Irish singer / songwriter Maria Kelly is back with her latest single ‘Far Below’.

The single features on her upcoming EP ‘The Things I Should’, which will be released on  the 19th May. It is based on Maria’s struggle with self expression, and how always trying to please others can be unhealthy for you as an individual. The Far Below tour began on the 23rd April, and will continue until the end of May.

Upon the release of her single, Maria agreed to talk to GIGsoup’s James Handler.

Your single ‘Far Below’ has a unique style, yet still encompasses pop elements. Can we expect a similar sound from the rest of your EP?

Yes, to a point! I’ve always written quite pop-like melodies, using universal lyrical themes, both of which feature quite heavily on the EP. However, I’m also trying to incorporate the characteristic of indie-folk, with some added atmosphere, to hopefully come up with something that sounds a little different!

Where would you say most of your influences came from, in terms of your vocal style and musical interests?

I think my vocal style came from the artists that I listened to when I was younger; Lisa Hannigan, Regina Spektor, Lucy Rose. In terms of my musical interests, they definitely came from my parents (the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan), my older brother’s giant CD collection and my discoveries of singer-songwriters on YouTube like Gabrielle Aplin and Kina Grannis.

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I see that your new EP is from a very sensitive, deep place and is based upon your own life. Can you please elaborate on how you created the ideas for some of the songs from?

All four of the tracks on the EP came from personal experience. I’m pretty terrible at telling people what I think and feel, and the songs deal with the effects of doing that and also the frustration that comes along with it.

The songs come from different events, some quite tiny like an upsetting phone call and some a little deeper, like a relationship ending. But I guess all in all, they’re about the experience, frustration and consequences of not being honest with yourself or others.

 How are you finding studying at BIMM Dublin? I have read that you met your band there; how did you know that they would work well as part of your live show?

I really love it. It’s a great place to learn and grow as a musician and it’s definitely helped me to find out exactly what I want to do in the industry.

Regarding finding my band, it was pretty easy. There’s a whole range of excellent musicians in the college and from getting the chance to play with so many different people throughout my first two years, I had a fair idea of who would be a good fit for the project.

 You have been writing music since the age of 10! That’s quite astonishing. What genres did you experiment with, and what inspired you to begin writing music?

Thank you! Although, I’m sure at 10 years old, my songs were utter cringe haha.

I actually began with Irish traditional music. I started playing the guitar when I was 10 and my teacher was a well-known guitarist, so I picked up a lot of my picking patterns and rhythmic playing from him.

I started songwriting soon after and I guess folk would be the best way to describe what I was playing. Kina Grannis endlessly inspired me at that age, I loved her melodies and Regina Spektor played a major role in introducing me to lyric writing and storytelling.

What would you say is the most memorable gig you’ve played?

Definitely my recent support slot in Cork Opera House for James Vincent McMorrow. I know it’s really cheesy but that was such a dream gig. The venue was absolutely beautiful, the crowd was so kind and James and his whole crew were the loveliest people to work with.

 What can we expect from your upcoming live shows? You must be excited to start on the 23rd April!

Yes, I’m so excited! I’ve never done a headline tour before; I’m really looking forward to hitting the road.

In terms of what to expect, I think it’s going to be a little heavier than what people are expecting – there’re a lot of big outro sections, and loud drums but I think it delivers the frustration of the EP quite effectively. Other than that… lots of sad songs and impressive bass face from my bass player!

Will you be co-headlining all of your shows this year with Ailbhe Reddy?

No, not all! We start our co-headline tour this Saturday 29th, which spans for the guts of three weeks. But after that, I’m sure we’ll meet on a festival line up along the way!

 I’ve seen that you are playing at The Great Escape Festival in May! You must be looking forward to that! Have you played at any other festivals before?

Yes, I’ve never been to Brighton before so I’m really looking forward to that! I haven’t played a huge amount of festivals but I’ve been lucky enough to take part in Other Voices and in some Irish showcases like Hard Working Class Heroes. I hope to do the festival scene when I’m 100% confident with my live show (nearly there, I swear)!

If you could choose any venue or festival to play at and any artist to share the stage with at that venue, where and who would you choose?

Lucy Rose, the Olympia Theatre. I’ve been an embarrassingly big fan of Lucy for years and the Olympia is just one of my favourite venues – it kind of looks like a giant cake inside.

 Lastly, think of one question that you were hoping I’d ask you… Can you answer that?

I guess… “what’s next?”

For the summer, I can’t wait to get back into writing. I’ve found it quite difficult to write songs this past year (apart from the EP haha), and I’m finally itching to start writing as much as possible again. After that… more music!

‘The Things I Should’ EP will be released on the 19th May via Veta Records.

 

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