- 23 Nov 20
Larabelle's debut single, 'Monster', released earlier this year, explores mental health and addiction, and has set the 18-year-old artist on course for stardom.
Although barely out of secondary school, Donegal singer-songwriter Larabelle boasts a powerful talent that belies her age. The musician kicked off her livestream set with an acoustic cover of Britney Spears' pop hit 'Toxic', slowing down the tempo to offer an indie version of the gem. Having just moved up to Dublin to further explore her songwriting abilities, the teenager shows off her vocals with ease in her opening rendition. Her next track is 'Why Lie', written this time last year. A heartfelt song about disguising emotional turmoil and pretending to feel fine, it fits in perfectly with the frustration and mental health difficulties facing much of Ireland's young population currently.
Next up is 'Outcast', with Larabelle commenting that she's never written a song this complicated on guitar before'. If she finds the guitar melody difficult to maintain along with her vocals, she certainly doesn't express this during the set. 'Outcast' explores loneliness, isolation, exclusion and searching in vain for a sense of belonging. Mature themes for an 18-year-old to crack into, but the Donegal native doesn't shy away from tough times in her lyrics. "Time to open up / This will cost you life / If you don't realise what you're doing to yourself," she sings.
Larabelle's next single, 'Tout le Monde', is performed following 'Outcast', with a faster beat and a catchy rhythm changing the atmosphere of the set. 'Threat' was written when her dad went for a nap two weeks ago ("He takes really long naps!" she says), and explores damaging connections from the past that stay with you and taint your ability to make new ones:
"These people broke my heart before it was whole / How do I approach love when we've never met? / You reach out your hand and I see it as a threat / I don't know what's wrong or right for me yet."
Beautiful and vulnerable lyrics offers Larabelle's music an unyielding sense of maturity. 'The Game' was written in the first lockdown, and her final track 'Monster' was written when she was just 16 and tackles addiction and mental health. Her first single is brutally open and comes from the perspective of the addict, with dreamy harmonies and a palpable feeling of both defeat and relief emanating from the words. "It's happening, I feel it crawling through my veins." The final song perfectly illustrates Larabelle's talent - a bright future most definitely lies ahead.
Watch the full Y&E Series livestream from Larabelle below:
The Y&E Series continues to shine a light on some of the best new and emerging talent that Ireland has to offer in 2020. Following the success of the previous two editions of the Y&E Series, you can once again expect 40 brilliant acts to join Hot Press on Instagram for special live-streamed performances.
Watch Eoin Glacken tonight, November 23, as part of the Hot Press Lockdown Sessions' The Y&E Series, supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media – live on the Hot Press Instagram (@hotpressmagazine) at 7.30pm.