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One to watch

By David Hennessy

The Irish Examiner call her “a bright young vocal talent and versatile multi-instrumentalist” while Hot Press describe her as “a compelling new presence in Ireland’s thriving scene”.

Still only 21 and yet to finish college, Kerry’s Lorraine Nash has announced herself on the folk/americana scene with her debut single Wildflower. Her highly anticipated EP by the same name is to follow.

Lorraine told The Irish World: “I’m excited for people to hear it. Even the reaction prior to the launch has been good.”

The reaction has been more than good as although Lorraine’s debut EP still not released, it has not stopped RTE from including Lorraine’s tracks on their playlist and playing her tracks to the nation and not just the title track but the others too.

“That was weird. I was like, ‘That’s mental, wow’. One of my neighbours had heard it and then one of my friends in London heard it on RTE. I just woke up and was like, seeing messages, ‘What?’ Nuts, very very strange but great obviously.”

This led to Lorraine seeing herself on RTE’s list of tracks and people to watch not too far away from the teenage Bond theme singer: “That was really cool. I think it was just having my name near Billie Eilish on an actual sheet that I didn’t write that was kind of cool.”

The single comes accompanied by a video in which Lorraine wanted to give a nod to Ireland’s world-conquering troubadour, Hozier.

“I find it hard to think of ideas but all I knew that I did want was dancers. That was my main thing. I love that whole trend.

“Hozier had that video for Movement where it was some guy doing ballet but he was singing a rock song and I think that’s so cool. I had a folk song and now I have two people doing contemporary ballet and I think it’s such a cool contrast.

“We filmed the whole thing in a day and it came out really cool.”

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From Lyreacrompane and based in Cork, Lorraine is a talented pianist, guitar, harp, flute and violin player.

“I started playing music when I was like six or seven but that was only trad. I never really had interest in anything apart from trad until I was maybe 15 or 16. Then I started playing guitar. I only started writing songs when I was in fourth year. I wasn’t even singing until I was about 15 or 16 as well. I don’t know where that even came from because the whole time I was only ever doing instrumental kind of things like piano and flute and harp and that kind of craic.

“I feel like anything you ever listen to always feeds back into what you end up doing. When I did start listening to stuff that wasn’t trad, it was always country music or The Staves, Gillian Welsh and those folky-country people.”

Was Lorraine ever tempted to try The X Factor of The Voice or any of the other musical talent shows? “No, I don’t think it is for me. If you’re involved in that kind of thing, instead of a musician, you’re like a personality which is not really what i want. I would like to be an artist when I’m doing music and to be a person when I’m a person if that makes sense.

“Even what I’m doing now, I feel like the whole thing I find hardest about this is having to be really active on social media. Before this, I wasn’t.”

While studying English at UCC, Lorraine has been invited to support names like Megan O’Neill, Jack O’Rourke and Mick Flannery although the latter two will have to be rescheduled due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Something else that may have to be rescheduled is the Cork EP launch that has been set for 16 April.

Lorraine’s older sister Anita lives in London and works for Toureen Mangan. Asked if she has any plans to play London, Lorraine says: “I’d love to. We’ll have to see how things go. Down the line it would be cool.”

The single Wildflower is out now. The EP Wildflower is out this month. lorrainenash.com

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