‘We totally gatecrashed Dolores O’Riordan’s wedding. I loved her punk style’

Soundtrack of My Life: Sinead Kennedy on her 1980s obsession and missing gigs in lockdown

Sinead Kennedy: I listen to music whatever I’m doing, and during the pandemic I’ve found it takes me away to other worlds, places and times – which is a much-needed feeling

Sinead Kennedy: I listen to music whatever I’m doing, and during the pandemic I’ve found it takes me away to other worlds, places and times – which is a much-needed feeling

 

I found the first stage of lockdown manageable because everyone was going with the flow and the weather was gorgeous. Then, in the summer, I found out I was pregnant, and that’s kept me going the rest of the way and distracted from all the bad things going on in the world.

I listen to music whatever I’m doing, and during the pandemic I’ve found it takes me away to other worlds, places and times – which is a much-needed feeling. Some find it through books, but for me it’s more through music. For example, One Day Like This, the Elbow song, reminds me of dancing to it at my wedding, and Roses by SAINt JHN takes me back to the very start of the lockdown, when I was spending more time with my husband and perfecting my cocktail-making skills… although we had to keep making sure I got it just right, of course. Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish is a calm song that makes me think of the sea – I’m lucky that it’s within my 2km.

I loved The Cranberries growing up. I wasn’t even a teenager when I first heard them, but I loved Dolores O’Riordan’s punk style, with her shaved head and platinum hair

I love hip-hop, although it’s only represented by one song on the playlist: Rockstar by N.E.R.D. I listened to that album, In Search Of…, on repeat driving up and down between Cork, so I know it inside out.

But if I had to choose two styles of music that I had to listen to forever and a day, it would be indie and 80s – although if you look at my Spotify end-of-year round-up it would say that Damien Dempsey and The Cranberries are my most-listened-to artists. I guess my music taste is all over the place, but it reflects my personality.

I loved The Cranberries growing up. I wasn’t even a teenager when I first heard them, but I loved Dolores O’Riordan’s punk style, with her shaved head and platinum hair. My family are from Tipperary, and when Dolores got married in Tipperary they knew the local priest, so he let us into the church.

We’d never seen anything like it. We got to watch her ride in with horses, and the paparazzi everywhere, and all of the locals and neighbours out to see it. Then we took our place inside the church for her reading – we totally gatecrashed it, but we were delighted with ourselves nonetheless. Like so many people, I was absolutely devastated to hear about her untimely passing. I’d always hoped that, with the job, I’d have the opportunity to meet her, but I never did.

When my husband and I got engaged the first thing we did was book the covers band Spring Break. I rang them first, asked them what dates they had for 2018, and booked the venue and everything else around their availability

My 1980s obsession explains Africa, Total Eclipse of the Heart and We Built This City. When my husband and I got engaged the first thing we did was book the covers band Spring Break. They get booked well in advance, so I rang them first, asked them what dates they had for 2018, and booked the venue and everything else around their availability. It just had to be Spring Break. My husband and I would go to see them every Christmas when they played the Button Factory and go wild.

Christmas wasn’t the same this year without Spring Break at the Button Factory, or Damien Dempsey in Vicar Street, another of our annual gigs. Damien did the gig online this year instead, and, while it was brilliant, it was also difficult to watch, because it makes you want to be in a room full of people. I miss the joy of being crushed within a group of people sweating heavily, and drinking too much, and having a good time. I just can’t wait to get back to gigs, like everyone.

Finally, I chose Declan Nerney’s Stop the World because Dáithí Ó Sé, who I spend a lot of time working with, sings that song all the time. It’s like his screensaver mode. When he’s sitting around and the place is quiet, he’ll burst out singing it. So it’s embedded in my brain forever. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with. I don’t think we take any day seriously, which makes work really easy. We’re having a contest of who’s going to miss who more while I’m on maternity leave, and I feel like he’s definitely going to miss me more. – As told to Shilpa Ganatra

Sinead Kennedy is a presenter on The Today Show, on RTÉ One at 3.30pm each weekday

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