when something happens I go there. So it could be rock, pop, rap, classical, anything, I have bits of everything. I just love music, like I love people. That’s just me. And it has to come out some way. So I’d send him all of these, and in hindsight, I could see afterwards why they weren’t suiting him or whatever. So it was Don, my manager [Collins], while we were on tour who said, ‘For God’s sake, I’m sick listening to the two of ye talkin’ about writing. Why don’t ye get together and try writing something?’ The thing with Daniel is that he’s very lyrical in the way he speaks. And he comes out with some very profound statements, and some very positive things. He has his own definite thoughts on things. Almost to a charismatic point where he can comfort people by some of the things he says without even realising how important it was that he said it.”

“So when we came back from Australia”, continued Marc, “I went to his house in Donegal, and we wrote ‘I Will Think Of You.’ And then the following day – I stayed over that night – and the following day we wrote another one. That was two. And he was absolutely thrilled. He just couldn’t believe it. He was ringing two of his friends and goin’, ‘I’ve actually written my first song.’ And he did his work [on the song] the same as I did mine. We trashed out ideas back and forth, just kind of teaching him in a way that there are certain things you can say, but by not saying it. And there are certain words you shouldn’t use that just don’t work in a song, that kind of thing. And it went from there. We had two on that album, ‘Live,Laugh, Love’, then we had three on the next album, including the title-track, ‘Yesterday’s Memories.’ And then the next one was ‘Until The Next Time’, and I wrote two-thirds of that album, pretty much. The first single that came off it was called ‘Crush On You’, which went Top 20 in the UK pop charts.” 

So would Marc say that songwriting is something that can be taught to someone who might have never even attempted it previously? Or would it have to be someone like Daniel who – as Marc had pointed out – is almost lyrical without even knowing it, so maybe just needed to be made aware of how close to being a songwriter he actually was? 


“I’d say it’s a mixture of both, to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s something you can teach people. It’s something innate that we [songwriters] have. And there’s a general thought that you don’t question it too much in case it disappears [laughs]. We all do different things in life. I can’t do things that other people can do. I would be, probably, a deep thinker, I would think a lot and would be working things out that way. And I know Daniel would be the same, from the point of view of having definite thoughts and ways of saying things. His fans are just so important to him, no more than my own are to me as well. I mean, they are the reason that we do what we do. We’ve been given an amazing responsibility and opportunity to do what we do for a living, and meet people in the process, and make people happy. It’s just an amazing thing. So, for him, I would have definite ideas and things of what he wanted to say, and he did. All we did was get together and we tried it, and it worked. My manager and I have written a song together, just the one. And again, it was down to something that kept recurring thought-wise, words-wise, idea-wise. We finished it together coming back one night from a gig. So I don’t think it’s something you can teach people. You can show people the idea of what songwriting entails, but I think a lot of the magic is something that you have to be born with. It’s just something that happens. And as I said, you don’t question it too much [laughs].” 

Songwriting is a funny thing on the Irish country scene, in that it can often be ignored. An artist like Derek Ryan, for example, will – quite rightly – be heralded as a figure to admire precisely because he’s such an excellent songwriter. But he’s not the only great songwriter in Irish country music. Yet, so often you’ll see Irish country artists covering American country songs that, of course, first entered the world as…original songs. So why not find great original songs from Irish writers too? As a songwriter, how does Marc see that side of things? 


“The only thing that really bothers me is that there’s an element of karaoke coming into the business that I don’t like. I’ve written with Derek, we’ve written three or four songs together, and we’ve had quite a lot of success with those. And everytime we meet we say we must get together again! I’ve written with Brian Kennedy, I’ve written with Jimmy MacCarthy, there’s quite a lot of people I’ve written with and loved the whole process. Gary Barlow calls it sharing the birth experience! [Laughs]. It’s great to get like-minds in a room and to just work at something, and see it evolve. So that’s the only problem I have with the business. There’s even karaoke tracks being released with vocals on them, and that’s not what the business is about. Derek Ryan and I always say that the amazing thing about writing a song and releasing it is that you KNOW that no-one else is going to have that song as their next single. Whereas if you’re recording covers all the time, there’s always a danger that somebody else is going to have the same song recorded with three-and-a-half-grand spent on it, and so did you! Then it’s a battle for the playlists [laughs]. But you see, for us, for people like yourself and myself that write and are in the business, it’s a total commitment. You’re there for every element of it. And there’s nothing nicer for me than to hear somebody who wrote something perform it. If you ever hear Jimmy MacCarthy perform his own songs, it’s just the most magical thing. And you realise why he used a particular word in a particular place…because it’s him. I did a lot of stuff with Jimmy down through the years and he’s just amazing, the way he thinks and the images he creates. People that do write their own songs, I have so much respect for them because you have bought in totally into the whole business. Everything about who you are and what you do is music. Even when you’re off, you’re writing. You’re thinking about songs. You’re coming up with something. Then you’re seeing if it’s good enough, will people identify with it? It’s a full-package kinda thing, which is what the Americans have done for years. But people have always covered songs, and if it’s a great song, or something that meant a lot to me, I would certainly do it. But I love the original element of things because you’re getting a part of the person really.” 

