- 23 Jun 20
"I was desperate to turn on the radio or go to an Irish festival and come across female musicians I could look up to".
Orla Gartland's bell-toned voice opens the Irish Women in Harmony cover of 'Dreams'. The young Dubliner – who has since relocated to London – has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard. It's a perfect blend of strength and fragility, not unlike Dolores O'Riordan's.
"She’s the ultimate figurehead of strong Irish women in music," Gartland says. "Her spirit is just unparalleled – she certainly didn’t strike me as someone who would have let her gender hold her or her career back in any way." When Gartland was approached by RuthAnne, she was "immediately struck by how many other women had the same thought I’ve had for years – opportunities for media exposure and gigs in Ireland work overwhelmingly in favour of male musicians. There are so many incredible female musicians at home and yet they’re rarely given a spotlight – this collaboration seemed like a first step in turning that tired narrative on its head and creating a spotlight of our own."
The young singer has garnered much of her recognition as a YouTuber, working with musicians like dodie. Her single 'Did It To Myself' was recently featured on Normal People. Those two things should be proof enough that female musicians deserve a seat at the table, or a slot in the festival lineup.
"There are tons of incredible Irish musicians," she says ruefully, "and – shock horror – many of them are female! As a teenager growing up in Dublin, I was desperate to turn on the radio or go to an Irish festival and come across female musicians I could look up to, but they seemed few and far between. So I hope this collaboration could give that feeling to girls and women considering a career in music. That would be amazing. Aside from that I hope people can listen and feel some sense of comfort and togetherness in a mad time."
Watch 'Dreams' below.