At the age of twenty-two, Emma Donohue (22) is one of the youngest stars on the Irish country music scene.
The Killoran, Co. Galway native divides her time between her musical career, farming, and general nursing studies at AIT.
From a tender age, she always knew that music would be a part of her life, regardless of what pathway she would take.
“There was always music in our house for as long as I can remember. My mam and dad always had Valerie Hughes on Galway Bay FM on the radio on a Saturday morning with some of the best of country music tracks flowing throughout the house,” she told That’s Farming.
“Not to mention CDs galore of all the country music singers. The beat, the flow and the rhythm attached to country music are something special it will always have your feet itching to get up and dance.”
Inspired by Philomena Begley, Billy Jo Spears, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Carlene Carter, Donohue’s musical career began when she was in secondary school.
“I went to some social dances at the weekend locally. As time went on, there was not a weekend where I was at home.”
“There was a high chance you would see me at any dance in any venue. I lived for the weekends, dancing to some of the top singers including Mike Denver, Derek Ryan, Patrick Feeney and many more.”
One night in the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe, John Molloy gave, what was then an aspiring country music artist, her start in the business. From there, her career blossomed, which led to her recording cover-versions of some of the best-known household hits.
Emma recorded her very first single, Dolly Parton’s classic, Coat of Many Colours, with Glen Flynn. “I sent it to local radio stations and DJs around the country, and the response I got was huge.”
From there, she went on to record two more singles, this time with her friend, Enda Dempsey, in Paddy Jordan’s Recording Studio.
The Galway native has released her version of Rambling Man by Philomena Begley, and I Fell in Love by Carlene Carter.
“I then went on to record two music videos attached to both songs with another great friend of mine, Stephen Rosney.”
“Stephen made my dreams come true and brought my music to life within the video. I have another single recorded with Enda and will be releasing it very soon.”
When choosing a song to record, Donohue usually tends to select tracks that were classics years ago, with a view to “twist them into my own style and bring them back to the surface”.
“I could spend hours and hours on all the music social media platforms listening to music from years ago. I just love it.”
“Some of these classics have not been heard or played in years, and I think for me, it is important not to let them fade away.”
Covid-19 and Glór Tire
The Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped the Galway native from pursuing her musical dream. She has had to think outside the box to find alternative means of promoting her music.
“It’s very easy for someone to give up hope with a situation such as this when it presents itself but, it’s important to realise every cloud has a silver lining.”
The 22-year-old will embark on the next chapter of her musical career in the coming weeks. The young star will be mentored by Mike Denver in the upcoming series of Glór Tire.
“To say I am excited is an understatement. I got the phone call a couple of weeks ago to go on the show.”
“Without hesitation, I jumped at the opportunity and agreed. I am delighted to be working alongside Mike Denver; he is a gentleman. The recordings for the show will commence in the next fortnight.”
Emma aspires to further her music career and perform in venues all around Ireland and further afield. She acknowledged that a strong work ethic, motivation and determination are required to survive in what is a challenging game.
“I am an ordinary country girl who lives with her family. I have big dreams in life and will strive to achieve them.”
“Country music has always been in my life and will always continue to be a huge part of it for the future.”
“I aspire to be like some of my idols before me on stage, and hopefully one day I will be. I love where I am to date in my career and how much I have already achieved.”
“It is onwards and upwards from here, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me and my music,” she concluded.
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