Of course it isn’t just Daniel from the O’ Donnell household that Marc has co-written with, having collaborated with Majella on When I Found You, a very special song for the couple…


“That was amazing, yeah. And the way we did it. It was Don again, my manager, who came up with the idea. Majella had said to me one time she was down in Galway – her sister lives here – that she wanted something special for the wedding, and she’d love to write a song. She has a great voice, you know. And she just wanted to do something different. So she wanted to write one, but she had no idea if she could. And to be honest, I had no idea whether she could or not either! But Don came up with the suggestion that Majella write Daniel a letter telling him exactly how she felt about him from the minute she met him, and how her life has changed. And God forbid, but if he was to head off to war tomorrow and she was never to see him again…what would she say? What are the things you would say to someone you loved who you might never see again. And you’d only have this one opportunity to do it. We were performing our tribute to the music of John Denver in the National Concert Hall in Dublin at the time, and Majella came to the show with one of her friends. And before the show she handed me a letter, and she said, ‘Do not show this to anybody or I’ll kill ya!’ [Laughs]. I said no problem. So I came back to Galway, and I live beside the beach. So I literally went to the beach with the guitar, opened the letter, and twenty minutes later I had a song called ‘When I Found You.’ And that title was one of her lines. The very first line in the letter was, ‘How can I put into words the way you make me feel’, and that’s the first line of the song. So I literally crafted the song out of what she had given me. ‘You’re everything I’ve lived for/ Somehow it feels so right/ You’re the sunlight in the morning/ You’re the stars above at night/ I want this day to last forever/ I hope it always will/ I thank God above for making dreams come true/ Cos he gave me all I wished when I found you.'”

Marc went on, “While I know Majella, and she’s a dear friend of mine – more so now than at the time, when I would only have known her for about a year and a half, and on occasions where I would have met herself and Daniel at shows or maybe out in Tenerife – but we wouldn’t have been as close as we are now. And you need to be close to someone [to write with them], almost to be able to give out to them, to say, ‘You can’t say that!’ [Laughs]. When you’re writing with somebody you have to be so honest. You need to know you can trust that person, that you can say whatever it is, and sound as stupid as you want. Because then the other person can come back and say, that won’t work…but this will! That kind of trust has to be there. Anyway, when she heard the song, she was just blown away. Because she could hear the various things she’d said, ya know. So on the day of the wedding, after the first dance, I went up on stage with the guitar and Majella came up and sang it. And she made a gorgeous job of it. I’ll tell ya, he was one shocked Daniel! First time I’ve ever seen him speechless [laughs].” 

While every song will, of course, have its own special place in his heart and its own memories attached to it, I wondered which songs in Marc’s own catalogue held a particularly special place in his affections? 


“Probably the one I mentioned before, ‘Four Empty Walls.’ Because every Sunday afternoon, myself and my mum and dad, and my sister, always went to my grandparent’s house for a visit. That was my mum’s mum and dad. It was something we always did, and always loved to do. It was just unquestionable that every Sunday that’s where we were going to be. And some of my other relations would arrive and it was just gorgeous, it really was. Then, over a short period of time, both my grandparents passed away. And it became too difficult for any of us to go back and see the house. But one day, without telling anybody, I hopped in my car and I drove to the house. The wall around the front of the house that was too high when I was a kid, I could step over. At the back of the house there was a tree. And I remember one day, myself and my sister, Marie, we were playing at the tree and we tied a little piece of the tree down to the ground, so it was like in an arch. It was just a small piece of a twig. And all these years later, I came back and that tree had totally grown into that shape. And it really got me. And the house, all that was left of it was four empty walls. I sat in the car, I was quite upset, and I wrote ‘Four Empty Walls’ from beginning to end. Then I put it away because I couldn’t tell anybody that I’d been to the house, because I didn’t want to upset them. As in emotionally. Not that they would have minded me going there. But eventually I did [tell them]. It’s just one of those songs that affect all of us. And then, Shay Healy, God rest his soul, heard me sing it, asked for a copy of it, and sent it to Ralph Murphy, who sadly is no longer with us as well. Ralph was one of the people behind me being one of the six Irish writers who would go to Nashville, because of that song. To this day, everytime I sing it I’m back there. And I see my grandparents, so it’s special. It means a hell of a lot. And I’m so happy to say that it means a lot to a lot of people. Because everybody has that one little house, that one place in their life that they can’t go back to.” 

