Méav Q&A Interview
Just to start off the interview with a bit of an update... How are you doing? What things have you been enjoying the most now that you are home?
I am really well, thanks. The solo concerts in December were real pleasure for me and it was great opportunity to put faces to the names of the fans that were able to make it through the ice and snow! Since then I have really enjoyed the opportunity to research new music and spend time catching up with friends and family in Dublin. I spent a few days by the sea at New Year, which helped to blow the cobwebs away.
What are some of your favorite memories from touring with Celtic Woman? Is there a memory that stands out fondly from the past tour that you'd like to share?
My final concert with Celtic Woman at Red Rocks in June is one that I will always remember. The venue is so awe-inspiring and the audience was totally in tune with what we were doing. The other girls, the band and choir all love to perform there and the sense of anticipation beforehand was amazing. I shed a few tears onstage that night.
Could you describe a typical day in the process of creating your albums? What is your favorite part of the creating process?
I often wake up with a fragment of a melody in my head. It's like your brain has been waiting impatiently for you to continue the musical conversation from the previous evening!
I do vocal warm-ups while emptying the dishwasher and other household jobs. My family is used to this, but the neighbours might think it's a bit strange!
Then it's in to the study to do my homework. I research different texts and versions of songs on the computer and try out ideas at the piano. I like to layer different harmonies and instrumental ideas by recording onto minidisk, then playing or singing along against myself. It's not a very high-tech process but it gives me time to experiment how things sound without the pressure of the clock ticking in the studio. The next stage is very exciting-when all the musicians have been booked to come in and add their magic to the mix in studio. Sometimes unexpected things-even mistakes-happen that turn out to be musical highlights. I usually fall into bed still buzzing.
You have achieved enormous critical and commercial success as both a solo artist and as a member of Celtic Woman. What aspect of that success has been most gratifying for you personally, and has there been an achievement or accomplishment along the way of which you are most proud professionally?
I am proud to have brought songs in the Irish language to an audience that has no previous connection with the language. Record companies and promoters can be wary of songs that are not in English - they are concerned that audiences will not be able to make a personal connection with them. Hearing the tremendous response to Sí do Mhaimeo í (The Wealthy Widow) that I arranged with David Downes was a fantastic feeling. People immediately responded to the spirit of the song without necessarily knowing what the words meant. I suppose the moral is never underestimate your audience!
If there were anything you could do besides singing, what would it be and why?
This is a hard question to answer because my own sense of identity is very much intertwined with being a singer. Although I studied law at University, my first love was music. I enjoy collaborating with other musicians and working with children on composition workshops through the National Chamber Choir and the National Concert Hall of Ireland. I have worked in Arts Administration as well, managing concerts and plays. I got a kick out of that. I think I would probably still choose to work in the Arts world if I did not sing.
How do you prefer to approach learning new pieces? Do you consider the lyrics or the melody more important when approaching a number?
Melody appeals to me first, but a song must also have strong lyrics to hold my attention. I love to hear melodies and lyrics develop as a song progresses-it's not enough to have a good first verse!
Now I was thinking of some fun facts that your fans might enjoy reading about you.
Favorite past time/hobby:
I enjoy cooking for friends and reading. I really enjoy lazy weekend afternoons reading the paper then heading out for a walk.
I love to swim in the sea but the water is freezing in Ireland for most of the year so I have to wait until I'm somewhere warm to do that.
I don't think I could single out one author. I have just finished Edith Wharton's House of Mirth and found the descriptions of New York's glittering and brittle high society at the turn of the century fascinating.
Favorite place you've traveled:
I love to travel and it is a particular privilege to perform when you travel-sometimes you get a glimpse behind the curtain into real lives which can be hard to do as a tourist. I got a real culture shock when I arrived in Fez, Morocco to sing at a world sacred music festival. The city was so full of life and contrasts, with elegant buildings, pungent smells, and robed, hooded figures walking through narrow alleys-it was like a walking straight into a biblical scene.
Something unique about you that your fans don't know:
I'm a terrible driver!
Any words of wisdom or special message for your fans?
The warmth and support I have felt over the past few months have eased my path into solo singing again! Your letters, gifts and personal messages are amazing. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Méav loves all kinds of food, and she tries to check out the local delicacies when she's traveling, though she gave the battered octupus balls a miss in Osaka, Japan. She also loves to cook for friends when she is at home.
Favorite Music: Méav listens to a big variety of music, but she keeps coming back to listening to great singer-storytellers like Nina Simone and an English folk singer named Nick Drake. Méav likes singers who put their personal stamp on a song in the way they interpret it while still respecting the song itself. She loves timeless lyrics and well-structured, simple, soaring melodies.
Favorite Book: Méav loves to read. She is in a bookclub that meets monthly, and whenever she is home she goes along. Méav tries to read the bookclub books while she is touring, too. It is impossible for Méav to pick a favorite, but one book that she recently enjoyed greatly was the Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini, which is a very moving story about a young boy growing up in Afghanistan.
