- 19 Apr 22
Revisit the pop artist's set on the Y&E Series below – supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
Last night's Y&E takeover featured the incredible songwriting and vocal talents of Xona. Inspired by '80s pop and R&B, Xona's music overflows with the great loves, memories, and dramas pulled from his life experience. His set is intercut with poignant and unexpectedly hilarious commentary making this performance one to rewatch.
Xona has fast become one of the most hotly tipped forces in Irish music. He released his debut EP, In My Head, last year, via Welcome To the New World – a Berlin-based label that also represents Tolü Makay. After moving from Lagos to Ireland at the age of 10, he spent his teen years immersed in music, before emerging as a star in the Irish underground music scene, with a sound influenced by jazz, electronic, house, rock, classical and more.
His first song 'Waiting' is packed with the singer's signature melodrama. Its lyrics deal with unrequited love: "Because you love the ride, you love the pain, and you don't want to admit it to yourself."
It takes no time for his voice to break through and unleash his unique talent. The tenor hits ambitious high notes, slipping into falsetto at times to stretch the full extent of his range.
'This Could Be Us' shows us a healthier side of love. He pours his heart into the performance, succeeding in his goal to emulate the star-quality of his '80s pop idols. "I want to write songs that are so heavy on your heart," he says, "Because love is a gift."
He demonstrates his incredible vocal talent further with a cover of ‘A Song For You’ by Donny Hathaway.
His set concludes with 'Slow Dancing', another romance-fuelled ballad from his debut EP.
"I write these songs where, no matter where I am in my life, I can always remember where I was," he expresses. "I'm always obsessed with the passage of time - how people come into your life and go. And I don't want to forget them, I want to remember what it was like being with them in my heart. But I think a song is the easiest way you can do that. It's the easiest way to convert something that's so heavy in your heart into something almost corporeal that you can touch. So even when I'm 60 or 70, I'll remember that I was so overwhelmed by this feeling that took over me."
He encouraged listeners to stay posted for new songs to be released in the upcoming months.
Watch the Hot Press Y&E Series – supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media – live on the Hot Press Instagram (@hotpressmagazine) at 7pm each night.
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Coming up on the Y&E Series:
Tuesday, April 19: Slaney
As well as being a hugely talented actress – who appeared in the hit series Normal People – Slaney has established herself as one of the most exciting emerging forces in Irish pop. After joining forces with producer Michael Hopkins, the Carlow artist has released a string of lauded dance-pop singles, which have earned coveted spots on Spotify editorial playlists like New Music Friday UK, New Pop UK, Irish Dance, Fresh Finds, Chilled Pop Hits, Fresh Finds Pop and A Breath of Fresh Eire. She’s also been snapped up by Paradigm Talent Agency for worldwide live representation.
Wednesday, April 20: Jesse June
Nigerian-Irish rising star Jesse June built up a reputation as a thrilling new force in Irish music, with 2021 singles 'Hide My Feelings' and 'Gotta Be Frank', following a string of Soundcloud releases. While we eagerly await his next release, he's also sharing his writings on his newly launched website, jessejune.com
Thursday, April 21: Dáwna
Hailing from Tipperary, Dáwna initially built up his reputation busking in cities and towns around Ireland. Since 2019, he's steadily been releasing a selection of well-received singles – including his latest track, 'I L L I A D'. He's also clocked up support slots for the likes of Hermitage Green and Susan O'Neill, and launched his latest single with a sold-out headline show at The Kenyon Bar in Nenagh.
Friday, April 22: PrYmary Colours
Featuring Cayisha on vocals and Daz on production, PrYmary Colours have brought a bold new energy to the Irish dance music scene. This duo have already made their mark at the House Of Yes club in New York, the Olympia Theatre in Dublin and a wide selection of festival stages. In October, they released their powerful single ‘The Movement’ – a rallying cry against racial injustice.
Saturday, April 23: Caleb Kunle
Drawing inspiration from the three locations he calls home – Lagos, Laois and London – Caleb Kunle is rapidly emerging as a captivating new talent on the international stage, with his unique blend of soul, folk, jazz and more. Back in November, he shared his latest single, 'Could Be Good' – which is his first release on Hackney-based independent label Pony Recordings.
Sunday, April 24: BRÍDÍN
Hailing from Co. Sligo, BRÍDÍN carries the tradition of Irish music into the fourth generation of her family – playing harp, flute, piano and dancing sean nós. After achieving a master’s degree in music, she’s continued to develop her own unique style, bringing a modern energy to her traditional influences. She released her Ocean Of Stars EP in 2021, which featured an appearance from Colm Mac Con Iomaire.
Monday, April 25: Amberlight
Made up of vocalist Lauren Doherty and guitarist/producer/songwriter Paul Casey, this Derry duo have been busy over the last two years, releasing an exciting selection of singles and accompanying videos, including the likes of 'The Song My Heart Sings' , 'Strong Enough', 'Only Love (A Fisherman's Lament)' and 'Peace at Last'. They also contributed to the Rave On, Van Morrison series, performing a cover of 'Celtic New Year'.