The Aoife Leigh Interview

Aoife Leigh is an ‘up and coming’ singer, songwriter with considerable talent, from Dublin. She comes from a family with creativity firmly within their DNA. For instance, her Dad, Jon, is responsible for the Nostalgia Collection of illustrations on Personal-a-Teas. For years now, she has travelled the rocky road of composing her own work and getting it ‘out there’ to those who will listen. It’s no easy task, and it requires preparedness to take the knocks and get back up again. Again and again. Testament to her strength and steadfastness of character (and talent!), she recently signed a record deal with Downda Road Productions. She is also a fan of Personal-a-Teas and when we caught up with her, she was busy writing more material for her imminent EP. This article is designed to inspire other budding singer / songwriters to keep going and keep following their dreams.

Aoife Leigh

So, who is Aoife Leigh?
Im a singer / songwriter from Dublin currently recording my debut EP with Downda Road Productions… WATCH THIS SPACE!

For the uninitiated, describe the music of Aoife Leigh. Please categorise (shudder!) your musical genre.
Shudder indeed, that’s always a difficult one but I would say my music is influenced by many different music styles so it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I think there are elements of indie folk / acoustic soft rock, and even jazz at times but If I HAD to place myself in a particular musical genre I would say adult contemporary, that’s a fairly large playground, lots of room to run around.

Who are your musical influences and what music do you listen to? Favourite album?
I would love to think that my style of writing was influenced by the music that I listen to but in reality that’s probably not the case. When I’m not playing or writing music I could be listening to anything from classical to punk, mood depending. Big favourites would be Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Elbow, Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, The Future Heads, The Pixies, The Frames, to name a few. I couldn’t possibly start on albums I’d be here all day!!

What are the major subject matters for your songs?
Love, loss, hope, despair, repeat! …and other fun topics 😀 I try and write in an honest way about my own personal experiences, I’m not great at making shit up unfortunately… true story.

What drives you to create / write music?
Well…. I’m not the most articulate of humans at the best of times especially when it comes to my feelings, so I find creating / writing music and lyrics to be incredibly cathartic. I’m driven by necessity more so than anything else.

What can we expect from your debut album? Any dates in mind for its release?
So yes, I’m currently recording an EP in view to release early next Spring. You can expect a bit of a mixed bag I reckon, difficult to say yet though at this early stage.

Any titles? If so, why that title? Can you give us even a hint???
Playing around with a few ideas but not as yet no.

Aoife Leigh

Any advice for singer / songwriters looking to get themselves ‘out there’ / started on the ‘rocky’ road?
I’m still learning as I go along but from my own personal experience so far I would say follow your own star, be yourself, don’t imitate. Get yourself out there, play all the open mics, busk etc. If you write original material play it!! You never know who is listening. If it’s what you really want to do make it a priority above anything else, make sacrifices, take risks and don’t be in competition with anyone but yourself, there’s room for everyone!!

What are the major challenges for budding singer / songwriters?
I would say getting your music heard by the right people, funding your music, and if you’re working, the balancing act between the ‘day job’ and your ultimate career choice can be very challenging. I think social media is great but can be a double – edged sword, it really has become one of the sole drivers for musicians to promote and expand their fan base and it can be very difficult keeping up to date with all the latest platforms. At times I think it can put added pressure on artists to perform and get ‘likes’ which may not come as naturally to some. The reality is that for most budding singer / songwriters you pretty much have to learn how to wear all of the hats, all of the time in terms of management, PR, marketing, production, etc. aaaaand still have time for performance and composition. It can be pretty exhausting and for the majority… not very rewarding. Stick to the day job kids! (joke… kinda) 😀

I remember as a student in Synge Street, my English teacher introduced me to a beautiful quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby… ’it eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… and one fine morning -’ it’s all about never giving up hope. Are there any quotes that resonate with you, have struck you as being particularly poignant? Perhaps a mantra which you use to guide you on your path?
‘Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught ‘Oscar Wilde, always has been a favourite of mine since I’ve been a child. I always found ways of including this in numerous school essays for obvious reasons. Experience is the only true teacher of life lessons, you can only truly learn through your own experiences, your own successes your own failures.
‘A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there’ is another one which particularity resonates with me of late, you have to accept that the best things in life usually happen at the exit ramp of your comfort zone, in my experience anyway.

So, to Personal-a-Teas! What is your opinion of the concept? Have you seen the avatars, (other than your Dad’s, of course)? Do you like them? Any favourites???
I have of course! I think it’s a great concept, they are all awesome, something for everyone!

Cappuccina, Loose Leaf Tea or Latte?
I’m not much of a tea person so I’ll go with Cappuccina this time.

Did your personality match the ‘Personal-a-Teas’ of your preferred beverage?
Nope, I didn’t get a match this time but I’m a bit of an odd ball at the best of times haha!!!!!

Aoife Leigh

Aoife Leigh will be playing an intimate ‘lunchtime’ gig at Two Pups Coffee, 74 Francis Street, on Thursday 21st July (1300 GMT). Get there early, (to get the best spot in the house) for this brilliantly talented artist.

Aoife Leigh – Lunchtime Gig at Two Pups Coffee – facebook event