Soundtrack – Emma O’ Reilly

Image by Remy Connolly [Used with permission]



Emma O’Reilly –  Dramatic pop rock/indie/alternative singer-songwriter on the soundtrack to her life.



First album/single you bought…

I genuinely can’t remember what the first CD I bought for myself was – but I was in my teens when I started regularly buying music. By then I was listening to a big mixture of styles; I can remember buying Red Hot Chili Peppers CDs, The White Stripes, Rufus Wainwright, Basement Jaxx and of course pop artists like Britney, Christina Aguilera, Pink…


Earliest musical memory…

I can’t remember any specific one, but I have plenty from when I was in primary school – we were a small school with a staff very much dedicated to music and performance. I remember a lot of us forming bands in the playground and performing at lunchtimes…among many many other memories!


Was there a song/band/singer that made you want to be a musician…

Not really. I had so many musical influences growing up it would be hard to pin just one down. There was drama, dance and singing in my primary school, acting summer camps, after school classes in dance, music and acting, getting involved with the local musical society, and all of the inspiring people I met there, not to mention growing up watching my family participating in all of the above – I just wanted to perform. In many ways, I think it’s what I was built for.


The song that instantly reminds you of a particular person…

I think most of my favourite songs remind me of a person, or a place…how to just pick one! So when I first came up to Dublin in 2006, I was gigging with my friends Reuben, Paddy and Sean, and I remember we used to do this acoustic cover of a song called “Chicago Hope” by a band called First Death in Nova Scotia. I absolutely loved singing with those guys – there are a lot of songs that remind me of that time and that group but I think Chicago Hope was my favourite.


The song whose lyrics resonate with you…

Lyrics are really important to me, and I really believe in the power of words, so naturally most songs that leave a lasting impression on my I have lyrics I resonate with, or lyrics that I really enjoy. I’ve been listening to a lot of Childish Gambino recently and I think one of my favourite tracks of his is from his album Because the Internet. Particularly that track “sweatpants” – I just think the way he weaves lyrics and rhythm together is just so much fun to listen to and to move to. You just get so excited listening to him wondering what way he’s going to flip the words around next.


The band/musician that you grew up listening to…

I grew up listening to tons of different types of music – Elton John, Dolores Keane, The Beautiful South, The Beatles, All the “Now That’s What I Call Music” compilations, so pretty much any bands that were charting at the time… also lots of Musical Theatre.


What song do you wish that you had written ?

I’ve been asked this question a few times and I have to say, I don’t really get it – I don’t think I’ve ever wished that I’d written a song I’ve heard, no matter how much I love it. I’m a really firm believer in an artist’s perspective as an individual being what makes them unique, so it wouldn’t have been possible for me to write what they wrote because…I’m not them. So it’s not really something I’ve ever wished for.


What song transports you back in time?

Most songs I really love do this for me, so there are hundreds of songs that take me back to different places….I don’t really know how to pick just one I’m afraid.


Which song makes you happy when you hear it?

Again, there are literally hundreds. The most recent track that is making me happy at the moment is “Waste” from Brand New’s New album, Science Fiction. Actually, that whole album is just bringing me joy right now.


The first gig you went to…

Ha ha ha ha, I think it was S Club 7 when I was a kid!


Which song makes you sad when you hear it?

Do you know, I find “The Cure” by Lady Gaga to be desperately sad. I think many of us go into relationships with people who are going through a lot, and some unspoken part of us believes that the power of our love is going to heal them, and that they’ll be able to be their best selves, and that they will love us for helping them to heal – especially when we’re young.  But people…it’s heartbreaking, but they just don’t work like that. You literally cannot fight someone’s demons for them, even if you want to, and even if they want you to. I feel like I might finally have learned that lesson just recently -We can support them (of course, and we do that gladly), but ultimately any lasting change that is going to happen has to come from them. Your love can’t make someone change their patterns, and sometimes it can even keep them stuck. So for me…this song is a painful reminder of a tough lesson I’ve had to learn, and a reminder that there are lots of people out there everyday learning that lesson.


The first song that you ever performed…

Oh gosh, I was probably 4 at the time or something so I can’t remember. I remember the first song of mine I performed for people I didn’t know – one of my really early ones from when I was about 16. It was the most terrifying experience of my life!




To keep updated with Emma’s music, you can check out her social media handles below;