Burn­ing Am­bi­tion

Hot Press - - Music World 4104 - Check out Roisin El Cherif’s mu­sic at sound­cloud.com/roisinelcherif.

Be­fore last year, ROISIN EL CHERIF hadn’t sang out­side of her bed­room, but she’s now a ris­ing star thanks to her sin­gle ‘Kerosene’. Ed­win McFee hears about her re­mark­able jour­ney.

INI­TIALLY IN­TENDED AS “AN EX­PER­I­MENT”, ‘Kerosene’, the 2016 de­but sin­gle from singer/ song­writer Roisin El Cherif, sig­nalled the ar­rival of some­one spe­cial. Rich in tex­tures, melody and moods, the brood­ing ef­fort earned her plenty of ac­claim and when Hot Press catches up with her, she tells us that she’s thrilled her mu­sic is con­nect­ing with peo­ple.

“I didn’t sing out­side of my room be­fore last year and now peo­ple want to hear my songs… that’s pretty cool,” she be­gins. “I’m re­ally grate­ful for the at­ten­tion. There’s noth­ing bet­ter than be­ing ac­knowl­edged for your art and hard work.”

A lover of well-crafted lyrics and a fan of the likes of Tracy Chap­man, Fleet­wood Mac and Fever Ray, Roisin’s long awaited EP is set for re­lease in a mat­ter of months, with sec­ond sin­gle ‘Half A Life’ pre­ced­ing it in April. She cred­its the de­lay to her “day job” work­ing in movies and TV.

“I work full time in the film in­dus­try so my free time is lim­ited,” she ex­plains. “Ba­si­cally, I re­leased ‘Kerosene’ to see what the feed­back would be. I had one fin­ished/pro­duced song that I was proud of and an idea for a mu­sic video. I didn’t have a fol­low-up plan af­ter that and I’ve been busy ever since.

“The EP is a con­coc­tion of in­flu­ences. I’m drawn to sad songs for some rea­son and tribal beats. I think my mu­sic is dark, at­mo­spheric folk-pop.”

Speak­ing of in­flu­ences, El Cherif spent most of her life liv­ing in Saudi Ara­bia, Aus­tralia and Morocco be­fore set­tling in Ire­land, and she tells us she soaked up shed-loads of mu­sic and cul­tures along the way.

“I grew up most of my life out­side of Ire­land,” she re­flects. “How­ever, my mother had us all singing Ir­ish ballads and the AWo­man’s Heart’

CD was a favourite in our house. That, com­bined with Fairouz (and other Ara­bic singers) means that I’m very at home in mi­nor keys and melodies. With­out mean­ing to, I end up singing mi­nor har­monies to most songs.

“Aus­tralia taught me to get up early on a Satur­day and watch [mu­sic channel] Rage.

I was in Oz when Brit­ney, NSYNC and the Back­street Boys were the busi­ness and I al­ways as­so­ciate my ’90s mu­sic in­tro­duc­tion with my time in Tas­ma­nia.”

An ex­tremely in­dus­tri­ous artist, El Cherif tells us she en­joys mar­ry­ing the world of film and mu­sic to­gether, with her work on the Academy Award-win­ning Brook­lyn be­ing among the high­lights.

“I didn’t know Brook­lyn would go on to be so suc­cess­ful but it didn’t sur­prise me,” she says. “I went to the cin­ema to see it with my mum and we were both bawl­ing – my mother was in­con­solable. It got most Ir­ish peo­ple right in the gut.

“I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in film; I love sto­ries and I have a vivid imag­i­na­tion. I’m a

Harry Pot­ter kid. Some­times I have a story for a mu­sic video long be­fore I’ve fin­ished a song, and it helps me write the next lyric. Work­ing in film and see­ing the out­come of things you’ve helped make is very re­ward­ing, it’s a trip.”

With world dom­i­na­tion very much on the agenda, El Cherif tells us she has a packed sched­ule over the next few months.

“I’ve been in­vited to take part in a song­writ­ing work­shop hosted by (Ru­mours pro­ducer) Ken Cal­lait, so I’ll be go­ing to LA in March,” she ex­plains. “Then the plan is to re­lease an EP, do an Ir­ish tour and see how it goes.”

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