Described by The Irish Times as “one to watch”, Áine Duffy is turning heads on an international scale. No stranger to performing, the Cork-based singer has played gigs across the globe from the USA and Canada to Spain and Belgium. We speak with this pop meets soul meets funk songstress about her new single ‘I’ll Wear White’, favourite performances and discovering new music.
OSR: What inspired you to become a musician?
Duffy: It was in me. My mother and I used to go for spins in the car and I used to sing with my head out of the window.
OSR: What is the backstory to your single ‘I’ll Wear White’?
Duffy: I was feeling like there was so many old rules and mindsets that was hurting a lot of people and it’s hard to explain to people without arguments. I felt if enough people just had kindness and empathy at the core we would all be in a better position. So what better way for me to voice and express this but with an upbeat song.
OSR: Did you experience any challenges when recording this track?
Duffy: Actually, no, not at all thankfully. I recorded it with Wayne Sheehy and he knows me and was able to record my voice so well; that can be hard for me to find. He let me sing from start to end to get the passion without chopping it all up. Of course, the fact that he is a super drummer and played on the track was the icing on the top. I was delighted to get that real expression with my song.
OSR: Which do you find more challenging – melody or lyrics?
Duffy: I start with a concept, hard to say…maybe lyrics as I am very fussy about them.
OSR: What has been your favourite performance to date?
Duffy: This is a hard one as I’ve had too many but getting carried across Kinsale Square at the main stage of the Arts Festival off the stage by the crowd singing “I’ve had the time of my life” when I was finished was pretty memorable. The rooftop in NYC was also special. The Royal Theatre Waterford with Jack I. Too hard to pick them for me.
OSR: If you could perform with any band, what band would it be?
Duffy: I’d say AC/DC.
OSR: Do you have any phobias?
Duffy: I don’t like plastic condiments at all. Never did.
OSR: Do you believe Covid-19 will affect the music industry on a long-term basis?
Duffy: Sometimes I think it might have a positive effect. People might realise how much they miss us and the benefits on the body and mind, but how it was the first to go and last to come back is hard on the confidence of people in the music world. People, in general, are already having social anxiety, imagine having that on a stage in front of people. I can only hope there will be a bit more respect for the artists in the long run and don’t let my mind go negatively in this regard and try to come up with solutions instead. It was never easy to begin with and making artists compete with each other doesn’t sit well with me.
We all love music and listen to others music. I just hope there will be avenues for top-quality new music coming from all over the world and airplay for not just the bigger names. So that we can all make up our minds on what we love and what inspires us.
OSR: Do you have any recommendations of new bands/artists for our readers?
Duffy: Pinhole, Richard Dawson, RSAG, Citrus Fresh. I wish there was 100s of Irish artists we all heard on the radio.
OSR: What do you believe is the best way to discover new music?
Duffy: I do love BBC6 Music and friends shares and Shazam and from TV. Often being at occasions and hearing other people’s music that they have discovered. Maybe once things open up again we will all have these sharing song moments again.
OSR: What is the most exciting thing about being a musician?
Duffy: Freedom to travel, hear stories, make people sing, dance and be happy. Unreal!
OSR: Are there future plans for Áine Duffy?
Duffy: There sure is. Well, the immediate future is to gig in the “duffbox” – an old donkey box I created into a portable stage bringing a bit of fun and excitement around the country.
Finish recording my album. Write even better songs, travel and collaborate with other artists internationally. I have an idea I might like a trip to Argentina too, they play my songs there and I could practise my Spanish and maybe get some inspiration.