Gemma Hayes - Let It Break
Even though many believe her to be one of our best female singer/songwriters, Gemma Hayes has never really gained the commercial success her talent deserves.
Now into her second decade of music, this thirty-something artist has lost none of the ability that has made her such a darling with the critics. Unlike so many of her contemporaries there is an unpretentious honesty to her voice that has drawn comparisons with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Beth Orton.
With the release of Let It Break we have a more mature and accomplished artist who has retained all her earlier enthusiasm.
“The industry has changed so much since I first started my career and although there are a number of new channels to promote yourself– such as the internet, TV and movies – it is no less challenging,” Gemma says.
“I’ve always been drawn to atmospheric music and though that isn’t the most commercial approach to take, at this stage in my career I want to produce material that is more rewarding to me as an artist.
“I love cinema and Let It Break was written with cinema in mind”.
Her first single, Shock to the System is a well crafted, haunting love song that grows on you and forms one of the many highpoints on the album.
“I love the writing process and because a lot of what I compose happens to sit comfortably in the realm of indie movies I consider each song a mini-story so there is a symmetry to the process.”
A lot of Gemma’s music is now heard on TV shows such as Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars and this is becoming a medium that showcases the music of artists who may not take the traditional route.
“It’s funny in a way because whilst my songs don’t get played as often on the radio I hear them so much more now – especially in the States where I’m based at the moment.”
Gemma was born in Ballporeen, Tipperary, one of eight children in a very musical family.
“Dad was a pianist. He used to play to us and I would often play the piano myself in my teens as a way to relieve the boredom of life in a small village.
“By the time I moved to Dublin I was working part time during the day and then playing as many clubs as I could in the evenings to get myself out there.
“Obviously the Internet wasn’t then the efficient tool for circulating your music it has become so catching the eye of a roaming music executive was always the priority.”
Gemma is looking to return to LA, as she believes it’s the“hub of all that is going on in the business”. It also happens to be her partner’s home.
“It’s been intense trying to have a long-distance relationship and I am keen to get back to the States on a permanent basis.”
Still passionate about her craft, Gemma concedes that the older she gets the more simple everything becomes for her in the music business.
“The industry is a machine and you just need to learn how to manage it. My music has never let me down and I am at my best when I’m composing. The trick to longevity in this business is to do it because you want it. The day I stop loving my art is the day I’ll probably look to switch careers!”
Does she have any regrets?
“Not so much a regret but I am sure that I would not release an album completely on my own again. That was just too hard and very difficult not to drop the ball. It takes a lot of energy to write, produce and market your work. The only thing I am completely sure of is that I will always write – even if nobody listens – as long as I want to.”
Outside her career, is there anything Gemma would like to do?
“I would love to finish my degree. I was studying history, sociology and psychology at Dublin University before I dropped out to focus on the music.”
And what does she do to relax?
“Well, I am a bit of a fitness freak,” she confesses. “I have a fascination with nutrition and, although I’m not quite as careful as I used to be, I’m still amazed and dismayed at how many people ignore their health and are badly affected by their eating habits. California is all about health and beauty but the same can’t be said for the rest of America.”
Gemma is currently doing a number of shows in the UK and has a huge affection for England, where her first album did better than in the rest of the world.
Let It Break is out now and if you would like to learn more about Gemma Hayes then visit her website by clicking here.
George R Vaughan
Women Talking is pleased to announce we have 3 copies of Let It Break up for grabs.
To win all you need to do is answer the following question:
Name the title of Gemma Hayes’ first album.
Send your answers to email@example.com ensuring you place the words Gemma Hayes in the subject header and also include your unique Women Talking username.
This competition has now closed and the winners will be contacted shortly.