Pillow Queens' Pamela Connolly: ‘I hope Dublin will be a liveable place for artists’

Life Lessons: ‘Doing well’ creatively still means a precarious way of life for Pillow Queens singer

Pamela Connolly: ‘When I was 15 my ears popped on a flight to Alicante and I realised I was lesbian.’ Photograph: Ciara Brennan

Pamela Connolly: ‘When I was 15 my ears popped on a flight to Alicante and I realised I was lesbian.’ Photograph: Ciara Brennan

 

Pamela Connolly is a singer, guitarist, and bassist with the Irish band Pillow Queens, who play the Galway Arts Festival on July 19th, and the All Together Now festival on August 2nd.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life? 
My current endeavour as a professional musician has been the biggest shock to the system so far, albeit one I’m very happy to be doing. Having slogged away on and off for years, Pillow Queens has made me feel increasingly hopeful with each passing gig and release. This feeling of ‘doing well’ creatively unfortunately doesn’t translate to anywhere other than my parents box room in Donaghmede. I’m so lucky to have somewhere steady while I’m living so precariously. I live in hope that one day Dublin will be a liveable place for artists and the working class.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
Do drag!

Is there a moment that changed your life? 
When I was 15 my ears popped on a flight to Alicante and I realised I was lesbian. That’s at least how I remember the event and I’m sticking by it. From there, being queer has shaped so many great experiences in my life, and allowed me to meet some amazing people.

Who do you admire most?
My partner Tara.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My gorgeous group of brothers have been a constant influence. We’ve been encouraging each other creatively as well as working together on many interesting projects for years. I’m in awe of their talents and I feel very lucky to be part of this little artistic family that has shaped me creatively.

Is there something you do to help your personal development?
I’m trying to learn Irish at the moment, which I’m sure gets me a few steps up. I could give you 10 impractical things I do that impede my personal development if you would rather?

What is your worst habit?
My ability to procrastinate, which is beyond reproach.

What are you most proud of in your life? 
Dave Balfe and I had a duo a few years back that went by the moniker Mothers & Fathers. We released a concept album titled Respect + Reverence in 2012, and while it didn’t blow up, it’s still something I look at it with beaming pride that we’d made something so special in a shed with a toy keyboard and a cracked version of Cool Edit Pro.

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