Singer-songwriter Jimi is back making music after overcoming hearing issues

Fintan Lambe

Published 25/03/2014 | 05:38

Jimi Cullen
Jimi Cullen

A NORTH Wexford singer-songwriter has said he'll give his new album and single away for free, in an effort to rebuild his following, after he had to take time out from music when he developed a serious hearing problem.

A NORTH Wexford singer-songwriter has said he'll give his new album and single away for free, in an effort to rebuild his following, after he had to take time out from music when he developed a serious hearing problem.

Jimi Cullen (30), from Gorey, was one of the county's hardest working musicians, performing over 150 gigs a year, until he developed hyperacusis several years ago.

'I had to take a couple of years away from the music when I developed trouble with my hearing,' he said. 'I was diagnosed with hyperacusis, a sensitivity to certain sounds and frequencies, and it affected my musical career for two years. I couldn't do gigs, or really play at all.'

With the support of Waterford DeafHear, Jimi recovered sufficiently to restart his music with the help of ear protection measures.

He also took the time out to install his own music studio at his home on the Mill Road in Gorey, where he can control the sound levels on the microphones.

It was in this studio where he started working on his new album 'Life', which will be launched on April 4 next. It will be given away free at his gigs, and can be downloaded online for free until August 24 next. He has also released the single 'Brand New Day' which has been very well received so far, and is getting some radio airplay.

'As a thank you to everyone for their continued support over the last few years, I have decided that for the duration of my upcoming tour, I will be making the album free at all gigs and free to download,' said Jimi. 'I have put so much work into making this album, and for a while it didn't look as though it would ever get finished on account of my hearing troubles.'

'Now that the album is complete, I really want as many people as possible to hear it,' he explained.

'Getting my music heard is far more important to me right now than making money from it. All I ask as a payment instead of money is that people help me spread the music as far and wide as possible by sharing it around to friends and family and help make 2014 a great year for me and my music.'

'Life' will be available for download from jimicullenmusic.bandcamp.com from April 4. Musicians on the album include Jimi on guitar; Rick Smith on guitars, banjo and mandolin; Paddy McLoughlin on drums; Karen Dunbar on keyboard and backing vocals; Sinead O'Byrne on backing vocals; and Luke Cosgrave on violin.

The video for 'Brand New Day' was directed and filmed on Ballymoney Beach by Rachel Gregan, and can be viewed on YouTube. Jimi is delighted with the response so far.

He will also embark on a five-month 50 gig tour including the launch party in Katie Daly's Gorey on March 29; the Fusion Café, Wexford, on April 11; Bolg Bui, New Ross on May 30; Holohans, Enniscorthy, on June 13; The Red Chair, Wexford, on July 24; and at the Gorey Market House Festival on August 23.

Jimi's music is a blend of folk, pop, rock and country, and his songs range from protest songs to love songs. He has been gigging away since 2004, and built up a loyal following in the years since. 'I always got great support in Gorey,' he said. 'It really does help keep you going when you know there are a lot of people behind you.'

Jimi has toured all over Europe, and has released two albums and two EPs, selling over 5,000 copies combined. He has shared the stage with some of Ireland's best known musicians, and last November, his cover version of 'Zombie' for Amnesty International, reached No. 2 in the singer songwriter charts on iTunes, and also broke into the main top 50.

See Jimi Cullen Music on Facebook for updates.

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