- 01 Dec 23
Hot off the heels of supporting The Coronas’ tour in Australia, a jet-lagged Róisin O sat down and chatted with Hot Press about her upcoming Christmas gigs, her New Year song writing plans and how Australian crowds are like ‘Coppers on steroids’.
“Touring with those boys- they’re like all my brothers really” - particularly The Coronas' Danny O’Reilly who is quite literally Roisín’s brother- “I have known them my whole life so it was magical - it’s not work really, it's good fun”.
Although straight off the plane from her string of Australian dates, Róisín O is remarkably glamorous from what I can see through the Zoom screen; a smart white blazer, loose wavy curls and American-style teeth, radiantly pearly and straight.
“Honestly, the gigs were just amazing. I was opening the show and it can be daunting - those shows, because I was going out on my own. Normally in Ireland I would have the band with me so I’m really out of my comfort zone when I play acoustically”.
However taking the leap of faith and playing for this new audience had its rewards: “Their crowds are crazy Irish crowds- it was like being in Coppers but on steroids! They’re there to have a good time.” And even, some of the crowds- although they were for the Coronas- were well acquainted with Roisín O: “There were one or two like in Sydney where they were chanting my name before I even got out. It was beautiful - I had them singing by the end of the shows”.
So was the stint in OZ a good means of practice for her upcoming Christmas shows? “Yeah for sure. Good training for crowd control. I tend to play a lot more instruments when I am playing on my own then when I am in a band. Usually I’m just concentrating on my vocals for the most part when I play with my band. It’s great practice and has me buzzing for my next shows next week”.
But what can listeners expect from the artist's two highly anticipated gigs- one in Wexford’s Crown on December 2nd and one in The Academy on December 7th?
“I’ll be doing a lot of my old stuff and some brand new stuff that I have never played before so I am really excited.” In spite of training with her solo performance, her upcoming gigs will feature a full musical ensemble; I’m playing with the biggest band I have ever played with before so it’s gonna be a big sound, lots of energy, and lots of storytelling”.
Dublin fans are in for a particularly special treat, although what, the artist won’t exactly let on; “There are definitely going to be some surprises particularly at the Dublin Show”. She continues coyly; “Yeah some very special guests. A lot of very special guests coming up which I haven’t done in a long time”. With tantalising secrecy she concludes “This year has been such a big year of collaboration for me with so many different people so it just felt like the right time to call people”.
Reflecting on what has been a big year for Róisín O between releasing her latest single the gorgeous ‘Chris Pratt’, and touring her Irish number 1 album Courageous, Róisín has barely had time to draw breath so she is looking forward to Christmas: “Right up until Christmas we are all really busy so Christmas is our time to relax and be together”.
Given that Róisín is the daughter of legendary Irish folk singer Mary Black, and sister of The Coronas frontman Danny Reilly, I can't help but ask the question ‘Are there any musical traditions at the O’Reilly-Black household?
“Our tradition is not to play music!”, she laughs “People always ask us that, they think we’re like the fucking Von Trapp family at Christmas time. No, but it’s not a conscious decision to not play music but it’s our time off from music- it’s our time where we hang out”.
She reflects, and continues saying: “No massive tradition but we just eat our mam’s amazing cooking- she’s a really good cook”. Something the general public may not have known about Mary Black.
The musical dynasty will be heading down to Dingle for New Year’s Eve, where Róisín Ó will spend will the bulk of January kicking off what will be a jam packed 2024 for the artist: “I will be spending most of January down in Dingle writing the next batch of songs for the next album. Hopefully I’ll be going into the studio in February. Then it's back to touring really and I’ll be over in America in March”. And if that doesn’t sound quite busy enough, Róisín hints fans can expect an Irish tour in 2024 “Hopefully I will be doing another Irish tour in April/May next year”. This is what she described as the plan to “continue to live this deadly life”.
Which leaves us with the final question, what is the feeling Róisín Ó wants audience members over the coming week to take away from her upcoming shows? “I would like people to take away that they are not alone. I would love it if people could come to the show and feel that sense of sadness if they can relate to those songs but also a sense of joy - it’s gonna be a happy gig. It has a journey in of itself that I talk about on stage and the story of these songs. Even me being on stage is a happy ending in of itself so i just want to share that”.