Everyone already knows that in their time before rock stardom, Jack White was an upholsterer, Kurt Cobain made a living as a janitor, and Madonna worked at Dunkin Donuts. But what would you do if you were forced to give up your musical passion and go with a Plan B? For some, the lure of upholstery is…still pretty strong. For others, there’s just no way they could ever see themselves doing anything but music; it’s an impossible choice.
In this last installment of the youbloomDublin 2016 HEADROOM series, we’ve asked a whopping 16 of our dynamite artists – all of whom will be taking to stages across Dublin city centre from Wed Jun 1 – Fri Jun 3 – what their second choice, if any, would be.
Many thanks to all of the brilliant artists for taking part in the most successful HEADROOM yet, and for all the hilarious and heartfelt stories they’ve shared so that you, dear reader, can get to know them just that little bit better. So without further ado, The Impossible Choice.
We’ll see you at the shows.
Damien McFly, singer-songwriter: ‘I would shoot video clips and also be a photographer. I still do that in my free time; it’s a creative job and I love it!’
With a voice that recalls the late, great Jeff Buckley and a fervent style that bridges the gap between traditional and contemporary styles, the Italian-born Damien McFly is an exciting find in the world of acoustic singer/songwriters. With stripped back instrumentation and daring melodic choices, he’s one to watch. See him do his thing live on The Grand Social acoustic stage on Thursday, June 2 at 9.55pm. For fans of: Jeff Buckley, Antony and the Johnsons, Ben Harper
NINA, singer-songwriter: ‘ I’d be a photographer and maybe also a perfumer; I’d love to create my own fragrances.’
Stunningly talented electro pop queen NINA serves up synth-drenched, sultry tunes that are as dark and reflective as they are smooth and urbane. With top notch production it’s clear this artist is on top of her game, and only just getting started. She plays the Wiley Fox on Thu June 2 at 9 pm. For fans of: Kavinsky, Salt Ashes, The Motels
Garrett Wall, guitar & lead vox, Track Dogs: ‘I’d probably be working in TV or cinema, writing, producing, acting! Whatever! I’m a huge fan of series and movies so the apple doesn’t fall too far from the musical tree in terms of option B!’
Tongue-in-cheek, fun, Americana from four expats living in Spain. Their influences are broad and spot-on, and the music they make is tight, generous and well-turned-out. We can’t wait for their live show. For fans of: Hayseed Dixie, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Devil Makes Three
AERYNN: singer-songwriter (vocals, guitar, sometimes piano): ‘Food! Experimenting and trying new recipes or ideas in the kitchen is one of my favourite hobbies, and along with that, I enjoy growing produce myself if possible. I don’t have as much time or space for this at the moment, but I love DIY and making everything from raw materials.’
Impeccable, confident folk from an artist with alternative rock roots, Aerynn writes songs with grace and intrigue. Her formula strays from too much structure, enjoying refreshing, attention-grabbing rhythmic choices and stream-of-consciousness delivery. A bright take on a classic. She takes to the stage at KC Peaches on Thu June 2 at 8.45 pm. For fans of: Judee Sill, Laura Nyro, Bert Jansch
Shane Ó Fearghail, singer-songwriter: ‘Writing stories and books for children or developing animation projects in Irish and other languages.’
Vienna-dwelling Tallaght native Shane Ó Fearghail has the kind of vocal style that has traditionally always paired magically with an acoustic guitar. It’s the kind of music that sweeps you up in its storytelling, takes you for a ride and drops you off miles from the nearest pay phone. Thing is, you don’t mind the walk back, humming the tune now stuck in your head. One to watch, and you can see him at Workman’s acoustic stage on Wed June 1 at 9.50 pm. For fans of: Loudoun Wainwright III, Ron Sexsmith, Daniel Lanois
Killian Ruffley, singer, guitarist and songwriter: ‘This is the hardest question to respond to, because music is the only thing that I can be creative with. I’ll say writing and poetry or maybe filmmaking or acting. Those are art forms I very much admire so I guess I would give them a shot if music was not an option!’
Emotive, powerful vocals are the first standout element in Irish singer-songwriter Killian Ruffley’s tunes, which defy categorisation, straddling the line somewhere between 2010s indie stylistics and 90s-influenced hit rock radio (with even a little trad and funk thrown in for good measure). Ruffley is no slouch, doing things his own way, with top notch results. Don’t miss his show at Workman’s acoustic stage on Thu June 2 at 8.15 pm. For fans of: Biffy Clyro, Young the Giant, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Harriet, singer-songwriter, Hattie Webb: ‘ I paint and weave as well as playing music. I would probably be taking more time to invest in these endeavours if I wasn’t playing music full-time. I would also love to work in communities helping people with basic needs.’
