Bondings: Black is the colour - how singer Aoife Scott knew Andy Meaney was the guy for her
A member of the famous Black family, singer-songwriter Aoife Scott met Andy Meaney while on a German tour
At his Vicar Street concert in 2013, singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke attempted to give Cupid a helpful shove in the direction of Aoife Scott and Andy Meaney's blossoming relationship. However, Aoife couldn't handle his good intentions. "Declan knew I fancied Andy, so he said, 'I know some people here may just be friends, but if anyone is thinking about making a move, now is your chance,'" she laughs. "Andy was looking at me and his own band were staring at us, and I had to look away as I was mortified. I sat so far away from him that he couldn't make a move anyway."
Andy and Aoife had their first kiss a few weeks later, and she knew straight away that he was the guy for her. "Andy is the most caring, thoughtful and generous person I have ever met, and I didn't think that anyone could love me as much as he does," she says. "I am kind of emotionally high-maintenance and am up and down and a bit mental at times, so it takes a person with patience to be with me. He is well able to handle me and make me laugh and I just love his face. I also fancy his guitar-playing, because he's so talented."
Aoife and Andy met on a six-week German tour, and they were just friends, initially. He was with his band FullSet and she was with her former band, The Outside Track, and they enjoyed hanging out together. The friendship continued when they arrived home, and Andy also fancied the beautiful Aoife. "She was really easy to talk to, and we had very similar interests and attitudes to life," he says. "It was her spirit that got me though, and the way she made me feel. Aoife is very passionate and inspirational because if she has a dream, she follows it. She is really generous and caring and so thoughtful."
Aoife (33) has an older brother Eoghan, and they're the children of singer and founder of The Rise Foundation, Frances Black, and her first husband Richie Scott. The marriage ended when the children were small, and Frances went on to marry Brian Allen, whom Aoife is very close to and who has been in her life since she was four. She saw her dad twice a week growing up at her Nana Kathleen's house - she is 93 and Aoife adores her - and she now has five siblings through her dad: Richie, Mary, Sean, Ellen, Orla, and four nephews and nieces.
Like everyone else in her family, Aoife inherited her love of singing from her late grandmother, Patty Black. While she has a beautiful voice like her mum and aunt Mary, she was unsure around choosing music as a career as she saw first-hand that life on the road can be hard. She decided to go into the TV production industry instead, completing a course in communications and media at Colaiste Dhulaigh, followed by a digital media degree at the University of Wolverhampton.
While Aoife worked successfully in TV production for years - notably with TG4 as she speaks fluent Irish - she still felt the lure of singing. The catalyst for change came when she was working as production manager on the IFTA award-winning TV series, 1916 Seachtar na Casca. One day, while the crew was working late on a GPO scene, the actor singing had to leave, and Aoife was asked to fill in to keep the atmosphere going. The reaction to her beautiful, evocative voice - fragile and ethereal one minute, and strong and vibrant the next - was so strong, she was ultimately asked to sing on all seven episodes of the landmark TV series.
She began entering competitions, and won the coveted Fastrack to Feis and the Ballyshannon Folk Festival Showcase. As her confidence grew, she decided to leave her TV job and embark on a career in folk and traditional music, encouraged by her proud mother. "I was well-paid and comfortable, and the idea of not knowing when your next gig was just freaked me out at first," Aoife explains. "When you're young and driving around in a convertible, you think you're great, but if you aren't happy or doing what you want, it isn't worth it. Now I'm happier because I'm doing what I dreamed of, even though I'm a bit poorer. I don't mind that, as once I can make a living at it, I'm happy and I prefer this way of life and performing and making music full-time now."
The engaging Aoife gained invaluable experience touring worldwide as lead singer with The Outside Track for a year, and she performed at the National Folk Alliance in Kansas City, and with the RTE Concert Orchestra as part of Culture Night. She launched her stunning debut album, Carry the Day, at a sold-out concert at the Temple Bar TradFest last weekend, and it has already been making waves and attracting huge attention, praise and airplay. Financed by fans through the kickstarter scheme Fund-It, with half of the songs written by Aoife and Enda Reilly, she is delighted to be on her first headline tour now.
While he plays with Aoife where possible, Andy (30) is also in a well-known traditional band, FullSet, and plays guitar and accordion. He's from Rathmines and has a younger sister, and his parents are Bairbre and Shay. Andy went to DIT in Rathmines to study music foundation, and then did a traditional music course at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. FullSet have just released their own new album, Notes Between the Lines, and are also on tour (dates on www.fullset.ie).
They are now together two years and Aoife and Andy are already sure that they have a future together. "When I introduce him to people, I say, 'This is Andy and I'm going to marry him,'" says Aoife, while the genial Andy chimes in that he feels exactly the same. "It's not that I'm putting pressure on him and I don't really care about marriage, but I just know I'm going to be with Andy for the rest of my life. There is no other way around it."
Aoife's album, Carry the Day, is out now on iTunes and www.aoifescott.com. She plays the Duncairn Arts Centre on February 13th, the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, on the 19th, the Gathering Festival, INEC, Killarney on the 20th, and the Workman's Club on March 4th
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