Because it is such an emotional song, is it also a hard one for Marc to sing? 


“It can be. It’s even harder if my mum and dad are in the audience. So I literally just have to blank them out [laughs]. Because the last thing you’d want to do is to upset your parents, needless to say. But everybody is back in that moment when I sing it…and me too. It’s just one of those things, every little bit of it brings me back…”

One thing we couldn’t pass over before our chat came to an end, was the state that the music and ‘live’ events industries remained in. On the day we spoke, indoor dining had just returned, and yet, for music to return indoors, the road ahead was – and is – still as unclear as it had been six, eight, and more months ago. What did Marc think lies ahead? Or what way back is one he thinks would work? 


“I honestly don’t know. It’s a little bit frightening. We were the first to go, we’ll be the last to come back. And we’re always the first port of call for anybody who needs any celebrations or charity, or whatever. And I have no problem with that. That’s one thing I spent a lot of time doing in lockdown, doing a lot of stuff for charity, which I’m very proud of. We did a concert on Valentine’s night for the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, I put it together and compéred it, and sang on it. We got all our buddies, Daniel, and Nathan, and everybody else to do it. And we raised €69,000, which was amazing. Again, for a very worthy cause, because everybody is affected by something like that. But yeah, I honestly don’t know what the answer to those questions are. What scares me a little bit is that we’re not talked about that much, as an industry. I know for a fact people need music, in every sense. Emotionally, physically, socially, whatever it may be. Everybody needs it, and I think this has highlighted it. On the other hand, this is unprecedented, this has never happened before. So I mean, my heart goes out to the government at the same time, because there’s no blueprint. Everybody’s waiting to see what’s going to happen. It’s difficult for everybody. I have no idea how music is going to come back, be it in phases or whatever. But I really do believe that it has to come back. People cannot live without music. We can’t live without performing it, and people can’t live without that social element, and music’s release, and that ability to provoke thought. Everybody needs it. I’d be quietly positive, and I always would be, that we’ll get there.” 

Finally, we finished up with what is possibly my favourite question to ask anybody that I’m lucky enough to have a chat like this with. I asked Marc if he could remember one of the best lessons he’s ever learned, be it about life in general or specifically music related. And also, is there any one piece of advice he’s ever been given – again, about life in its broadest sense or just about music – that has stuck with him and served him well to this very day? 


“Great question. I went to secondary school in Gortnor Abbey in Crossmolina, which was the Jesus and Mary nuns. And they always said one thing: you have two ears and one mouth for a reason! And I think that’s the best advice in the world. Listen. Speak your mind, but listen when you’ve spoken, like I said in the song. It’s amazing even at gigs when you meet people, and how people can feel comfortable enough to talk to ya. Ok, it might end up in a song [laughs], but at the same time, I think it’s so important to listen. I really do. To anybody. I find in conversations, if there’s a lot of talk goin’ on, I get quieter [laughs]. I just listen. And that’s not being judgemental, it’s not being anything. I just feel that when the time is right, or if I have something to say, I ‘ll say it. But in the meantime, I’ll just keep quiet. That’s one of the most important things, and I’ve always remembered it…you have two ears and one mouth for a reason! Listen twice as much as you speak. And the other one then, well I remember being asked once by Brenda Balfe on RTE Radio 1, aroundabout the time of Eurovision, my favourite proverb. And it would be, ‘Never leave to do tomorrow what you can do today.’ Because if you do it today and you like it, then you can do it again tomorrow! [Laughs].

CONSIDER IT DONE, the brand new single from MARC ROBERTS, is OUT NOW, available on all platforms and to request from radio. You can also tune into Marc’s shows on Galway Bay FM every weekend, The Feel Good Factor (Saturday and Sunday afternoons), and Sunday Night Country.

ENDS

Marc Roberts

First Published August 2021

“BELIEVE THAT IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN”

Part 1

There are certain artists who don’t just fall into the category of ‘gentleman’ in the world of Irish music, but whose very names could well be used to define the term. And singer/songwriter MARC ROBERTS is most definitely one of those artists. Simply put, if you were to name someone with a bad word to say about Marc, I’d name you two liars in return. And you’d be one of them. 


