As we approach BalconyTVs 10th anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to interview some of the first artists that performed on the show and find out what has happened to them in the time since.
Bairbre Anne performed on October 23rd, 2006. I tracked down Bairbre for a catch up -
Stephen - Bairbre, you were one of the first artists to perform on BalconyTV. What, if anything do you remember about the performance?
Bairbre - I remember being really excited as I hadn't performed on anything like it before. It was new and quirky. I also remember having to somehow get my very heavy digital piano up to the apartment on Dame St. that was five floors up. No lift, just the stairs! Thank god for Dads and brothers! We got up there eventually!!
Stephen - What was the song about?
Bairbre - The song was called 'Out Of Key' and was one big metaphor for a relationship going sour. I thought it was ingenious at the time. Looking back now, it makes me cringe. I wish someone had told a 16 year old me, YouTube is forever!!!!!
Stephen - I just noticed I presented that show. What was I thinking! The internet effects us all like that clearly. You don't need to worry though, was a good song. How long had you been playing before that point?
Bairbre - I hadn't been playing live gigs for very long at that stage and was still very much developing my craft. I was lucky to have been part of the RTE 2FM songwriting competitions at that point which took place in Vicar Street every year, they had given me a good insight into live performance and all it entails at a young age.
Stephen - What were your ambitions then, compared to what they are now?
Bairbre - At that age, I was still very starry eyed and expected success to just happen and assumed that I would have a career in music straight away once I left secondary school. After reality hit home, I realized that it's all about honing your craft and wanting to get better at what you do all of the time in terms of songwriting and performance. My ambitions now are still similar, I want to make a living from making music but I am more realistic about it at this point in my life.
Stephen - Are you still performing now?
Bairbre - Yes! I'm happy to say that I am still gigging and have been very fortunate to play in some amazing venues both in Ireland and the UK.
Stephen - The internet has completely transformed music in the last 10 years. When we started out, YouTube was just starting and MySpace was the thing. How have you found dealing with the digital revolution?
Bairbre - I was starting out on my musical journey just as the internet started to take over so it has always been present for me. There's obviously been a huge shift within the music industry over the last 10 years and its had some really positive and negative outcomes. I feel it was inevitable and we are now all adjusting and learning how to move our careers forward using this massive resource available to us - the internet. My music being available to a much wider audience online is a huge positive and has helped my career greatly!
Stephen - What do you make of the Irish music scene?
Bairbre - Depends on the day of the week! Essentially I love it, its been such a huge part of my life. Growing up in Dublin meant I could be in the middle of it all the time. It's so easy to get to know people and go to gigs and hang out with other musicians and listen to great live music. I've been found in Whelans one too many times over the years. But sometimes, it can feel too small here. Everyone knows everyone and it can be nice to escape from it but I do feel no where else will ever be quite the same!
Stephen - If you could give the you of 10 years ago advice, 10 years on, what would it be?
Bairbre - Write more songs. Write them everyday and don't care about what anyone thinks. Write about whatever you want and sing them to who ever will listen.
Stephen - What has been the best thing to happen to you in music and life in the last 10 years?
Bairbre - I think the best thing that has happened so far is meeting and getting to work with Sean Genockey & John Hogg in London. I think you meet key people in your life who really bring out the best in you, make you believe in yourself and make you feel good about what you do. These two men have certainly done that for me and I've had so much fun working with them over the past three years musically.
Stephen - What is the one song of yours your most proud of that people should check out?
Bairbre - I would have to say at the moment a song called 'If Only I Had The Time'. I wrote this song with Sean and John in only a few hours. It was different from anything I had come out with before, it had a lot more sass to it. I was really delighted when Paul Brady agreed to sing and play on it also, he's been a huge influence on me growing up as my Dad has worked with him for a number of years. So its definitely one of my favourites and set to be the first single from my debut album.
Stephen - Who has been your favorite Irish artist of the last 10 years, and your favorite international or mainstream artist?
Bairbre - Glen Hansard & Gemma Hayes. Two exceptional songwriters, every album that each of them has come out with has been the soundtrack to a different stage of my life. They were a huge influence on my songwriting style. There's too many others to choose from internationally!!!
Stephen - Final question. What would your words of wisdom be for anyone starting out? Be as brutal as you like.
Bairbre - Practice, a lot. And watch this, it helped me...
Stephen - Thanks Bairbre!
- Stephen O'Regan