That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with 22-year-old Rachel Mc Connell.
“I come from a farming background in a village called Derrygonnelly in County Fermanagh.
I have always had a love for country music from a young age, and I grew up surrounded by it. My dad has a band, so music would have always been a big part of the household; music is in my blood, as they do say.
I always had a passion for singing from a young age, and I started singing when I was around seven years of age.
But, it was after I released my debut single and the wonderful response to it that encouraged me and gave me the motivation to keep going.
Philomena Begley, Louise Morrissey, Mick Flavin, Robert Mizzell, Derek Ryan, Lisa McHugh and my dad, Dermot, who is a singer and guitar player, inspire me.
When I was younger, I would always go along to gigs during the summer holidays, and dad would always get me up to sing.
The first song I learnt was I Want to Be In Ireland for the summer, which I have since released as a single.
I have released seven singles so far, which began with my debut single back in 2019 called You are the One, which was followed by Real Love, Leaning on the Shoulder of Love, Your Heart Turned Left, Right in the Middle, I Want To Be In Ireland for the Summer and Honkytonks and Heartaches.
I am in the process of recording an album which is due for release very soon, so watch the space.
To date, I have performed in all of the well-known country music venues around the country, including McWilliam Park, Claremorris, The Rhu Glen Country Club and the Allingham Arms Bundoran, and I am also gigging every week with the family band.
I perform all of my own material that I have released and all the good old country classics as well.
I just love singing and performing and meeting new people. Most of your fans become great friends, which is lovely. It is great to see people back out enjoying themselves again after Covid-19 restrictions.
Young person on country music scene
Being a young person on the country music scene in Ireland is difficult. It is not an easy game, for sure. Us young people do not seem to get a chance.
I think the scene needs new blood to keep it alive and interesting for generations to come, but the most challenging thing is trying to get your name out there.
Currently, I am a beautician, a musical artist, and I also work in retail, but the plan is to hopefully go at music full-time.
The plan is to keep releasing music, and I have a new single due for release very soon, and I will also be launching my debut album in the springtime, so I am excited about that. The dream would be to hopefully have my own band one day.
My musical journey has been going great, and I have been lucky enough to have been approached to appear on two different TV shows.
I was a contestant on Glór Tíre last year along with my mentor, Olivia Douglas, also my brother, Fergal, and I was a finalist on TG4’s Realta agus Gaolta, which was filmed in the RTÉ studios in Dublin and was a great experience.
I am also looking forward to performing at the Northern Ireland Country Music Awards & the Hot Country TV Awards.
The plan is to keep singing and making music, and I am excited to see what the future holds.”
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