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10 Questions with Singer-Songwriter Harry Kelly



Singer-songwriter Harry Kelly answers 10 questions about his inspiration, plans for the future, and musical style

Singer-songwriter Harry Kelly answers 10 questions about his inspiration, plans for the future, and musical style

Singer-songwriter Harry Kelly is an artist who is passionate about exploring new and exciting forms of creative expression that transcend genres. As a musician and all-around performer, Harry always working on the next big thing and aims to inspire others and positively influence the world through their art.

Kelly has a vast catalogue of original music that spans many genres including Alternative, Hip-Hop and Electronic Dance.

Can you tell us about your childhood?




I grew up in the north side of Limerick City near Thomond Park. I always played sport growing up like soccer, rugby and basketball but I never had too much of a passion or was particularly talented. I spent most of my summers in Kilkee swimming and doing all the sorts of things you do when you’re away by the beach as a youngfella. Then during the rest of the year, I’d spend most of my time listening to music and watching films. I was, and still am, an absolute nerd about stuff like that.

Where does your love of music come from?

My main nerdy obsession was hiphop music. I was always fascinated with the characters that came out of the genre and the rich culture that came along with the music. There always seemed to be this level of knowledge and understanding that you needed to have to understand and appreciate the music in a certain way but on the other hand if you didn’t have that knowledge or were ignorant to the culture you could still enjoy it on a base level. I suppose my parents never censored what I was listening to so at a very young age the first songs I ever really knew were early Eminem songs or JayZ or something.

And with two older siblings showing me what was the new cool rap song of the month I always had new crazy stuff to listen to. I guess most people reading this probably grew up on music that’s based on more classic styles like rock or folk and has grown to like hip hop or not but it was my first genre so that’s what music was for me really.

Then only when I started to turn about 14 or 15 did I even really start to branch out and listen to new stuff. My brother would always joke about times when I would come to him with what I thought was this new indie artist that I “found”. And he’d be like, “Harry, they’re the Arctic Monkeys, everyone knows they’re good”.

Tell us about your musical style.

My musical style varies quite drastically. I suppose the one thing that ties all of the styles together is my voice and I guess personality. I write stuff for live band performance in mind that would probably be considered Alternative or Alternative Rock. I still make loads of rap songs that can be goofy and fun and have hints of modern Dance/ EDM bits sprinkled in. Every now and again I write a couple of sad folky songs on the guitar like ‘Knocknarea Hills’ to play in the pub or something as well. I guess I’m open to creating in most forms of music so that keeps the stuff changing all the time.

What are your biggest inspirations?

I suppose outside of music my biggest inspirations would be my parents. They’re just great people and I’m very lucky to have them. Musically it was always Kanye West. His brute like arrogance and loud personality pisses a lot of people off but I always found it to be nothing but empowering and motivating. In Ireland especially, there is this mentality that we shouldn’t be confident in ourselves and strive for individual goals that are outside of the box. There can feel like when someone tries to start a business or do something out of the ordinary for themselves it’s met with a quiet muttered hope that they fail. Kanye always was cocky about the things that he believed in. And the only thing he believed in was himself. I think I have some of that self-belief and cockiness as well. It’s that self-belief that helps you when you’re questioned by someone or ridiculed or even when you’re taking a chance on a new project.

What advice would you have for someone starting a career in music?

I’m not sure if I have much advice for someone starting a career in music. I guess firstly it’s a bad career option if you want to make a lot of money. There are very few artists that make a living off being a musician. I would say if you have a passion for something, you should dive in and do it, especially something artistic like music. My only advice I guess to someone that wants to get into making music is to just keep making it. Over and over again. Come up with an idea and finish it. I have made thousands of songs all since a very young age. 99% of these songs I sound like a cringy little boy trying to resemble something I heard off iTunes. But the more terrible songs you make the more you learn.

What are your biggest achievements to date?

I suppose I haven’t had many shiny great achievements in music yet. Honestly, it’s just a privilege to be able to create stuff and have people connect with it. Even organising some live shows and performing with some of my favourite artists over the last few years has all just been so fun.

What challenges have you experienced?

Sometimes it can be challenging organising everything. In a way, it’s like running a small business. You have to be your own employee and have to wear a lot of different hats that mightn’t come naturally. When I first started I guess I might have also been hesitant to show people my music. I suppose I wasn’t 100% ready to let everyone in. I was making tonnes of songs and posting them on SoundCloud anonymously and had a very small following that were fairly loyal fans. I was afraid of rejection I guess and public ridicule but then at the end of the day I realised, first of all, no one really cares, secondly, I think these songs are great so that means someone else might also think the same.

What can we expect in the future?

We just finished shooting a short film entitled ‘MAGPIES’ that will be released this year. It features three live performances of new songs, one of which you can check out on YouTube called ‘RAIN’. I also have a couple of albums in the works but I won’t go into too much detail on them just yet.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Five years is a long time to think about. I suppose I want to be making as much music as possible then like I’m doing now. I think if I keep producing the kind of stuff I’m already doing. Hopefully, by then I’ll have a couple more eyes watching but if not I’ll still be making the tunes.

What’s your favourite thing about Limerick?

It’s going to sound cliche but the answer is the people. It’s a crazy place with a mad bunch of people. The place never stops surprising me with unusual stories and incredible characters from often difficult circumstances. If ever I travel home from being away for a while I get reminded about how off the wall the place is and I absolutely love it.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.