- 28 Oct 23
Last night, the Dorset native kicked off the Bank Holiday weekend with a stripped-back acoustic set of her emotive indie-pop singles, showcasing her newest and unreleased tracks for her Y&E series audience – supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media…
Having grown up in an Irish family in the tranquil embrace of Dorset, Siobhán Winifred’s music has deservedly earned plaudits from some notable names in music - including James Bay, Modernlove., and BBC Introducing.
Inspired by acts such as Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen, and Alex Turner, her most recent ethereal single ‘Killers’ explores navigating complicated relationships with narcissistic individuals – showcasing her innate ability to transform complex human experiences into poignant musical narratives.
That talent was brought to Friday evening’s Y&E Series performance, as Winifred took over for a memorable, stripped-back set.
Greeting everyone as she strummed her guitar, Winifred introduced the first track of the evening, her latest single ‘Killers.’ Her voice danced over the top of melancholy guitar chords, singing shockingly self-aware lyrics that revolved around walking the very thin tightrope between forgiveness and anger toward a person.
“Maybe you’re like those killers that don’t know why they did it, just had the urge, had to indulge it,” she sang, her vocals emotive and melodic as they reached out to her audience with a tender embrace.
“I haven’t played it live much, so that was cool,” Winifred shared, before introducing the next song, ‘This House.’ “It’s kind of a sad one about seeing someone move on and feeling a bit claustrophobic,” she detailed, “like being happy for them, but not wanting to watch it.”
Winifred’s rasp vocals exuded an emotional breadth on the lullaby of a sad song, with a characteristic soulfulness to her tone. “Please don’t ask me how I’ve been, I hate lying to you lying about him,” she lamented, before cooing into the chorus lines, “This house ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
Showcasing an aspect of her unique songwriting, Winifred makes a metaphor out of relatable images, with lines that paint as clear a picture as, “This drink ain’t strong enough to watch you fall in love.”
The singer-songwriter paused to gush momentarily over the comments, then dove into the next track, ‘Sober.’ “It’s about a situationship, you know?” she laughed, clearly knowing her target audience to a T. “Someone kind of only getting in touch when…they’re a bit drunk,” Winifred added with a laugh.
The playful, jumpy guitar on the track almost distracted from sombre lyrics that cut through the heart of Winifred’s listeners. “You won’t say it sober, so I’ll hope we’re hungover in the morning,” she sang on the chorus, balancing the joy of hopefulness with the shattering realisation that a relationship that has no future.
Winifred sang for her virtual audience with the kind of ease that comes naturally to a true storyteller, with an authentic voice that makes it impossible to stop listening. Not that you’d want to. Her lyrics seem to tell the listener something about themselves with her brutal brand of honesty — the defining mark of any important piece of music.
That’s a feeling Winifred knows well, being a music fan herself. Introducing her next song, a cover of Sam Fender’s ‘Angel in Lothian,’ the singer shared, “His music just means so much to me. I just think he’s the best.”
A song made up of verses without a chorus, she did her icon justice with a vocal performance that highlighted the brokenness of Fender’s lyrics, sung over a delicate fingerpicked melody.
Next up, the unreleased token ‘Stay For Good,’ which Winifred shared is “really upbeat and poppy” on the recorded version. The strings were quick from the jump, with a heart-pumping rhythm that set it apart from her other, more melancholic tracks.
A song about using someone to hold yourself accountable during a bad mental health period, the song reflected the desperateness of needing a person to stay in your life in order to keep healing. The fast, breathless pace embodied the themes of Winifred’s lyrics, as she sang, “Turn me over, I’ll turn a new lead, give me something to believe in.”
She paused to respond to her audience’s reactions, gushing, “Aw, thanks guys. It’s so nice that you’re here.”
Moving into a slower one, Winifred briefed ‘Keep Sweet,’ another unreleased track. “It’s a similar sort of thing,” she explained of the song, “about maybe not having enough self-respect, going along with things and keeping sweet because someone’s got a bad side you want to avoid.”
The songwriter’s brutal honesty and empowering reflection shone bright on the song, as she lamented, “I’m just keeping you sweet, I don’t feel anything.” That brand of honesty — the unbarred kind — is what makes Winifred’s music so infectious: how she takes the things many feel deep inside and lays the unspoken bare in her music.
After taking a moment to thank Hot Press and her fans for the opportunity to play the live-streamed show, Winifred concluded her Y&E performance by taking it back to the very start: with her debut 2022 single, ‘Black Hole.’
“If anyone knows it,” she said, “hopefully you’re singing along, wherever you are.”
A love song at its core, ‘Black Hole’ carried the same upbeat, pulsing beat of that initial lovestruck feeling on Winifred’s stripped-back performance. “When she said forget it, I just fell in love,” she cooed again and again on the chorus, and her virtual audience was compelled to hum right along.
Watch Siobhán Winifred’s full Y&E Series performance below:
More acts coming up…
Saturday 28th: Aaron Rowe
Aaron Rowe has earned acclaim in his native Dublin for his powerful vocal ability. No stranger to the live scene, he has supported Irish titans like Christy Dignam, Gavin James, Paddy Casey and Mik Pyro amongst many others. Rowe makes his long overdue transition from pub singer to bona-fide recording artist with the emotive 'Drawing The Line' - a song encapsulating the artist's struggle for self-esteem following an untimely break-up.
Sunday 29th: Taylor D
A Clondalkin native transcending conventional pop boundaries , this award-winning songwriter has been making waves across the globe - crowned "First Choice Radio UK Artist of the Year," Taylor D’s music has garnered radio play as far away as Australia, Japan and the U.S. Her flirtatious Fan Girl EP is a fun homage to her listeners and pop diva superfans all over the world.
Monday 30th: Anikẹ Akano
With a smooth and fervent sound that effortlessly combines elements of R&B, folk, and indie pop, Anikẹ Akano - at just 18 years old - is already making a name for herself in the music industry. Releasing her much-anticipated debut single ‘Passing By’ in November, Anikẹ’s unique blend of eloquent melodies and harrowing lyrics is certain to capture hearts - leaving listeners eager for more.
Tuesday 31st: Holly Munro
An Irish singer-songwriter gaining recognition for her electronic-infused brand of folk-pop, Holly Munro's distinct sound draws inspiration from icons Bjork, Kate Bush, and Joni Mitchell. She also happens to be Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor's sister, spending most of her days alongside her producer in the same Somerset studio that Tears For Fears recorded Songs From The Big Chair in. With its folk sensibilities and ambient textures, her upcoming EP Up Against Your Nature is both reassuringly nostalgic yet excitingly fresh.
Wednesday 1st: Polly Barrett
Already renowned in the Irish folk scene with two studio albums under her belt, Polly Barrett is no stranger to the creative process and performing - having recently appeared at the Milwaukee Irish Fest alongside the Coronas, Wallis Bird and a host of Irish acts. Rediscovering her creativity through Forest Therapy, she explores the overwhelming love for one's child and parenthood on her new album Sapling be… a journey through motherhood, love and loss, the very life cycle of nature itself.