Vyvienne Long on her new album: ‘I will stand over this work until I breathe my last’

Life Lessons: Singer, cellist and composer on challenges, influences and achievements

Cellist, singer and composer, Vyvienne Long

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced?

Moving into my mother-in-law’s house in Ashford, then writing, recording, and producing an album while being a full-time mother.

What moment changed your life?

Playing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with Hugh Maguire and the Irish Youth Orchestra.

Who do you most admire?

There’s a long list, from Al Gore to Greta Thunberg to Carl Corcoran. But more locally, the people I admire endlessly are Dr Eve Gaughan at the Rotunda Hospital, who has dedicated her life to helping pregnant women but whose generosity of spirit spills over to anyone lucky enough to cross her path; and Catherine Young, a jaw-droppingly talented choreographer who dedicates her work in contemporary dance to highlighting the plight of refugees and asylum seekers.

Who or what is the biggest influence on your career?

At the moment, the biggest influence on my career is Lizzo. Her sassiness is as refreshing as a swim in the Irish Sea.


What practical thing helps your personal development?

Socially embarrassing, but highly effective, vocal warm-ups. And although I am late to the software table, music software for composition.

What location do you return to for a sense of calm?

The car. I love to listen to the radio on my way home from gigs and wonder: what if, just what if . . .

What’s your biggest flaw?

Not being a long-term thinker.

What’s your worst habit?

Undoubtedly, the biscuit cupboard.

What would your friends say is your most dominant trait?

That I’m not dominant!


your secret unfulfilled goal?

To be a size eight and live on Ardburgh Road [in Dalkey, south Dublin]. Then, surely, all of my other unfulfilled goals would fall into place.

What are you most proud of?

My new album, A Lifetime of High-Fives. I will stand over this work until I breathe my last.

What is your motto for life?

Laugh as hard and as often as you can. There are endless opportunities to be worn down, so draw out the ridiculous and seize laughter whenever it winks on the horizon.

Vyvienne Long is a cellist, singer and composer from Dublin. Her latest album, A Lifetime of High-Fives, is out now.