Dancing somewhere between light and ethereal and mournful and bewitching, the vocals of Hattie Webb (of the famous Webb Sisters) have a style reminiscent of the nooks and crannies of some of Kate Bush’s best while never releasing hold on that distinctive Webb sound. Beautiful, impressive, what can I say? A must-see. She plays at KC Peaches on Wed June 1 at 10.15 pm. For fans of: Luke Bloom, Julie Feeney, Eddie Reader
Luke Clerkin, singer-songwriter: ‘ I’d definitely be doing something surrounding it, like events management or artist management as that’s what I’ve studied and have experience in.’
The heart-on-the-sleeve musical stylings of singer-songwriter Luke Clerkin may seem straightforward, but underneath the meandering acoustic guitar and raw, tell-all vocals, lies a darker heart, one seemingly inspired by the mysterious great beyond. Fantastic stuff. See him play the Grand Social acoustic stage on Wed June 1 at 7.40 pm. For fans of: Tim DeLaughter & The Polyphonic Spree, Brendan Benson, Josh Rouse
Kellie Marie, singer-songwriter, acoustic and electric guitars, Kellie Marie Reynolds: ‘Words. Anything to do with words. Or old things. Right now I’m working on a script for TV or Film, not sure which one it is yet. Working in that area would be great and I hope to do it some day. After I finish my album, of course. I’d also love to own a little vintage store-slash-cafe. Old things make me happy.’
One of the most unique vocalists to find her way on to the youbloom bill in quite some time, Kellie Marie Reynolds crafts a wicked concoction of stripped-down acoustic melodies, intimate cabaret-style whispers and growling crescendos featuring all the vocal power of a hurricane. She’s up there with the best, and not one to miss. See her play at the Grand Social acoustic stage on Wed June 1 at 9.10 pm. For fans of: Concrete Blonde, Ruth Brown, Rose Royce.
Chris Kestell, singer-songwriter, A Happy Accident: ‘I would be writing unfinished stories, or taking shitty pictures, or something else to represent myself under my own terms. I think that is important. None of it would have to be the best, but music really is what lets me get my thoughts out day to day in a way I enjoy, and without that outlet I would surely explode!’
Piano-driven and sentimental, sparse, reflective, and pure, with enchanting string arrangements and a measured, near-sleep breath pace, there’s so much to love about the music of Happy Accident. It’s nearly impossible to draw one direct line to anything similar, past or present, but so many legendary elements stand out on this year’s Waiting To Happen EP it’ll more than satisfy. Don’t miss the show at Workman’s acoustic stage on Thu June 2 at 7.30 pm. For fans of: Tom Rush, Leonard Cohen, Red House Painters, and more.
Darragh Mc Grane, lead vox & guitar, Penrose: ‘I don’t think I could ever not be involved with music so if I couldn’t play I think I would be in the studio producing bands.’
Taking the best elements from legends of 60s AM radio, Penrose craft a jubilant sound laden with orchestral arrangements, jangling guitars, and well-considered lyrical melodies. Their style will impress fans of retro-inspired indie from the US and UK alike. Catch them at the Wiley Fox on Wed June 1 at 7.30 pm. For fans of: Oasis, Stereophonics, ELO
Carito Plaza: ‘I would be dancing. I love to move, I love to express myself, I can’t just stay still and since I’m not very good with words (I can sing, but find it hard to speak about my feelings) I would be letting my body say what my tongue can’t.’
Sultry latin grooves spread like hot butter over the funky disco-lite beats of Carito Plaza. A favourite from last year’s youbloomLA 2015 Music Festival, she’s sure to impress across the Atlantic in Dublin. Order an exotic cocktail and loosen up your hips for shaking. Carito’s coming to town to play the Grand Social Main Stage on Wed June 1 at 8.15 pm. For fans of: Janet Jackson, J*DaVeY, NDambi
Francis, bass: ‘I’d be a lawyer or a mechanic.’
Yuki, drums: ‘ I’d probably be a writer.’
Afroot, guitar & keys: ‘Design. Graphics. Making movies.’
Ahamed Harris Momodu AKA STONE, rapper: ‘Playing, having fun, speaking and writing about life and evolution.’
With fresh lyrics, mixed vocals, laid-back beats, and unusual, addicting instrumental choices, Stone& Jezreel have tapped into the hinterlands of great hip-hop, and are busy blazing new trails to the frontiers of what’s possible in the genre. Infectious and satisfying. They rock the Workman’s Club main stage on Wed June 1 at 10.30pm. For fans of: Childish Gambino, Asher Roth, Angel Haze
So what’s your backup plan, your Option B? Let us know in the comments below: