That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, in conversation with 24-year-old, Emma Donohue, Killoran, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
“I come from a farming background. From a young age, I was always and still am out on the family farm, helping my parents with anything that needs to be done.
I always loved being outside. There were always jobs to be done around the place. If you did not have one, you would not be long until you were given one.
We have a beef and suckler farm at home, along with horses, hens, and ducks, so it is nearly as good as a pet farm.
It is a life that I have grown up with and would not change for the world.
We also have a Jack Russel Terrier, Tiny; he is the boss of the house and the farm.
Since I last caught up with That’s Farming’s readers, I won Glór Tíre in April 2021 with Mike Denver as my mentor.
It has been amazing. From winning Glór Tíre, I received some prize money which has all gone into creating new singles and working on my new album.
I was also fortunate enough to get a trip of a lifetime on the Paul Claffey Tours in Portugal in 2022 with Mike Denver and friends; it was amazing.
The series itself is over in a flash; it went from recording every Tuesday to the series being finished.
I loved every minute of it the staff, the crew and the singers were such lovely people and made each and every one of us feel so welcome and safe.
There was always a bit of devilment and craic around the place, which suited me down to the ground.
Since winning Glór Tíre, I have had a wonderful time and have had so many amazing opportunities.
From performing as a support act for Mike Denver, Derek Ryan, Jimmy Buckley and Co, to festivals around the country and my usual gigs that I have the pleasure of doing at weekends, it has been mighty.
I got the opportunity to sing at the National Ploughing Championships last year, just gone and it was mighty to see such a crowd and to have them dancing in front of me to my music was unreal.
I have been on tour with Mike Denver and friends in Portugal where I got to spend a full week singing and dancing with friends and family abroad, all while getting my name out there.
Also, I was a support act for The Whistling Donkeys for the Galway Races.
I am in the process of recording an album. It is quite expensive to get an album made, and I want to make sure when I do bring out an album that, it is done right and that all the people that support me and my music like it.
My aim is to have a song in it for everyone to enjoy. I do have a new single coming out in early February. It is called The Dream, written by the one and only PJ Murrihy from Co. Clare.
He is a gentleman that is already well-established on the country music scene and has already helped me out for this new single and wrote me this song.
It is very different to what I would have already released from my singles to date, but it is one that goes back to my roots.
It has a traditional Irish vibe to it without giving away too much information. I am excited for people to hear it.
I love to perform some upbeat jivey songs mostly. That feeling you get when the dancefloor is full of jivers flying around the floor listening to you singing is unreal. The more upbeat, the better.
I have performed in numerous locations around the country. I could be in Omagh tonight and down in Clare tomorrow night. That is how the business works, and I would not have it any other way.
I do cover some of Philomena Begley’s songs and Dolly Parton’s music. I grew up listening to both of these women, and I admired how strong a figure they were in the country music scene.
I suppose I aspired to be like them someday; they have brought out some cracking songs.
I do pretty much everything and am available and have received opportunities for pub gigs, country music festivals, social dances, weddings, funerals and private parties.
I love the friendship of country music. Between gigs or dances, you meet so many new people and make new friends all the time and, indeed, friends for a lifetime.
With fellow artists, the friendship of helping one another out is always evident. The songs themselves tell their own story, and that sometimes resonates with people and brings them together.
I am a people person that will chat away with everyone. I found through the country music scene, I have made friends to the extent that I am never short of a dance on a night out.
Being a young person on the Irish country music scene is, of course, difficult. It is like anything; if you want something, you have to work for it.
In the country music scene, there are so many new upcoming artists all fighting for one spot.
You really have to keep your head down and graft. I am fortunate to be where I am to date, and I hope to keep getting my name out there.
I suppose after Glór Tíre, we were still in the midst of Covid 19. There were not any gigs happening, and the music scene went to a standstill.
It was nearly a full year after I won Glór Tíre before the country re-opened, and I got the opportunity to get out and gig. It was slow at the start; I will not lie.
However, I knew what I wanted, and I worked so hard to get there. I released new music, and I put myself out there and thankfully, it paid off. I started getting gigs etc., and it was the best thing ever.
Currently, I am happily nursing, farming and chasing my musical career. Nursing and singing are what I have wanted to pursue since I was little.
Nursing is tough and challenging at times, but rewarding in its own right. On them difficult shifts, it is lovely to have music to zone out. I love performing and going out, and meeting people. Singing is what I love and what I do.
It is a part of me now, and I could not see myself doing anything different. I think for now, while I have a healthy balance of both, I will stay going the way I am.
I had my graduation in November 2022, and I am now a fully qualified general nurse. I am working in Tullamore Hospital, and I love it.
It is a lot of responsibility, but it is something that I am trying to take in my stride every day. I am fortunate I work alongside some wonderful nurses and staff alike, and they are extremely supportive and knowledgeable.
On top of all of that, I am still farming away. It is all go this time of the year getting sheds ready for the cows calving. I love it.
The days I am off work, I am always out on the farm. As I mentioned earlier, there is never any shortage of a job.
I hope to continue to make a name for myself in the country music and Irish traditional scene and want people to enjoy my music and work around them and what people like to hear.
I am taking everything in as I go along and am grateful for every opportunity I have received to date and delighted with the support I have received.
I am a very happy-go-lucky person, and I work hard for the things I have, and I will continue to do that.
Moreover have so many future plans to achieve on a bucket list, and I hope to get them ticked off in time.
Readers can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, iTunes and Youtube.”
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