“I come from a musical family and I’ve always had an interest in music,” says Irish singer-songwriter LAOISE. “My relatives on my mother’s side play a lot of traditional Irish music, so when I began playing the violin, it was Irish music I played first. “ She may only just be staking her claim on the blogosphere currently, but the young artist has been pursuing a musical way of life for a long time. Playing the aforementioned violin during her childhood piqued her interest in creating and performing songs before, at the age of eleven, Laoise decided to teach herself guitar. “I think the fact that I was used to playing a stringed instrument made the learning process so much easier.”
All of this musical enthusiasm finally led her to the writing of her first songs, aged 15. “There was no way I was showing anyone my songs at that age! I was barely playing or singing for anyone when I was fourteen or fifteen. I actually only sang when no one was at home up until I was about sixteen!” she confesses. “I was so scared of someone listening to me, and I don’t really know why seeing as I came from such a musical household. I guess it was just because I felt vulnerable and bare, which was an extremely uncomfortable way for me to be growing up.”
Laoise was born and raised in Galway by a supportive family who encouraged her to find her passions in life, which even extended to taking hip-hop dance classes when she was younger (“I can’t dance for shit, but [my parents] never refused me trying a new instrument or experimenting with different styles and genres, something I’ll always admire them for.”) Inspired by iconic artists such as Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush and even Elvis, she listened to a great mix of music whilst growing up before turning her sights to pop and RnB.
“I’ve always been fascinated by [Bush’s] zany perception and realisation of the world and how that translates in her music, similar to David Bowie, who is another one of my heroes,” says Laoise. “But I think I started experimenting with electronic sounds because of how suggestive or expressive they can be. With guitar and piano, there’s not so much you can express because of their limited tone. With electronics, you can change the timbre and tone colour of any sound, and that just really excites me.”
Such enthusiasm for electronica is palpable in the recent reveal of her single ‘YOU’, a slick and brooding electro-pop number infused with RnB undertones and Laoise’s sparkling vocal. It is clear that she has found her niche after experimenting with differing sounds throughout her teen years, and ‘YOU’ is the first track to be unveiled from her forthcoming EP, Halfway, which is set for release in January of 2017. Halfway was recorded in collaboration with producer Seán Behan earlier this year, and it was quickly apparent that it was to be a no-frills, DIY affair. “Seán and I started recording the EP for fun really,” says Laoise. “We just wanted to learn a little bit more about arrangement and production. Keeping it DIY made it simple and left no room for complication because we wanted to focus on the music itself before anything else. I think that’s why it’s so special to us.”
Having recorded Halfway using a single microphone and an old laptop is no mean feat and only made more impressive given the slick quality that was evident on ‘YOU’. Perhaps it is the lack of pressure that has made the project so fruitful as of yet, with Laoise writing songs first and foremost for herself. “Music itself has always provided a form of catharsis for me, but writing about difficult, or what sometimes feels like, unmanageable emotions, plays a huge part in my overall wellbeing.” And despite it taking Laoise a long time to become accustomed to writing in this way, she is thankful for the ability to do so now. “I find it quite difficult to shut my brain off a lot of the time, and being able to even write about that or make something of it is especially purgative.”
Laoise clearly has a healthy attitude towards pursuing her career as an artist and songwriter, taking the reins of various opportunities so as to propel herself further forward. From the aforementioned restrictions in recording Halfway to her willingness to tackle new instruments, Laoise is all about finding new challenges for herself, and one such challenge was ‘YOU’ itself, in which she opts to restrict herself to three chords and see how far she could take it. Clearly, the experiment worked in her favour.
“Having ultimate freedom in any craft is obviously liberating, [but] I think being a songwriter alone is always a challenging role to play solely because there are no rules.” She explains. “I also think it’s a challenge for any artist to find a balance between their originality and experimentation. I might have found a sound that suits me now, but I can’t keep making the same track over and over, so I constantly push myself to incorporate different genres and styles into my music while trying to keep it ‘me’ at the same time. It’s definitely important to me that I keep challenging myself in the future.” We can’t wait to see where she takes her sound next…
LAOISE’s single ‘YOU’ is available to purchase now. Her upcoming EP Halfway is out in January 2017.