- 24 May 22
Alt-folk star Ailbhe Reddy on her latest tune ‘Inhaling’, the first in a batch of eagerly anticipated new singles – and on challenging transphobic rhetoric.
Having earned a major domestic and international following with the release of her 2020 Choice-nominated debut, Personal History, alt-folk singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy is back with a raw new single ‘Inhaling’. Her current offering is shared via Ailbhe’s new label MNRK Music Group, an independent outfit that’s home to 50 labels, including world class music brands like Dualtone, Death Row, Last Gang, Indieblu and more.
‘Inhaling’ is about the sense of emptiness felt during the last two years, nostalgically looking back at times of freedom and fun.
“It’s all about being stuck inside all the time,” Ailbhe explains, “feeling bored and wishing you were out being an absolute idiot like you used to be (laughs). It’s the need for liveliness, which we’ve all missed. There was no spontaneity in life. Even when things opened up a little bit, restaurants and pubs had to be booked ahead of time. You’d be doing antigen tests non-stop.
"We’re not out of the woods yet, but it’s nice to have some of those fun moments back. ‘Inhaling’ is about yearning for that again. Now seems the opportune time to share it. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to the emotions and vulnerability within the lyrics.”
Ailbhe enjoys working with Tommy McLaughlin of SOAK, Villagers and Pillow Queens production fame.
“Tommy’s really great at getting the best out of everybody,” she nods. “He’s really easy to work with and listens to what the artist wants. I’m co-producing my next batch of tunes, which we’ll release every two months this year. ‘A Mess’ is out in June. I worked super-closely with Tommy on those tracks, but they’ve been finished since February 2021, before Bridie Monds-Watson and Pillow Queens recorded their albums.
“I signed with MNRK, which is great. I’m so excited for everyone to hear the new music. ‘A Mess’ is about not feeling good enough. It’s not like someone is making me feel that way, it’s just my own self-worth. There’ll be a video to go with that.”
Ailbhe is Dublin-based now – and looking forward to the summer months.
“I’m feeling really excited and positive,” enthuses Ailbhe. “I went on tour with Bridie and Tommy at the beginning of the year when things were just getting back to normal, which was amazing. We hadn’t booked flights or accommodation until about 10 days before, because we had no idea if it was going ahead or not, which is mad. It was a beautiful, intimate way to return to shows. To travel with two friends is a total blessing – working with them is just lovely.”
With Pride coming up after two years on pause, does Ailbhe have any big plans?
“I’m actually playing my friend Kate’s wedding that weekend, which is funny!” she laughs. “It feels like a pivotal year to celebrate LGBTQ+ rights, given the rise in violence and hate speech – and in particular, transphobic rhetoric online and in the media. People are setting a terrible precedent by not taking trans rights seriously enough.
“Even though LGBTQ+ artists get asked a lot about being queer in this world, and often we don’t want to be pigeonholed in a category, these questions are still important. Different people should be represented, and we need as many voices as possible supporting the LGBTQ+ umbrella as a whole at all times.”
• Ailbhe Reddy’s ‘Inhaling’ is out now.
Pre-order our full Pride issue below.