As well as sharing his own considerable talents with us over the years, Marc has also represented Ireland on the international stage, taking the song Mysterious Woman – written by Nathan Carter’s manager (and no slouch himself in the songwriting department), John Farry – to within one place of glory in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest. Not just someone who happens to make his living in the music business, Marc also harbours a deep appreciation for those whose musical gifts have graced the world. This sense of gratitude led to him recording the album A Tribute to the Music of John Denver, with a live show performing the hits of the Country Roads legend also giving rise to ‘full-house’ signs going up at venues nationwide. In fact, that show even made it to Denver’s hometown of Colorado. 


It was under Marc’s expert guidance that Daniel O’ Donnell himself first ventured into the realm of songwriting, something we’ll come back to in much more detail during Part 2 of our chat. 


So, with all of the foregoing considered, it seems more than fitting – and especially given the monumental achievement of his fellow county-men in dethroning the Dubs at Croke Park last Saturday! – that we point the OTRT spotlight in the direction of this proud Mayo man this week. 

I had the pleasure of catching up with Marc a week or so ago, with the main reason for our chat being the release of his latest single, CONSIDER IT DONE. I asked Mark if that song was based on anything in particular from his own life, or was it more a case that he came up with the hook or a couple of good lines and just took it from there? 


“It’s kind of a mixture, because the expression, ‘consider it done’, just came to me, and I thought, wow, that’s catchy. But what could it mean, though? Then when I started to think about it, it’s kind of like how your life progresses and the way you should think. The chorus is, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride/ It’s not how you look, but how you feel inside/ And if you need a helping hand, consider it done.” Don’t ever be afraid to ask for a helping hand. It’s all about the whole idea that life is about choices. I was always torn between the expressions, ‘Everything comes to he who waits’, and then, ‘He who hesitates is lost.’ Because how can they both be right? ‘Consider It Done’ was on my first album, and for me at the time it was my perception of the business. How does it start…God, I’d need the guitar on my knee now to think of the lyrics [laughs]. ‘When you sit and count the stars in the sky/ You want to touch them, but they’re too damn high/ If you want the brightest star, consider it done.’ Everything seems like, oh my God…how is this gonna happen? But if you have a bit of belief and faith in yourself and what you’re doing, and you know it’s right…then karma! It’ll happen! If it’s supposed to happen, it will happen. Consider it done.” 

While I didn’t realise that Consider It Done had also appeared on Marc’s debut album, I did notice that it was also the title of his publishing company. So ‘consider it done’, as a phrase, obviously has a much deeper significance in Marc’s life? 


“Well yeah, that’s it. And that’s the explanation for it. It’s my publishing company, and our record label is C.I.D., which is also ‘consider it done.’ It’s like a positive affirmation. If you want something, consider it done. Believe in it. Believe that it’s going to happen, and have faith. The problem is a lot of us don’t know what it is we want [laughs]. I think everybody is the same, no matter what walk of life you’re in. You want something, whatever it is. But if you believe that it can happen, just believe in it, then consider it done. It will happen.” 

Marc mentioned how he was always torn between the two phrases, “He who hesitates is lost”, and “Everything comes to he who waits.” But of those two, which one did Marc himself tend to veer more towards, I wondered? 


“All my life it’s been a mixture of both, and that’s what always kind of confused me. How can they both be right? Everything comes to he who waits. So, if you sit back and wait for something to happen…allegedly it will happen. But I do believe that everything happens for a reason. People come into your life for a reason. Things happen in your life for a reason. So it would be more that than he who hesitates is lost. That used to always throw a spanner in the works for me. I used to try to figure out, well, if I hesitate too much…time is passing, life goes on, things change, everything changes. Music changes. Thankfully for me, that song still means as much to me as it did when I wrote it. And I see it in so many people, and it’s such a positive affirmation to have. Just consider it done, whatever it is.” 

Was there any particular reason why Marc wanted to bring the song back into the public arena right now?


“Because anytime that I performed it ‘live’, people loved it. And I wanted to bring it to a different audience. I got it remastered and edited for radio, so it sounds very much of what’s happening now in lots of ways. It’s very radio-friendly, and any presenter that’s heard it has loved it. So thankfully, from that point of view, it’s been playlisted everywhere, including RTE, which is great. It’s a very polished production. It was Chris O’ Brien and Graham Murphy that did it, and they’re both Grammy nominees, as you know, for their production. And Billy Farrell, who I write with, and produces quite a lot of my stuff, is also a Grammy nominated producer, he mastered it for me. There’s still a lot of people who hadn’t heard, so to them it’s a brand new song anyway.” 

