IN THE RUNNING Fans can vote for Maria Kelly’s Other Voices Festival bid on the RTE 2FM website.
Westport-born singer/songwriter Maria Kelly has been selected as one of four finalists in this year’s eir Other Voices Open Call competition, which attracted over 1,000 applicants.
The selected artist will travel to Dingle, Kerry, this December to perform at the eir Other Voices Festival. Their performance, at the IMRO Other Room recordings, will feature on the RTÉ TV series Other Voices in 2018. The successful act will also receive further music-career support from eir, including three days in a recording studio with an engineer, the production company and budget to create a music performance video, along with practical music industry mentoring from the eir Other Voices team.
The four finalists were announced on RTÉ 2FM on Friday last, October 27, signalling the launch of a public vote on the station’s website. Voting will finish at midnight this Friday, November 3.
For Maria, her musical career began when she took up the guitar at the age of ten out of jealousy. Her brother was in a band at the time, and she desperately wanted part of the action. She has never looked back.
“When I was younger I played around the pubs. Me and my two friends used to try cover gigs and busk on the street,” she tells The Mayo News.
“I started doing lessons with Johnny Fadian, and we focused on Irish trad, but I kind of broke away then and started my own stuff. Trad’s the guitar style I started playing, but when I began teaching myself and writing my own stuff, it was like alternative Irish folk.”
Throughout her teenage years, Maria’s passion for singing and songwriting remained. After she finished school she pursued a songwriting course in BIMM Dublin music college, which she took to immediately.
“It’s been amazing, it has really opened me up to the music scene in Dublin. It has given me so many opportunities to play in different places and meet different people and understand the industry from a business point of view.”
Now at the age of just 22 and in her final year of college she has released two singles, and she also produced a four track EP (extended play) in May this year, called ‘The Things I Should’.
She is also reaching out and forming international connections, and is currently working with a recording label called Veta Records, which is based in Berlin, Germany.
“I started working with them three years ago releasing tracks, and I kind of go back and forth to Berlin to record stuff,” she explains.
“I’ve been enjoying myself massively, I’ve got to play really amazing shows and I’ve met a lot of people who have kind of helped me get my music out in different ways.
“This time next month I’m releasing another single, and alongside that I’m doing the support tour with Paul Noonan who’s the singer in Bell X1 … he’s doing six dates in Ireland and he has invited me to go along with him.”
Although the bright city lights of Dublin – and Berlin – have introduced Maria to a whole new world of opportunities, she maintains a love for her native Westport.
“I don’t get back as often as I’d like to, but I’ve been trying to get back more and more. I love coming home to write cause I always wrote so much there when I was younger.
“The city can get busy at times, so I love going back to Mayo to have a few days off.”
To vote for Maria Kelly, go to 2fm.rte.ie/2017/10/27/eir-voices-open-call/. Songs by each of the finalists are also available to play on the site.