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1 May 2017

Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Maria Kelly

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Irish singer-songwriter Maria Kelly returns with her most poignant and honest release to date.

Her debut EP The Things I Should, out on 19th May 2017 via Veta Records, is a stunning collection of emotionally gripping tracks performed with purity and grace.

Maria has been kind enough to share her 10 most influential tracks for this week’s Life Is Like A Box Of Records…

Breathless’ – The Corrs

My parents had a small selection of CDs that lived by our old dusty radio and The Corrs were a continual favorite of my mum’s. I remember walking in the door from school on numerous occasions to ‘Breathless’ blaring, the backdoor open to let the air in and my mum dancing around the kitchen (she’ll kill me for saying that!).

Grace Kelly’ – Mika

I so clearly remember discovering this song when I was in my last year of primary school. My friends and I were always known for being the kids with the “emo” taste in music (i.e. anything that was even slightly on the alternative side) and when we first began to listen to this weird track, from a guy with an abnormally high voice, we got a few weird looks in the corridor. But it was the anthem of that year of school for me. We would dance around the schoolyard, screaming the lyrics, without once stopping to acknowledge the strange looks we were getting.

‘Once’ – Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

This song has always been quite special to me. When I was in my second last year of primary school, maybe the first year or so that I had been playing the guitar, the director of ‘Once’ was coming to talk at our school. My principle asked me to learn the title track of the film and perform it for the whole school during her visit. I was TERRIFIED as it was the first proper time I had played in front of a crowd! But I was so excited. It really encouraged me to keep playing.  

Hotel Song’ – Regina Spektor

I first heard this song on a Vodafone ad and I fell in love with it, I couldn’t stop singing it. I didn’t have Internet access at the time, so I couldn’t find out who the artist was but my mum did some digging and got me the ‘Begin To Hope’ album a few days later. I think I may have said this in absolutely EVERY interview but it introduced songwriting to me for the very first time, especially the concept of lyric writing and storytelling. So…thanks mum!

‘Valentine’ – Kina Grannis

I discovered Kina Grannis when I first got a computer and stumbled on the world of YouTube. This is the cheeeeesiest love song there is but I was so obsessed with her gentle voice and delicate lyrics; I had her album ‘Stairwells’ on repeat for months. I’m pretty sure she was one of the main reasons that I wanted to play the guitar!

‘Blood Brothers’ – Ingrid Michaelson

I was in a band when I was 16/17 and we prided ourselves on the fact that we sang the weirdest, happiest, harmony-filled covers of every type of song under the sun. We covered anything from Michael Jackson to Adele. ‘Blood Brothers’ by Ingrid Michaelson was one of my favourites.

We used to play in crap bars, for TERRIBLE pay, to a bunch of stag dos and old men but we absolutely loved it. I realize now that it taught me to perform for myself, despite who is listening. 

Keep Running’ – Gemma Hayes

Gemma Hayes played a tiny show in my hometown a few years ago. I think I was about 16 or 17 and it was around the time where I was considering whether I wanted to continue with music or go down another route entirely. She played a stripped back set in this function room at the back of a hotel. I hadn’t heard her music but my friend wanted some company so I decided to go anyway – and I am so glad I did. I thought she was incredible. She captivated and connected with the audience and I just remember thinking “I would love to do this”.

‘Fix You’ – Coldplay

Probably the cheesiest one on the list! But my whole family is really big into passing a guitar around at family gatherings and this song was always on the list of requests. I think it’s really beautifully written and whenever I hear it, it takes me back to some pretty special family moments. 

‘Graceland’ – Paul Simon

This whole album was the soundtrack of my 2014 summer, the summer before I moved away from home to go to college. I spent it driving around with my best friend along the back roads, windows down, with this album blasting out of them. 

‘Shiver’ – Lucy Rose

The minute I discovered Lucy Rose, my songwriting process totally changed. I adored her lyrical content and I thought her arrangements were incredible. From her album ‘Like I Used To’, her song ‘Shiver’ stood out in particular. I saw her play it live in The Button Factory a few years ago and I cried like a baby! 

The Things I Should by Maria Kelly is due for release on 19th May 2017 via Veta Records.

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