- 07 Jan 21
If you’re looking for Irish stars in the making, step this way… Photo: Smoothboi Ezra.
Snapped up recently by Collective Management, the same Dublin stable that’s brought you Laura Izibor and Gavin James, Brad Heidi impresses – and then some – on his self-titled debut EP, which features ‘Hearts Get Broken Sometimes’, ‘Dreamer’, ‘She’ and ‘Latte Master’.
From the North but based in Galway, the 22-year-old has busked his way round Ireland and over to London where there’s a massive buzz about him.
The comparisons with Dermot Kennedy and Ed Sheeran are inevitable and, to a degree, justified but Brad is very much his own man with his lyrics striking a very personal chord.
Also make sure to check out his Hot Press Lockdown Sessions Y&E Series set, which is lurking with considerable intent on our Insta. Find out more on page 12!
Another former Lockdown session-er Smoothboi Ezra is also garnering lots of A&R attention and no little Irish radio airplay with the Gen Z chronicling ‘My Own Person’.
“I don’t know what a song means when I’m writing it,” Smoothboi tells us. “I don’t make a plan. I find myself basically doing a brain dump.”
Which is as eloquent a way as describing the process as any!
Continuing our series of rapidly rising Y&E Series acts is KK Lewis, another former busker who’s 20, from Dublin and was also part of this year’s Whelan’s One To Watch line-up.
Originally a poet, her ‘Loop Now’ single was partially inspired by a spell playing her soulful tunes on the streets of Berlin.
It’s hats off to the buskers (and the Lockdown Sessions) again as 16-year-old Saibh Skelly demonstrates a songwriting ability way beyond her years.
It’s early days obviously but having built up a loyal Grafton Street following and turned that into a formidable YouTube and Insta presence, she’s definitely one to keep tabs on.
Power and passion are delivered in equal measure by Ugly Beautiful on their Another Time EP.
Very much of the grunge persuasion, the Leeside trio originally started out in 2007 as Satellite Escape, but changed names in 2010 to coincide with the release of their Paradise album.
You can tell from the tightness of their playing that they’ve got history together and will, as soon as Covid permits, be tearing up live stages wherever they roam.
In one of those great random stories, Cynema, a Newbridge electronica merchant and O’Sullivan, a Dublin indie-popper now living in Budapest, met at a small music festival in Transylvania in western Romania. The former loved the latter’s ‘Little Bird’ single and has given it a lush Four Tet/Bicep-ish makeover.
We absolutely adore it.
The Guardian and Later… With Jools Holland are among those picking up on For Those I Love’s ‘I Have A Love’, which has been given a ravey remix by XL Recordings duo Overmomdo.
FTIL is the nom de studio of 29-year-old Dubliner David Balfe who wrote the song as a tribute to his former bandmate, Paul Curran, who passed away in 2018.
His debut album, which includes Massive Attack, Mount Kimbie and Burial among its reference points, is due early in 2021 and tackles such pertinent social issues as sexism, classism and the prison industrial complex.
Having racked up a healthy 170,000-plus Spotify plays of previous single, ‘Big Wave’, majestic pop trio Rowan have released their first EP, No One Is Safe Here.
Accompanied by a video shot in various Cork locales – the Shandon Tower is a dead giveaway! – the lead track, ‘I Had A Dream’, is a big power ballad deserving of copious radio play.
With the various members working in the past with the likes of Lyra, TOUCAN, The Stunning, Little Hours and The Frank And Walters, they’re a band in it for the long haul and ready to go gig crazy when the pandemic permits.
Also from the Real Capital but now residing in Glasgow is Jen Ella whose emotionally charged ‘Lipstick Queen’ nods at the likes of Eva Cassidy, Dolores O’Riordan and Stevie Nicks in her more melancholy moments.
Malcolm Lally timewarps back to the ‘80s on ‘California’, a veritable ray of sunshine on a rainy day from the Galway singer-songwriter who is a previous Christmas FM Song Contest winner with ‘Christmas Time (Baby You Are Mine)’.
Unashamedly in thrall to Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, this superior slice of synth pop might sound super-glossy but carries a gritty anti-climate change message.
The Rev. John Wayne McSweeney, AKA Street Corner Messiahs, is giving a pre-Christmas push to his gorgeous ‘Fly Robin Fly’ single, which celebrates the great Robin Williams.
The Cork singer-songwriter, who plucks a mean acoustic, is donating all of the iTunes profits to his hometown Money For Penny Dinners charity.
Having been among the standout acts at Irish Music Week, Patricia Lalor has released a new EP, This Is How We Connect, While You Stand So Tall, which is brooding vocals, dark synths and the sort of soul searching you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a 15-year-old.
Having started her own YouTube channel when she was eleven, the Wexford singer-songwriter now has 164,000 subscribers and the nascent talent to be massive.