Friday 24 November 2017

Insider Interrogation: Imelda May

Imelda May sits down with Eamon Sweeney to discuss love, life and her new album.

Imelda May
Imelda May
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Profession: Singer and musician

What are you promoting today, and why?

Me new album Tribal. I'm promoting it because I think it's deadly!

What is most rewarding about your life?

I have a fantastic family life. Aside from that, I get to do the job I love. For many years, I had to do other things to pay the bills while I was gigging. It's great to be able to write my own music, but I've really fought for it too. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in sticking to your guns.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

Two reasons – number one is that I absolutely love it and I feel very passionately about it, and secondly, I don't know how to do anything else.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'm quite impatient and I get bored easily. I like to be on the go, so if I could relax a bit more that would be great. I'd also like to be early. I'm always slightly late, as you've just discovered! Never too much, but I'm always slightly behind. I would love to be an early.

What's the rumour about you that's bothered you the most?

None and if there is one about me, it really doesn't bother me either.

It's Sunday night, you're curling up to watch TV for the night. What's on your DVR?

I love old movies. I did get into Downton Abbey and I'm just about to get into Badlands because my whole band have been telling me to watch it. I don't do soaps or anything like that. I love music shows, but like most people I just turn it on, flick around and see what I land on.

What's the most shamefully uncool album you own?

To be honest everything I own I like, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it! I do love some really naff 1960s percussive albums with really bad covers. They are compilations with titles like Cowboy Hits.

Who is your best friend?

I would say my husband, but other than that I'd say my best friend Kate. Yeah, put her in rather than my husband! She has a baby only four months older than mine and she runs her own business as well. We can relate to each other and we have a great old cackle.

Do you like being well known?

I find it weird sometimes. It was the one thing that nearly turned me off signing my record deal, because the thought of it freaked me out. It's not something I've ever chased, but in saying that people are very, very nice to me, so I'm very grateful for that. It can be weird when someone walks up to you and knows absolutely everything about you when you're standing in the supermarket. It depends what you're buying! If you've got women's things in your hand, you want to just get rid of that box of sanitary towels before you continue your conversation. There are moments like that when you're mortified.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday’s Irish Independent

What drives you on a daily basis?

Passion. A passion for life, a passion for music, a passion for my family, a passion for having fun ... A passion for passion! I'm very black and white. There are not many grey areas for me. I either passionately love something or completely hate it.

Who is your hero?

Musically, it would be Wanda Jackson. She's an amazing woman who has had an incredible career over her whole lifetime. She also raised her family very well. She's the first lady of rock'n'roll and she's sassy and sunny. She's everything you'd aspire to be. Personally, it is always going to be my mother. She is the best woman I've ever met.

What makes you emotional?

I don't cry very often so I'm very typically Irish in that way. You feel it, but you don't show it. You just get on with it and that's the way I've been for many years. In saying that, at the moment anything about babies on television can set me off, especially since I had a baby.

What's your favourite day of the week?

I don't know what day of the week it is most of the time and that is not even a joke! I know this sounds really stupid of me, but yesterday I asked someone what year it was.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I have absolutely no idea. I play things by ear. I don't have a five-year plan if that is what you're asking me. Do I look like I have a five-year plan? I'd like to make great albums and write good songs that I'm happy with, tour and have a good time with my band. I'd like to have a happy and stable family life and have a good time along the way. I've never had a definite plan in life. I find it a bit more exciting that way to be honest. I like to see how it goes. I have a gypsy life, but it's worked out so far so I'm not going to change.


2002 – Imelda forms her own band

2008/2009 – Performs on Later with Jools Holand and releases second album Tattoo

2011 – Headlines the O2, Dublin.

2014 – Imelda releases her fourth album Tribal. It goes straight to number one

Imelda May plays Vicar St, Dublin on June 18 & 19, the Marquee, Cork on June 21, Festival Big Top, Galway on July 18 and the O2, Dublin on December 20. Tribal is out now.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent

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