Performer focus: Sinéad Egan
I begin to write this blog whilst sitting on a rooftop on a wonderfully sunny, warm day in Brooklyn, New York; with the Manhattan skyline to my right, a stones throw away, with all its splendour. You can hear the American dreams in the distance coming from all the people, as I think of all that there is yet to explore. Well, today myself a dreamer as John Lennon proudly sang, also have my own dreams amongst those too. Last night, I performed in the 11th Street bar in the East Village area, in an Irish session and met friends, made new ones and sang some of my own songs. The bar was packed and there wasn’t one person not listening to the music. Tonight I’m performing at a venue called The Sidewalk, also in the East Village, where I’m going to sing some songs from my most recently released debut album ‘For You’. I hope to return to the USA to do more gigs and eventually a tour, very soon. However, before I tell you more about my life at the moment as a professional musician and singer-songwriter, I thought I would give you a bit of background to who I am. My name is Sinéad Egan and I’m what you call a London-Irish girl, born into an Irish family, immersed in the amazing Irish culture and Irish traditional music. Not to mention being brought up listening to my parent’s records of all other genres from Motown to Country to Folk. Skip to today, and I am now a professional singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter within the Contemporary Folk/Soul genre as well as accompany Irish traditional music on guitar and piano.
Since aged 16, I’ve been accompanying various well known Irish traditional musicians like Tommy Peoples (legendary Irish fiddle player), Dolores Keane, Frances Black and Elenor McEvoy (famous Irish singers). Since then I’ve learned and continue to learn every day, from playing in Irish sessions, collaborating with other singer-songwriters and musicians, doing guitar session work in bands and with solo artists. In March this year, I performed at the St Patrick’s Day festival in Trafalgar Square. I was asked to perform on the main stage as part of a tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries, where I performed a couple of her main hits in an ode to her music, voice, and life. I’ve featured on albums, played concerts with my sister and my own solo shows and accompanied other musicians on piano and guitar in Irish music. This year, my sister and I are currently working on our collective project together called The Egan Sister’s, which I’m very excited about launching and doing more shows, festivals, and tours.
I’ve worked with Grammy award-winning songwriter and Country music artist Beth Nielsen Chapman (singer-songwriters she's worked with include Mary Chapin-Carpenter and Michael McDonald). I have since accompanied and supported various artists such as Declan Sinnott, Damien Dempsey, Kate Nash, Mary Coughlan and The Furey Brothers. I’ve worked on material with Boy George, as well as perform and record with both him and George Clinton (Parliament, Funkadelic) on an album featuring Sinéad O’Connor.
I teach music in my spare time to children and adults (guitar for beginners and intermediate, Irish accompaniment on guitar and piano, songwriting and learning songs). I continue to work on my music career, through performing and collaborating with other artists and doing accompaniment on guitar and piano in Irish music. Fundamentally for me, I would like to continue performing my own songs, supporting other artists on tours or concerts, work on getting my own band and continue to make new music; eventually have my songs featured in movies and tv and collaborate with more artists, as well as DJ’s within the Dance, EDM and House genres. I find these collaborations really fun and I love writing simple, catchy lines and melodies, thus doing something completely different to my own songs. Furthermore, a lot of DJ’s love remixing songs from different genres so it also opens doors for remixes of my own songs too.
Music, singing, and songwriting is one of my outlets for my emotions and also just sitting strumming my guitar for a few hours or not writing anything just takes my mind off all the thinking for a while. In the past, I’ve been told to do certain things a certain way but ultimately through time and lessons, I think the most important thing I’ve learnt so far is to be true to yourself, believe in yourself and your ability and try not to involve too many people who could throw you off your creative energy and ideas.
The great thing about music is that it can take you anywhere, you can take it anywhere and no one can ever take it away from you. I’d recommend any child in school or learning outside of school to take up an instrument, singing, production, whatever it is you want to do; pick it up, tap away, sing a note and give it a go. You don’t need to set anything in stone, just aim for your dreams and try not to let fear make you think you’re not good enough to even try. I’ve met so many people, seen and played in many places and had so many wonderful life-changing experiences through music.
My muse, teacher and great friend Kieran Mulkere used to say to me, you’ll never be lonely with Music or the arts, it will always take you places, you’ll meet new people, it’s all within you.