A couple of months ago I spoke on Twitter of how I would love to start doing Q&A style posts! Not long after I saw an opportunity to collaborate with up and coming Wexford singer, Colleen Coughlan.
Colleen is a 17-year-old Wexford based singer/ songwriter and musician. Just before Colleen started her Leaving Cert year I got the chance to have a chat with her about what music means to her, and what her plans for the future hold for her in terms of her Leaving Cert and music!
When did you realize you could sing/write songs?
I started guitar right after I received my first piano at the age of 13. They both were difficult instruments but with practicing and time, it became natural to me. It took me a while to realize that I was writing from a deeply personal place, which was therapeutic. My songs were connecting with people and it was then I realized I wanted to be a songwriter. Singing came naturally and Songwriting was a new language I felt like I just developed, it was an imaginative and a creative journey.
What was the first tune you learned?
I didn’t learn a song or a tune, I learned a variation of chords and when I came home, in five minutes I had written my very first song called ‘You & I’, at the age of 13. I was proud of myself but even then I didn’t think of myself as a songwriter, I was just learning and it was only the beginning for me.
Who is your biggest inspiration? Who inspired you to start songwriting?
Music in my family was passed down through generations. Irish music was a big influence on my family. However, my first big inspiration towards music was Michael Jackson. At the age of 9, I knew nothing of him, before his death but music had a massive impact and effect on me. From then on I believe he taught me the creative writing and lyrical process of music. It was only then I realized my love for music.
Where do you get inspiration when writing your original songs?
To write a song, I’m usually very emotional. Being a teenager was very hard for me, and with the insecurities of my past, I was able to vent through my songwriting. I vary my emotions in my music from anger, love, hate, and sadness. It depends on what mood I’m in when a song just comes to me.
The process is very quick, the melody comes from my head, then I compose the chords on either piano or guitar, and I sit there and let all the words flow out. My song usually has 2 verses and choruses along with a bridge and the final chorus. That’s typically the form I use.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest achievement to date would be the creation of my Album/EP, ‘ I Surrender’. All my emotions are on that album for everyone to hear. My producer was Brendan Carthy from The Orchard Recording Studio in Enniscorthy. He made all my songs come to life, and it was a pleasure working with him.
What are your plans for the future in terms of your music career?
I ‘m waiting to release my new single, ‘5 AM’. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I’m going to continue to go back into the studio to record and release new music before I enter college. I’m heading in the 6th year of secondary school. Being 17, I still have a lot to learn in life such as love and loss.
What advice would you have for someone looking to get into the music industry?
Keep writing. You’ve got a lifetime to learn about the music industry, so don’t let it get you down. Spread your music, on social media, at open mics, and learn to collaborate with amazing local artists.
Be open to positive criticism and listen to your parents, they’re always right. Allow yourself to grow with your music and be aware of your mental health, let music be your therapy.