Q&A with alluring indie-folk singer Maria Kelly

Slated to release her debut album The Sum of the In-between on the 15th of October via Veta Records, folk singer Maria Kelly has been sharing sweet-hearted lyrics along the way. The singer began writing lyrics in her teenage years and has not stopped putting pen to paper since then, as she shares all her life experiences and joyful moments with her music. The singer gave us the first taste of the album with the title track ‘ The Sum of the In-between’ lyric video, a breezy alternative track that explores changes in yourself and others. Expect to be humming along with Maria Kelly’s lullaby-esque vocals that can pause the noise from outside for a few minutes.

We chatted with charming wordsmith and singer Maria Kelly below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Growing up, there was always music in my house, but I think I really began falling in love with songwriting when I got Regina Spektor’s Begin To Hope on CD. I was mesmerised by her songs, and it was my first realisation that music didn’t have to tick a certain box, it could be as creative and weird as you like!

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

I have lots of things that spark ideas for me – feelings, conversations, places, big changes in life. I also love how people’s minds work, and I love taking that into account when I’m writing about different relationship dynamics. Some phrase or word comes to mind, and I just start to build from there while noodling on my guitar. Some songs come really easily, almost as if they’re from somewhere else entirely! And others take a little more patience.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Other music, conversations with my friends, podcasts, learning more about myself and my own brain, taking time away from music to actually just do things! Whether it’s meeting a friend or travelling, swimming, or walking around my neighbourhood. I like to get out of my mind and into my body in order to let my brain do its own thing sometimes!

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

I definitely feel that difference. I often wish social media wasn’t such an integral part of being a songwriter these days. You can’t really reach enough people without it, but it can be such an overwhelming way to share work. When I first started writing, I just wanted to play in front of people. I didn’t think I would need to be constantly “on”, constantly coming up with ways to make it interesting and keep people engaged, constantly sharing more of my life than I maybe had planned to. It’s a strange mix.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I love performing. I get in a sort of zone when I get to play in front of people, and there’s nothing quite like it for me. I do love writing and being in the studio, but there’s something about seeing that work bounce back to you that makes it feel a little more real.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

I got a message from a really kind girl in the UK that I actually printed out and stuck on my studio wall while I was writing the album. My music had reached her, and had helped her through a really serious bout of illness. She also had shared it with people in her life, and felt like my music had created a space for them to be vulnerable together for the first time, and in turn, closer. I can’t put into words how much that means to me.

What’s on your current playlist?

Billie Marten, Orla Gartland, Saint Sister, Sive, Big Thief and Andy Shauf!

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

In less than six weeks, my debut album is actually going to exist in the world !! The Sum of the In-between will be out on October 15th via Veta Records, and I can’t wait for people to have it. After that, I’m going to be playing some shows around Ireland, and I’m hoping to get further afield in 2022!

Famous last words?

People are just people, they shouldn’t make you nervous.

the sum of the in-between’ features on the Spotify playlist INDIE_GRØUND

Follow Maria Kelly:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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