With her debut album 13 Songs, Julie Feeney was a surprising but deserving winner of the inaugural Choice Music Prize. Her follow-up, the hauntingly beautiful pages was greeted with similar critical acclaim and cemented the singers stake as an Irish indie icon.
Ahead of the release of her third album Clocks, it seems fair to assume that Feeney might be feeling a bit of pressure, but surprisingly that doesn't seem to be the case.
“Bizzarely I was least afraid on this one. I just felt more honest on this one. The first two albums had the response that you said which has been great. Since the second album the live aspect has become a whole annal of itself” she says.
“That's where I have contact with people on a regular basis and see how they are responding. So based on that I wasn't as much thinking about what I needed to do to get the same response for this one because I just love it, I've been enjoying it so much”.
And as she lets the response from her live shows inform her new record, Feeney has also been working on improving her live performance, taking inspiration from her myriad of other interests.
“The wonderful thing about doing music is that it's constantly changing, it's evolving all the time. For the first album I performed live fine, but I don't think I was particularly amazing. I used to do other live things like contemporary dance and alternative theatre”.
“Then I realised 'Hang on, why do you have all these things in boxes? Just go out and perform and be all the things you are all in one'. It's more about that it just changes and you've got to change with it and in that way you develop”.
For her upcoming tour in support of Clocks, Feeney has developed a hugely ambitious live project. Over ten consecutive nights she will be performing in ten different venues with ten locally based choirs.
“I love choral voices. I was a professional choral singer for five years. I worked a lot with orchestras but I hadn't as much gotten into choirs. So this was my chance and by God I've gotten into it now. We've found some really fantastic choirs and really great directors. Each of them are doing about seven or eight pieces. It's been a fantastic experience for me, you really get into the fabric of a town as well”.
Feeney says her latest album will touch on elements of her first two records, with new influences from her time spent in America. She also feels that this is her most emotionally honest and raw record to date.
“It's sort of a mixture of the two. There's a lot more naked feeling in it. I think the emotion is more bare. I've been less afraid to lay bare emotionally. Musically there's a much broader range of instruments. There's a slightly more Americana feel on some of them. That's because I was spending time in America, appreciating being from Galway. You appreciate where you're from more when you're away, especially in America where the Irish identity is such a complex thing”.