Wicklow based singer-songwriter Clara Byrne caught up with The Circular to talk about the homeless crisis, the Irish music scene and politically aware songwriting as well perform an acoustic version of her song ‘Home’.
Hi Clara, thank you so much for talking to us, so can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
Yes, I am a singer-songwriter and I write songs primarily about different issues in society.
Yeah, that’s my main focus is kind of writing about injustices that we live with under capitalism; but yeah keep it light-hearted absolutely!
The song you performed for us in the studio that was topical as well wasn’t it?
Yeah, yeah it was. There’s obviously a homeless crisis at the moment and a housing crisis in general and a renting crisis and there’s just loads of them, so I wrote it in particular when it kind of got a little bit closer to home.
I mean you know it’s just insane, and you actually notice every time you go out in town or you’re walking down the street in town you notice more and more homeless people literally almost daily.
So it’s something that was just right in front of my face that I wanted to write a song about.
And do you prefer to write about topical issues?
Yeah, I haven’t written a song actually that’s been kind of about myself for my own love life or anything like that in a long time; and that was a conscious decision for me cause I just I think at this stage we really squeezed as much as we can out of the topic of love. I mean I think there’s much bigger things going on.
I think it’s very important to kind of represent something outside of yourself when you’re writing.
Are there any songwriters that inspire you?
Yeah, actually I’m listening to and have been for quite some time, a lot of Irish stuff.
In particular it would be kind of like Mick Flannery I think he’s very socially conscious and that’s something that I would aspire towards, and obviously people like Saint Sister I mean their work sticks and they use their craft beautifully and I find that very inspiring, and people like Conor O’Brien from the Villagers.
I’m just drawn to anyone who is lyric heavy and very conscious of the words that they’re using.
So speaking of the Irish music scene what do you think of it at the moment?
I think it’s, I don’t want to use the words ‘up and coming’ but it is! There’s definitely a feel of a boom that’s happening.
You know yourself with BIMM like that’s helping to push it in a way and I think just people in general as things are heating up politically within Ireland and all of these different issues are coming up and coming to people’s awareness I think it’s helping to push people more to express themselves in art.
I think that’s reflected in the amount and the quality of the music that comes out of Ireland.
Are you working on anything at the minute yourself?
I actually am I have finished writing an EP and I’m going to be recording it at the end of the summer.
It’s been it’s been a long time coming because I was a writing a new song and then lobbing off the older song from my list.
But yeah so that’s what I’m working towards.
Listen to her live acoustic performance of ‘Home’ below
Featured Image by Ruthless Imagery