Consider It Done is the follow up to Marc’s previous single, Don’t Let The Sun Get In Your Eyes. What process does Marc go through when he’s considering a new release? 


“Well, to be honest with you, I’d normally be a bit more organised than I am now [laughs], but with the way things are with the pandemic…! ‘Don’t Let The Sun Get In Your Eyes’ was a huge radio hit from our point of view, and again, it ticked a lot of boxes for me. It’s a song that I was inspired to write by my niece and nephew when they were kids. And it all came from the way when you’re a kid, and you know when you look up at the sun and you get tears in your eyes? And my wish for them was that the only time they’d have tears in their eyes was when they looked at the sun. So ‘Don’t Let The Sun Get In Your Eyes’ was my little way of twisting it around and saying don’t get those tears in your eyes. And again, the song was very much along the lines of something that you could live your life by, at any age. ‘Let tears of joy be the only tears you cry/ May the universe guide you in everything you do/ ‘Cause love will always see you through.’ It goes on, ‘Speak your mind, but listen when you’ve spoken/ Choose your words so no-one feels the pain/ Open your heart, although it may get broken/ Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ Again, it’s saying to live your life in a positive way. Be good to people. You’ll get it back tenfold. Help people whenever you can. And I’ve always lived my life by that. So that song was me telling them what I felt would help them in life.” 

Even just listening to Marc speak about those two songs – Consider It Done and Don’t Let The Sun Get In Your Eyes – and hearing him recite some of the lyrics, it really emphasises how philosophical a songwriter he seems to be. I asked Marc if he thought that was a fair observation? 


“Hmmm…I can be. Depending on the type of song. Those two songs, for instance, they almost wrote themselves, both of them. Because they’d be very much an extension of the way I would think. I wouldn’t like to see myself pontificating to people that they should do this, or that. But it’s to remind people that life is always full of choices. There’s lots of things that you can do. If it can be half-full or half-empty, it’s always better to be half-full. It’s that kind of thing. You only have to listen to the younger artists now to realise – and this is in general, in pop music, Ed Sherran, Tom Grennan, any of these guys – the lyrics are so important. I think people don’t realise how important they are. It’s not all about, ‘I love you and you love me.’ That’s been done a million times. You have to find a different way of saying that, but still keeping the sentiment. I think, if you can make people think, you’re halfway there. If it does nothing else but somebody gets something positive out of it… Usually people will just go, ‘Ah it’s a lovely song, I love the melody of it.’ But then all of a sudden they’ll come back and go, ‘Wow, I was listening to the words!’ It proves that the perfect marriage has to be both words and music. Words are so important. Down through the years, a lot of the time, they’ve become lost. And that’s a pity, because they’re very important.” 

Given how hard the last seventeen or so months have been for the music, entertainment, and arts industries, did being a songwriter help Marc to get through it all? Was he able to fill some of that extra time writing, or, like a lot of songwriters, did he actually find it a hard time to write? 


“Good question. I’ve done some writing, but no more than I would have ever done. I’m not very regimented and orderly in that sense. It’s hard to explain. I’ve never done a 9-to-5 writing job. I know that works for Gilbert O’ Sullivan and Chris De Burgh, and people like that, and that’s great. But I don’t know, I kind of consider that too much like work! [Laughs]. I always used to write better when coming home from a gig, it could be three or four o’ clock in the morning and there’s nobody on the road, you have a coffee, and you take your time. Just empty your head of any thoughts, and that’s when I get ideas. My only thing that I was very conscious of from the very beginning of Covid, was that I didn’t want to write anything negative. I didn’t want to write anything that was going to be very much of a pandemic type of song. Because we all just have had enough of it. We just want to get on with life. We want to get back to some semblance of normality. I wrote one with Charlie McGettigan, and in that one we actually went there. It’s one called ‘To Hold You Again.’ We were both kind of thinking God, ya know there’s people that would come to our gigs that we’d give a hug to at the end of it. And we were thinking if only we could get back to that person again, that would be an indication that things were normal! But, we’ll just have to wait. I’ve always done a little bit of writing, the usual scribbling down little bits and singing my heart out into my phone. That’s what I do. I’ve finished a song with Max T. Barnes, that’s going to be a single soon.”

CONSIDER IT DONE, the brand new single from MARC ROBERTS, is OUT NOW, available on all platforms and to request from radio. You can also tune into Marc’s shows on Galway Bay FM every weekend, The Feel Good Factor (Saturday and Sunday afternoons), and Sunday Night Country. 

ENDS