Irish duo Hvmmingbyrd – aka Deborah Byrne and Suzette Das – are ready to charm your ears with the shimmering electro-pop sounds of their new single Gozo, out now and available to stream on Spotify.
Deborah from the band has shared some of her most influential tracks with us for this week’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records…
Hanson – Mmm Bop
This came out in my early teens. I remember joyously jumping up and down on the bed shouting the lyrics with my best friend and simultaneously swooning over Taylor, the “middle brother”. It was the most teenybopper moment of my life! This song is pop in its purest, cheesiest, catchiest form and I will always love this song for this memory.
Spice Girls – Viva Forever
Who doesn’t love the Spice Girls? This was my favourite song of theirs, controversial choice, I know. I liked the layered vocals, the very exotic phrases of Spanish in the lyrics and Mel C’s vocal improvs on the chorus. While on summer camp, my friends and I somehow got our hands on a camcorder and choreographed an entire music video for this song! I played a very moody Posh Spice. What I wouldn’t give to get my hands on that tape..
Lauryn Hill – Zion
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of my favourite albums of all time. Her power and vulnerability, the beats, hums and swoons, the lyrics…Zion, a track on the album, is about her decision to have her son and the love she has for him. It’s sweet and fierce and the melody is soulful and melancholy. I remember listening to this album obsessively throughout my Junior Cert (irish equivalent to Standard Grades). This album taught me a lot and carried me through a lot of teenage angst.
Stevie Wonder – Happier Than The Morning Sun
My cousin introduced me to Stevie Wonder when we were on a camping trip in France in our mid teens. We would lie on the grass or on the beach with the discman, and work our way through Superstition, Sir Duke, Lately…all of his greats. My distinct memory of Happier than the Morning Sun is then listening to it on my discman in the back of science class. The teacher’s voice was just a quiet hum in the background, my classmates were quiet and sleepy and the sunlight was streaming through the window. Meanwhile I was blissing out to this beautiful song. Hearing it still takes me back!
Janice Ian – At Seventeen
My mum was a folk singer and introduced to me to the likes of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Joni Mitchell and Janice Ian. This song is about the struggles of being a teenage girl who didn’t fit in and I identified with her struggles of self-consciousness. I also loved the beautiful melody and narrative – style of her lyrics and hope her influences have crept into my songwriting style.
Juanes – Camisa Negra
I studied Spanish at university and spent a year on Erasmus in Spain. I think this song may have been played on a loop in every shop, bar, restaurant, club and party we went to. Listening to it instantly brings back memories of house parties, botellon on the beach, crowded, sweaty bars with mojitos poured from teapots and wandering through the barrio in the wee hours with my friends.
Daft Punk – Something About Us
I also spent a gap year after university in Nice, France. I remember hearing this at a very chic house-party in a friend’s apartment in the heart of old Nice and feeling like I had reached peak France. The French do electronic music very well and there’s no better than Daft Punk!
Karl Jenkins – Benedictus
This is a slightly different offering to the other songs in this list. It’s a beautiful, slow classical song performed by an orchestra and later in the song, by a choir. I was working in a very difficult job for a few months and would be filled with anxiety and dread every morning when I stepped in the car. I used to listen to a classical station called Lyric FM presented by Marty Whelan (who went on to choose my former album as album of the week!) to keep myself calm. I remember one particularly difficult morning and this song came on and washed away all anxiety and filled me with peace and assurance that I would be OK! I left that job soon after 🙂
Loreen – Euphoria
This is another perfect slice of pop in my opinion. My memory of this song is after a wedding of a close friend in the Netherlands, we were driving home full of the joys and prosecco (apart from the driver obviously!). Driving through country roads with the windows down, fragrant summer air blasting through the windows, and we sang the entire song at the top of our lungs. The locals probably thought we were joyriders but it was a pretty perfect moment.
Paul Simon – Under African Skies
This song is from another of my favourite albums ‘Graceland’. I love the groove, the tight harmonies, it’s just a really peaceful and assuring song. This was also the first song I heard after I got married. We had a winter wedding, the ceremony was emotional and intimate and the rush of love and well wishes from all our loved ones at the end of the ceremony was amazing but overwhelming. We ran through the snow and the -10 degree weather into our warm limousine and our driver, a friend of ours, had a bottle of prosecco and an iPod set up for us to relax and listen to some music. We chose this song, sat back and just basked in all the love, warmth and blissful music.
Now, ready to unveil their ethereal sounds to the rest of the UK and beyond, Hvmmingbyrd’s new single Gozo is out now and available to stream on Spotify.