Donna Taggart on juggling a career with two young children, after becoming one of the Top 50 most downloaded artists of all time with her heart-tugging cover of Jealous of the Angels
By Fiona O’Brien
When Donna Taggart first heard Jealous of the Angels she was immediately moved because of her own experience of grief. And it is her talent as a singer, and ‘interpreator’ of songs that meant when she went to make her own recording of the track that it captured the attention of the world.
Donna’s cover of Jenn Bostic’s country hit Jealous Of The Angels has become one of the Top 50 most downloaded songs for all music genres in the USA, alongside the likes of top stars like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Adele and Britney Spears. And Donna’s own emotions are put into the song, as she used it to reflect on the loss of her second baby Michael three summers ago. And since then Donna has gone from a relatively unknown artist to struggling to cope with offers for work.
“My life has changed hugely. A year ago I was struggling to get a break in terms of my music,” she says. “I was doing my own thing under the radar, nobody had any idea who I was. All of a sudden this song broke and really took on a global audience.
“It’s now a couple of hundred thousand shy of 100 million streams online, I can’t believe it. I was all about doing ‘mummy duties’ all day every day and then doing music in the evenings.
“I was trying to hold down a day job too. I still do all the mummy duties and that will always be my main job to my two young kids (aged three and 18 months), but in terms of a living, music is now my full-time occupation.
“I’ve sold out shows right across Ireland and I”m being contacted by people in America and Australia wanting me to tour, so things have changed dramatically, but in other ways I’m still me and at home, so that keeps you very much on an even keel and I’m glad of that to be honest.”
And due to her experience of working in music for years, Donna isn’t letting what is seen as her ‘overnight success’ go to her head.
“I’m glad of the emotional maturity I have. I’m a woman in my thirties now and I suppose with that brings life experience. I have that outlook to know what matters in life and not to get too carried away.
“I know it can be over as quick as it started. Things come and go on the internet all the time.
“I’m just so grateful that I’ve been given this platform and lots of opportunities are coming my way which I might not necessarily have had had the song not broke.
“I’m embracing all these chances once they are here and seeing where it takes me, and enjoying the process at the same time.”
And although Donna spent years recording music before her success last year, it is only in the past 12 months that she actually knew that music was going to be what she would pursue full-time.
“All of us have pressure and I think when you become a mother your family come first.
“I never thought I would be able to juggle it all, my day job was funding my album so I knew I physically couldn’t have kept that up.
“When I got the break last year there was no choice, I was catapulted into the limelight, and I’ve been swept into it full-time. “Music will be a part of me and what I do forever. It always has been but I never thought it would be at the level it is at.
“Even when you’re in your thirties sometimes you still don’t know what you want to do and you are still working it out. But this just felt ‘right’.
“Sometimes you can spend so long wondering the ‘ifs’ and ‘whys’ and sometimes you are led down a path naturally.”
Because of that Donna is a huge believer in fate.
“I went to college and initially studied to work with children and become a teacher. I always saw myself as working in the caring profession, and working with young people affected by domestic violence.
“I then went on to work with children on the autism spectrum, but I suppose with a day job comes a sense of safety and security.
“You have a rough idea where you will be years down the line if you stick with that job.
“But with music it is different. You can be ‘hot’ one minute and not the next and you don’t really know where it is leading you to.
“I don’t feel any different to any other parent. I have to be regimental with my schedule and have things organised with the least disruption I possibly can. It is the same no matter what line of work you are in and I think any parent can vouch for that.
“Sometimes you lose your sense of an identity as a mother, but you are happy to do that because your children are your life, but it’s nice to be able to take on a different role.”
To read the full article on Donna, and more, pick up this week’s copy of The Irish World