- 11 Feb 21
Tadhg Williams’ new single, ‘The Hope Song’, is out later this month.
Your upcoming single, ‘The Hope Song’, was originally written when you were 18 – what was it like returning to it after all this time?
Since writing ‘The Hope Song’ I’ve definitely progressed as a songwriter – I almost don’t recognise that young boy anymore. I felt so proud of that song when I wrote it and to 18-year-old Tadhg, the lyrics meant a lot, so I feel like I’m giving voice to him by releasing it. There’s a lot of passion in the song, and I feel what we’ve done with the song production-wise fulfils the vision I had when I wrote it – the dramatisation of this naïve trans-Atlantic relationship I found myself in. I wrestled with the song for a long time, but grew to accept it and its innocence during the recording process.
Like your previous single, ‘My Father’s Clouds’, you’re exploring themes of family and home – why does that inspire you as an artist?
We’re recording the LP at the moment, and the whole project is based around those ideas. I had an English teacher in fifth year in school who I got on very well with, and his words ring in my head every time I sit down to write something: “write about what you know about.” I write a lot about Waterford and the people in it because I understand the city and its characters – and my family is full of characters.
'The Hope Song' is slightly different, in that it was written about somebody from a romantic perspective – but I suppose people can take it as any kind of relationship. Exploring the idea of home was probably a slightly pretentious thing for an 18-year-old to be writing about, but I believe there is a place in the world for everyone. It might not necessarily be where you were born, and you may spend years searching for it. That search can be quite painful for people, and even at that age, I recognised that in the person I was writing about. The lyrics are quite definite in presuming that that place is where the people who love you are – but with a few more years’ life experience behind me now, I know it's probably a bit more complicated than that.
The two singles also feature rich cinematic arrangements – what inspired that sound?
A lot of it comes from Pat O’Connor, the producer. When I went into the studio with Pat to record ‘My Father’s Clouds’ I heard something that floated between Van Morrison and the Hothouse Flowers. Pat composes film and documentary scores for a living, so his ear goes straight for the cinematic. ‘My Father’s Clouds’ and now ‘The Hope Song’ are the kind of songs that could act as a soundtrack. I try to imagine myself standing out in the rain with my arms outstretched when I’m listening back to them.
Modwords is this incredible community of writers and poets in Waterford run by Anna Jordan. She’s a powerhouse of a woman and one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and she pulled me into it. I took a lot of inspiration from those nights, and the exposure to gritty, honest, beautiful Waterford poetry. The idea for ‘The Story Of Me And Them’ came from a Modwords night. I heard Seán Dunne read a poem about his grandfather, and these images of dance halls started running through my head. Louis Quinlan and Alana Daly Mulligan are other Waterford writers I take a lot of inspiration from. These people are the reason I enjoy writing so much about Waterford. They’re the characters of the city, the people that give voice to it. Waterford would be airless without them.
‘The Hope Song’ is out on February 26.