Gemma Hayes is a highly respected Irish singer songwriter. Her debut album, Night On My Side, was released in 2002, for which she won Best Female Artist at the Hot Press Awards and a Mercury Prize nomination. Since then she has released 4 studio albums and a limited-edition live album. Gemma is constantly in demand for film and tv placements – her version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, recorded for the US TV series Pretty Little Liars, is now close to 18 million streams on Spotify alone. Gemma is currently working on a new album and will be showcasing some of her brilliant new songs on the Acoustic Round Tour.
Who inspired you to make music?
My father was in a band for 30 years and brought me along to some of their shows. Being exposed to the machinations of making music since I was a child helped demystify the process. So in essence my Dad showed me it was possible. When I heard people like John Martin, Nick Darke, then later Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine I was truly inspired to connect to the world through the medium of music.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Well, we definitely make a lot less money as music is pretty much free on the internet. People’s subscriptions to streaming sites line the pockets of the shareholders and nothing else. But on a positive note, our music now reaches the far corners of the world through the internet which is very exciting. I can connect directly with the people who listen to my music and bypass a myriad of middlemen. I love this about technology.
Have you got a ritual of sorts when making music?
Now that I have two young kids the first step in making music is to get as far away from them as possible!:) I love my children but in order to go to that place in myself to create, I need to step out of being a mother. So my ritual would include listening to inspiring music, reading poetry, creating a musical space and then writing and refining constantly.
How would you describe your music?
Crikey this question is tough. My musical style depends on what I am trying to express. I’m not dyed in the wool folk (sometimes I wish I was as I could just answer – folk!) but I’m not balls to the wall rock either. It hovers between folk and deconstructed pop rock perhaps. Yikes sorry, I’m crap at answering this one.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the middle of recording a new album that is due out in the summer. I’m going on tour in the UK in May with Jamie Lawson, Laura Zocca and Richard Walters which I’m very happy about as we share the stage sharing stories and songs.
What are your top two favorite songs of all time? Why those songs?
Don Henley- Boys Of Summer – This is pure nostalgia for me. This song goes against what I usually go for which is something more organic and rustic. There are real clean lines and professionalism of old in the production of this song that surprisingly doesn’t suffocate it. It’s 3.5 minutes of sheer magic.
Kate Bush – Cloudbusting – it’s very rare to find a song that resonates every single time you listen to it over the years. Kate Bush in general lives beyond time and is always relevant. Her music is pure, true and full of aching honesty.
What was the last series you watched on TV?
What do you think the greatest invention has been?
Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions?
I make the sign of the cross on the forehead of everyone I love before they leave. It’s sort of beyond religious at this stage and is more a habit but one I don’t want to stop incase something happens to them!!
If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?
Did your worst fears happen in the end?
If you had to describe yourself as a flavor, what would it be?