10 Questions with pop rock artist Kellie Lewis about her musical journey, inspirations, and future plans. Pic: Barra Vernon
Kellie Lewis, Pop Rock Artist from Limerick is set to release her new track Stumble this September 1
Set to release her 4th song in less than a year, The Voice of Ireland’s Runner Up Kellie Lewis is gearing up to share her new track, Stumble on September 22nd, 2023.
Mentored on the Voice of Ireland by her childhood idol, Dolores O’ Riordan of The Cranberries, Kellie Lewis is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. After achieving a First Class Honors Music degree from UCC, Kellie Lewis moved to Los Angeles to further pursue music; performing in the notable Hotel Cafe, VidCon, as well as putting on a sold-out show of her own at Molly Malones, Los Angeles.
To honour Dolores O’Riordan’s 50th birthday, Kellie Lewis appeared on National Live TV, The Late Late Show, singing ‘Dreams’ while accompanied by the RTÉ Orchestra. Just weeks later, Kellie Lewis performed on National TV again performing an original song of hers on Virgin Media’s The Six O’Clock Show.
Can you tell us about your childhood?
I grew up in Kilbehenny, Co. Limerick on a dairy farm in the Galtee mountains. It was a beautiful place to grow up. I have 8 sisters so we had plenty of fun and entertainment. They were very good to me, and still are, and as the second youngest in my family, I had many role models to look up to and learn from.
We were kept busy with music and sports. Mam gave us the opportunity to take lessons in singing, piano, speech and drama and the recorder from junior infants class on.
Some of my favourite childhood memories are of our walks around the hills in the summer picking berries and flowers, paddling in the rivers, water fights which turned into water wars, playing ‘ball’ outside until our hands were sore, going to piano and singing competitions with my little sister Juliette and going to the shop after mass on Sundays with our pocket money to return home and watch Charmed on the couch all day with my sisters.
Where does your love of music come from?
My Mam and Dad are both great singers. Growing up, my older sisters had Walkmans and random tapes. When I had the chance to listen to their music, I found a whole world of my own. I began to put on imaginary concerts at home out in the backyard on pallets.
When I was 4, Mam sent me to get piano lessons, and from then on music was a part of my everyday life. For 13 years I competed in piano, singing, and the recorder and went as far as Grade 8 on the piano. I began to teach piano when I was in Secondary school and began to sing live when I was 18.
Who are your greatest inspirations?
My top 5 inspirations always have been and always will be Dolores O’Riordan, Sinéad O’Connor, Florence Welch, Kate Bush, and Stevie Nicks.
How would you describe your music style?
Alt Pop. I am a big lyricist so lyrics take center stage of importance to me. Then it depends on how I am writing the song; songs that I write with Piano tend to be more emotive and balladesque, songs I write with a guitar tend to be more upbeat, and songs that I write in my head can be a lucky bag of possibilities.
I love playing with light and shade when it comes to songwriting. I tend to write songs that start off angelic, sweet, and soft, that then grow into something powerful.
In terms of soundscape, I enjoy playing with atmospheric sounds that add an ethereal vibe to my music as well as heavenly sounds like bells and chimes with a good strong drumbeat to back it all up.
Do you have any advice for any new and upcoming artists?
I would recommend that you get clear about what you want to achieve with your art. Write down what you want and carve a path of how you are going to get there. Expect rejection; just know that it will make you stronger and better at what you do. Also remember that if you are getting rejected, this is GREAT news, because it means that you’re putting yourself out there for opportunities.
Also, I would recommend reading What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey. That book changed my life.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Finishing 2nd place in The Voice of Ireland as it was the sole reason that I got to work with Dolores, as well as being incredible for my confidence in both live performance and TV performance skills.
Also graduating from UCC with a degree in Music. Achieving a First Class Honors against all odds was miraculous. It taught me the power of setting a goal early on, with milestones and applying hard work to get there.
What has been the most challenging part of your music career?
When I cared so much about what people thought about my songs that I became too afraid to sing them. As a result, I performed less and when I did, I felt like an imposter. Getting my head out of that headspace was challenging. The book I mentioned above was a key part of realising that this is what I love doing most in the world; it gives me sheer joy and enthusiasm. I knew I had to hatch a plan to get my mojo back.
What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?
My new song Stumble is coming out on September 22nd. It’s a song for those people in your life who may wreck your head at times but they are always there for you, and you are always there for them. You share an unbreakable bond. This song is like my prayer to them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully doing what I am doing now; songwriting, recording music, releasing songs, and performing live.
I want what I have now only x1000 in terms of intensity; big stages, bigger crowds, chart-topping singles, world tours, and to get to be on stage doing what I love to do the most in the whole world; singing my songs to people who need to hear them. I would love to have touched many people with my music in 5 years’ time. I want to offer people some solace and understanding within a song. In 5 years’ time, I hope to have a strong tribe of listeners who find something that they need in my music.
I also want to have gotten a big collaboration with someone I really admire, like Dermot Kennedy, Chris Martin, or Lewis Capaldi. That would be amazing. I co-wrote a song called Delicate which is a perfect male/female duet and carries a beautiful yet broken message. Who knows. Stranger things have happened!
What’s your favourite thing about Limerick?
Our sensational hurling team. The friendly people and Limerick’s sense of community. Matches and gigs at Thomand Park and heading for drinks in House beforehand.
Selected as part of Hot Press’ Young and Emerging (Y&E) Series, Kellie Lewis took over the renowned HotPress Instagram page for a Live show. A Featured Irish Artist on the album Salvation – Inspired by the Cranberries, Kellie wowed her fans with her ethereal cover of ‘Ridiculous Thoughts’, also featured on the album was Sinéad O’Connor, another idol of the Irish Pop Rock Artist Kellie Lewis is honoured to be interviewed and included in the renowned book, curated and edited by Stuart Clark on the Life of The Cranberries, Why Can’t We?
Kellie Lewis launched her track Flashback to 18 in September 2022 with a debut performance at ”Music Cork” 2022. Flashback to 18 made its TV debut with live performances broadcast to millions of homes in Ireland on Virgin Media’s The Six O’Clock Show and obtained a coveted performance spot to perform again on our national talk show, The Late Late Show. Her most recent track Battle of Love received tremendous Irish and UK support with HotPress noting how ‘’Lewis lays it all down on the table with her heart on her sleeve’’.