Kym Duignan caught up with singer, songwriter and all round creative being LAOISE ahead of her show in the Grand Social this Saturday to talk touring, her take on the current music industry and plans for 2019…
So you are currently on tour with your latest single ‘Again’, what inspired you to make the track?
I had been struggling to write at the beginning of the year actually. I was finding it hard to take in everything that was happening around me. Women’s health and our rights were being debated here in Ireland at every corner you turned, and some things weren’t very nice to hear. Becoming 21 and understanding what it means to be a woman amidst all of this
chaos was overwhelming, and the way I dealt with it was writing this song. I sat down at the piano and I wrote the bones of the song in about 15 minutes back in March, it just came pouring out of me as if it had been suppressed for too long. It was quietly confident, and we all worked to pull that confidence to the forefront. Listening back now, I can hear that it’s not just about other people deciphering what I’m worth, that’s for me to decide.
What is your favourite part about going on tour?
The reaction of the audience. Hearing your lyrics sung back – I know it sounds so cheesy – but it’s genuinely amazing. Having fun with the band, and being free on stage – especially with my new material
which is just so honest and where I’m at right now is just the best. I want to play live as much as possible.
You’ve done many live performances over the last few years, have you ever had anything not go according to plan during a performance?
Going up against Post Malone at Longitude was a challenge! But y’know what, the people who turned up to the tent really got into it. And the promoters really appreciated how much myself and the band gave it for that performance. I think our live set is so much stronger now than even a year ago. I’m naturally bubbly on stage but finding a balance with the moodier tracks and my personality has been something I’ve been really conscious of. And I think we’ve hit a really sweet spot now, which is exciting.
Have you faced any difficulties or challenges as a women in the music industry?
Occasionally, I think due to my age also, there is a certain underestimating of my ability. I’m running my own show, whether that’s coming up with all of my creative ideas, writing my own video treatments, making my own lyric videos, curating and managing all of my digital platforms – there’s often a perception from people that I maybe don’t have the industry experience to be doing a lot of this by myself. But it is literally me up at 2am working on a mailer to my fan base, or checking ticket sales with my promoter. I believe in the power of visual A&R, so I present my work with as much of me in the detail as possible. The goal is of course to have a kick ass team around me, and that’s starting to come together. Sometimes I think people have a hard enough time believing or accepting that female artists can write and produce let alone be their own creative directors. There are still people working in the music industry today who don’t realise what a prolific songwriter and producer someone like Taylor Swift is. But I bet they could name a few of her ex-boyfriends! Again, it’s about shifting what the expectations for ‘a woman in the music industry’ are – and create a level playing field.
Do you think that women are well represented in the Irish music industry?
I think it’s improving! I am seeing more and more female artists coming to the forefront, and I think we have a challenge because for so long the domestic scene was a guy & a guitar or a band – we saw a certain sound, a certain type of artist get national radio support and it started to define what music created in Ireland was. Those bands worked hard, and they’re great but we’re starting to see a shift now in the types of music being made, there’s more versatility. The younger generation’s tastes differ now and that’s sonically and gender-wise, which can only be a good thing. 2FM in particular has strong, influential female presenters such as Tracy
Clifford who together with the team in there are stepping away from just the ‘guy and a guitar’ formula. It’s exciting, refreshing, and needs to be encouraged across the board. When I arrive to a venue to play a show, or even a festival, crews don’t represent the diversity in people we see walking around in town or driving around everyday. This isn’t to say that we haven’t come a long way as a nation, because we definitely have, particularly in the last two decades, but we have a long way to go when it comes to furthering equality for everyone. Recognising this, talking about it and acting on it is
the best thing we can do.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
I want to play as many gigs as I possibly can! And I have my next track pretty much ready to go and I genuinely am crazy about it. I think ‘Again’ has shown the fans where I’m going sonically and this next single, for me, really shows who I am and what I’m all about as a person and an artist. 2019 is going to be EPIC.
Catch LAOISE play the Grand Social on the Dublin stop of her current Irish tour this Saturday 24th November. More information and tickets available at mcd.ie/artists/laoise/.
Listen to new single ‘Again’ below…
Interview by Kym Duignan
Featured image by Lucy Foster