Hailing from Galway, singer/songwriter and Trinity College graduate Emma O’Reilly is like a part of the furniture on the gig scene in Dublin having spent the last seven years entertaining the masses in iconic venues such as Whelan’s, Bewley’s Café Theatre and The Village to note a few. After releasing a mini album in 2012 in which she wrote and produced on Garageband for iPad entitled ‘ICEBERG’, Emma had the pleasure of collaborating with producer Donal Sweeney, ultimately resulting in a song entitled ‘Mad’.
Her first studio EP ‘PURGE’ was launched to a sold out crowd in Bello Bar in November 2014. The EP itself includes three tracks, each of which are equally powerful and contrasting both lyrically and musically. ‘Winter’ is a lively acoustic affair that, when coupled with O’Reilly’s sincere voice, produces a powerful combination. The lyrics portray the clichéd torment of a failed relationship, appearing to go through the motions and stages from denial, anger and finally acceptance. A carefully played out story focusing on a topic everyone can relate to condensed into a three-minute and fifty second track , songwriting masterclass would seem to be O’Reilly’s specialty. A strong opening arouses the curiosity about what the rest of the EP will bring.
‘Little Boy Blue’ in contrast is hauntingly like a lullaby. Soft piano and stringed instruments produce a sound which wouldn’t be out of place in a theatre production. It must be said that O’Reilly hasn’t got an overly distinctive voice, however the emotion and power she places in getting her musical stories across has to be commended. The last track on the EP ‘Wolf (Part 1)’ has all the elements of a Kate Bush classic – loud, powerful high-octane vocals, string quartets, minor piano chords and the welcoming sound of the drum. Coupled with dark lyrics, this one is by far the most interesting listen, strange even – but in a positive sense. It must be noted that although there would seem a lack of catchiness exists in relation to each track, there is a willingness to hear more.
O’Reilly’s songwriting skills are nothing short of genius, even if her voice doesn’t offer something original. The EP itself undeniably expresses versatility, a divergent sound is clear on each track. The experience she has gained in songwriting shines through and will no doubt continue to flourish. Having recently offered support for Stu Daly and Steady Hands in The Mercantile and performing as part of the Irish Youth Chamber Choir, Emma O’Reilly looks set to stay a firm fixture on the gig scene for a long time to come, get yourself out and catch the show!
Written by Julie Bell