My music preference is hip-hop, R&B and pop, according to Spotify. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Morrissey and The Smiths. I used to go on fan websites and forums all the time. But I remember listening to The Smiths in the shower one morning and listening to a song about child abuse, and I thought to myself that I don’t need to start my day that way. I’ve no time for him at all now.
I suppose I have a different relationship with music now. I don’t need it to reflect my feelings back at me or make me feel less alone. Now it’s something to be enjoyed – I like listening to happy music and if it doesn’t make me feel good, I won’t listen to it.
I went to a Scissor Sisters concert with my dad when I was 11 and I had the time of my life. Everybody was dressed up in fancy dress
I used to get a slagging for my music tastes when I was younger for liking bands such as The Smiths and Panic! at the Disco. Still, I think I Write Sins Not Tragedies is a pop banger. It’s stupid and fantastic and great. It sums up being a teenager, like the way there’s a swear word in it so it seems so controversial. I played it to my friend who didn’t have a Panic! at the Disco history, and he responded, “What kind of sh**e is this?” I couldn’t argue with him, but I just like it.
Body II Body by Samantha Mumba is a bop but it also reminds me about road safety. There were these big road safety ads back in the day – which had the highest production values of anything Ireland has ever made, including all films – and this song was on the ad aimed at younger people. But it's such a pop banger that even it couldn't ruin this song for me. I love Samantha Mumba. She's just so cool and talented. When I was growing up, if you weren't into boy bands, there wasn't that much to be proud of in Ireland in terms of pop, but Samantha Mumba changed that.
The Scissor Sisters song Mary is one of my all-time favourites and that self-titled album is immense. I went to a Scissor Sisters concert with my dad when I was 11 and I had the time of my life. Everybody was dressed up in fancy dress. Then they supported Maroon 5. My friends liked Maroon 5 and I liked the Scissor Sisters so I said we should go together, and we had to dress up because everybody dresses up at Scissor Sisters concerts. So we dressed up – I had a sparkly Robin Hood outfit on – we got a bus from Tullamore to Dublin.
When we went in, nobody was in fancy dress because they were all Maroon 5 fans. My friends were incredibly uncomfortable. Then when the concert started and they played Mary, I remembered that it was about their friend who died of a brain aneurysm. So standing beside my friend, I thought of her dying and I started crying loads. It must have looked really weird to someone: me dressed up as Robin Hood, crying in the middle of a load of Maroon 5 fans.
I loved Lizzo years ago and I'm happy that her dreams are coming true, and now I want the same vibe for Tierra Whack
Tierra Whack is the best artist to come out in the past five years, which is big statement considering Lizzo exists. She's just a pure artist and was a brilliant battle rapper back in the day. She has an album called Whack World, which is 16 songs and all songs are a minute long – I just wish they could last longer. I loved Lizzo years ago and I'm happy that her dreams are coming true, and now I want the same vibe for Tierra Whack. She's too talented not to become massive.
Stand on the Word by The Joubert Singers is an old song but I discovered it at the Dublin club Mother and I couldn’t stop listening to it during lockdown. I was in a house with three other people and there was not a hope of dancing in clubs for ages. So we all put on songs that we liked and danced in the kitchen. At first it was awkward, but you just had to push through because there was nothing else to do. Then this song came on and it was an absolute joy. It’s a beautiful song to dance to. Back in the day a lot of the best art was religious because they had the money to give the artists and I feel that must be the same for gospel music. I’m not religious, but I can get on board with it.
I also picked Kanye West's song Ghost Town, which came from the Ye album. I love Kanye West. I just can't not love him. Yeah, he is a prick, but I'm overwhelmed by how talented he is too. – As told to Shilpa Ganatra
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