- 29 Jun 20
Soda Blonde discuss Irish women in the music industry, Dolores O'Riordan and Safe Ireland.
Undergoing a rebrand can be death for an artist. Luckily, in the case of Soda Blonde, the band members are so cohesive and so talented that the switch from the brooding alt-rock of Little Green Cars to the shimmering pop of Soda Blonde was ultimately seamless. It was a shift that made sense on an elemental level, one that allowed the group to explore new avenues of sound and its frontwoman and songwriter Faye O'Rourke to experiment with a new kind of persona.
"Personally, Dolores has been a hero and a style icon of mine since I was a kid. She brought politics into my life through the female voice, which ultimately has had a huge part to play in the way I write music," says O'Rourke.
There are easy comparisons to make between Soda Blonde and The Cranberries. The all-too-obvious one may be that they are both male-backed, female-fronted groups. Another would be the enigmatic nature of both women's voices, but where Dolores O'Riordan has consistently been hyper-celebrated for hers, I've often felt that O'Rourke's voice is the unsung – no pun intended – hero of the story. Soda Blonde has ensured that a voice with astonishing texture and range is amplified.
In addition to encouraging people to donate to Safe Ireland – "we need to keep trying to be conscious and in touch with helping those who need us in our communities" – Soda Blonde hopes that the 'Dreams' cover "has highlighted the talent Irish women possess.
"We're currently undervalued and grossly under supported by Irish radio. This has to change. I can't stress that enough."
Of course, she's right. As Linda Coogan Byrne's report on Irish radio play highlighted last week, radio stations – for whatever reason – seem to have a serious aversion to playing female artists, instead favouring the same five male artists for most frequent plays, across the board.
Hopefully, as this is called out we will start to see a sea change in the way women are included in the conversation, and for Soda Blonde, the 'Dreams' cover is the first step. "I was also incredibly impressed with RuthAnne's initiative to take this mammoth of a task, for such a valuable cause," she says. "I was just incredibly flattered to be included."
- Text SAFE to 50300 to donate €4 to Safe Ireland
Watch 'Dreams' below.
Image credit to Ste Murray.