MAKING WAVES Westport singer/songwriter Maria Kelly.
Westport born singer/songwriter Maria Kelly has been selected as the winner of this year’s RTÉ Other Voices Open Call competition.
Maria will now travel to Dingle in Kerry next month to perform at the Eir Other Voices Festival. Her performance at the IMRO Other Room Recordings will also feature on the RTÉ TV series Other Voices when it starts next February.
Reacting to her success Maria said: “It’s incredible, I still can’t quite believe it actually happened. I really can’t thank people enough for getting behind the competition and voting for me, the amount of people sharing on social media, texting their friends and family, it really blew me away.
“Especially the Mayo crowd, the support from home was truly overwhelming. It means so much to see support for my music, and it’s only because people voted that I get to play Other Voices in Dingle, so thank you so much,” said an obviously delighted Maria.
In her short music career, Maria has had many achievements, but she feels that this one tops the charts.
“I’ve never performed a full set on TV before so that will be a really surreal moment for me. The vote closed on Friday night and I found out on Monday morning so it was an anxious wait.
“I got a call from Other Voices on my way to class on the Monday, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, or announce it online until that afternoon. So I didn’t quite take much in during that particular class to say the least,” she said.
Aside from the TV performance, the prize includes three days of recording time with a producer and a professionally shot video to go with it.
For Maria, she is looking forward to the opportunities that may open up to her as a result of her success.
“I don’t really know what it will lead too, but getting the chance to be on national TV is a really exciting push for my music. I’m good friends with last year’s winner Ailbhe Reddy, and after her TV performance she was contacted by a lot of different industry professionals, and has recently signed a worldwide publishing deal with BDi Music.
“I obviously don’t know what could happen but the Other Room has shown to be a really rewarding opportunity for Irish artists and I’m just so excited to be involved,” she added. “I’m a little bit nervous but mostly just incredibly excited. My band and I have been cooped up in our rehearsal space, practicing the set and I really just can’t wait to showcase it in Dingle. I also love the festival in general and being able to head down there for the weekend will be amazing.”
To cap off the year, Maria will be repaying her thanks to the ever-faithful Westport public when she returns home for her gig in the Westport Town Hall Theatre next month.
“My last show of the year will actually be in the Westport Town Hall on Friday, December 22. As a thank you, I wanted to do one last show before the year is out and make it a hometown one at that.
“As I said, I was completely blown away by the support from back home; from my school (Sacred Heart), to The Mayo News, the Connaught Telegraph, Midwest, family and friends. I really couldn’t have asked for more,” she concluded.
Admission for Maria’s hometown concert are as follows; early bird €12, student €10, on the door €15. Tickets can be purchased through the Town Hall or on Maria’s website at www.mariakellymusic.com.