Despite the current circumstances, the Irish music scene is in full bloom right now – and nowhere is this arguably more evident than amongst pop artists.
A number of pop acts are making waves both in Ireland and on the international circuit, restoring our national pride in the genre and helping to push memories of Westlife and Jedward to the farthest reaches of people's minds.
Below are five Irish acts doing great things in pop music right now...
If you haven't heard of Cmat by now, time to dust off the rock you've been living under for the past year. The Dubliner enjoyed a bountiful 2020 thanks to a series of killer singles, from 'Another Day (KFC)' to the country-pop of 'I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby'. She has a serious ear for melody and injects her music with a wry sense of humour and bags of personality. Even Iggy Pop himself is a fan. And despite claiming last year that she wasn't interested in writing an album, it seems that she's currently working on one right now. Hurray!
This Dublin native first made waves with the title track from her debut EP 'Up de Flats' last year. An homage to her inner city roots, it was a glistening, two-step-influenced pop tune evoking hazy summer days like few other tracks did last year. However, the twentysomething was already displaying star quality as far back as 2018, when she caught the ear of Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau Twin and current Bella Union label boss), who invited her to collaborate with his new project Lost Horizons. An artist bursting with potential, we can't wait to hear what she does next.
Whether it's deliberate or not, Rushes has been one of the most enigmatic new acts on the Irish scene in recent years – dropping soulful tunes like 'Liquor' and 'Glimpse', but with no substantial info on who he was or where he's from. Now, we know that he's from Skibbereen (name still a closely-guarded secret, though) and moved back to his Co. Cork hometown during the pandemic, having spent time in Dublin, London and Berlin. Now, his debut full-length project 'Glowchild' is en route in July and is seriously impressive soul and r'n'b-inflected electropop; expect to hear a lot more of this guy later this year. New single 'Wide Eyed' arrives on April 30th.
The problem with releasing an album during a pandemic is that there is no real opportunity to tour it or promote it on a wide scale – particularly if you're an independent artist. That might be one of the reasons why Eve Belle's debut album was somewhat overlooked last year – but it's not too late to remedy that. The Donegal artist's 'In Between Moments' was full of smart, sharp and inventive pop songs and really deserves to find a bigger audience.
You may be familiar with Enda Gallery's work without even knowing it; the Kildare-born, Clare-based musician formerly operated under the name 'delush', releasing his debut album last year. He has also produced and collaborated with a huge number of acts and is currently collaborating with a diverse range of artists including Limerick rapper Strange Boy and Offaly's Tolu Makay. He has fingers in multiple pies, but don't underestimate his solo work: that aforementioned album 'The Journey to Zero' has been recently re-released and is worth a listen, while his latest single 'Super Raw' is a good taster of the emotive electro-pop that he peddles.