Favorite Movie: Méav rarely gets time to go to the movies these days, but she really enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine.
Submitted by John (JEdwards):
What are your favorite things about Méav, and/or her music? I'm pretty new to CW. I just saw them for the first time a couple of weeks ago but, heaven help me, it already feels like I've been "in love" with them my whole life. I recently joined the CW Forum and told a little about my "conversion" experience, but critical to it was hearing Méav's rendition of "Danny Boy."
I'm half-Irish (all up and down my mother's side) but, perhaps because Mom was very strongly Irish, I've always felt more Irish than anything. Oddly enough, however, I never knew there even was a second verse to "Danny Boy." When I heard it sung with such heartbreaking empathy and beauty by such a stupefyingly gorgeous "lass" as Méav, man, I just went to pieces. Moved and absolutely mesmerized, I just sat there weeping, so help me, like a motherless child.
I am half-Irish, and we're emotional and we love music, and lots of music brings me to tears, but usually it's music with which I have formed a very long and sentimental relationship, performed by artists I've grown up with. Here was this perfect stranger (albeit a perfecly lovely one) coming into my living room and out of nowhere, KO-ing me with the most enchanting sucker punch I've ever received. And I loved it!
I've heard, or read, Méav say that even though people may have heard a song like "Danny Boy" a million times before, she still tries to sing it as if they were hearing it for the first time. With me, Méav, mission accomplished!! It was as if, for the first time, the full message and meaning of that song came through; all those notes that seemed so familiar, if not worn-out, sparkled with a new beauty and poignancy.
Remember the song, "Killing Me Softly?" That's what Méav did (truly what all the CW girls do to me with all their songs) slaid me and, yes, as a man, seduced me (I am only human) just as surely as the day is long. But, wow, is it special. I'm pretty sure that I will never forget how I felt when I heard Meav do "Danny Boy." It really was almost too beautiful to be believed (really, I kept asking myself, "Is this real? Where am I, heaven?")
Submitted by Marie-France:
I like to think it was Divine intervention. Méav and her music came along at exactly the right time for me. Over the past two years she has touched my heart and my soul in ways that I never would have expected. This lovely, gentle woman and her angelic voice has made my life so much better, and it's been thrilling for me to see her career take off in such a big way.
Méav inspired me to do great things. She brought out the best in me, and helped me realize that everything I do is enough! She taught me that I have my own song to sing... Méav showed me that it is alright to dream...and work hard to achieve your deepest wishes...It's been a privilege to create and run a fansite (www.celticmeav.com) and a newsletter in her honor. I hope someday Méav will look back on everything and be proud of the work I did on it. Méav will have my loyalty, love and support, forever and a day!
Submitted by Coleen:
I had the pleasure of meeting Méav and talking to her for only a few minutes. But from what I remember most about her is her caring personality. She is a sweet, dear lady. What I like most about Méav's music is her voice. Her voice is just amazing; it's perfection!
Submitted by Justine (celtic-at-heart):
Méav is by far my favorite singer in Celtic Woman. She performs all of her songs so well! And as an independent artist, she is fantastic--her solo albums present great combinations of new songs and innovative renditions of others' work. And who else do you know who can sing in English, Gaelic, and French so magnificently? Méav is a joy to hear and to see. I'm so glad that Celtic Woman has given the world a chance to see her.
Submitted by Rich (OldFatGuy):
Méav Ni Mhaolchatha. The name alone is musical. And I could go on for pages about the soaring crystal-clarity of her voice, and the depth of feeling she puts into every song, no matter how many times she's sung it before. Or I could rave about her physical beauty, luminous and classical. Above all, though, I think the thing I appreciate most about Méav is the genuine warmth that radiates from her. I have not had the good fortune of meeting her personally, but I know instinctively that she would be a delight. In both her performances and in the brief interview clips we've seen, you can sense a sincerity in her; an honesty that can't be anything but genuine. This is a lady who obviously feels things very deeply, and generously shares those feelings with us. Yes, she is a fine artist, and she can make us laugh ('At the Ceili') or cry ('Danny Boy') with her voice and masterful stage presence. But there is a wisdom and humanity about her that tells you she'd be a wonderful friend even if she couldn't sing a note.
Submitted by Scott:
Méav's voice is heavenly. Her version of "Silent Night" is the most beautiful version of that song I have ever heard. I also loved her version of "Dante's Prayer". A truly wonderful singer, and a wonderful person.
Submitted by Sassy (Leelyn):
I love the music, but I really don't know the ladies themselves, that I could pinpoint aspects of each of their characters that make them stand out to me. From all I've seen, they seem like very nice ladies and they enjoy interacting with their fans. But I really don't know their personalities at this point in time.
I enjoy the music very much and look forward to hearing more from each of them. I enjoy many of the solo songs for different reasons, I think there are lovely qualities in each of their voices and the songs I love would be:
1)The Voice - Lisa
2) Dulaman - Méav
3) Carrickfergus - Orlagh
4) The Prayer - Chloe
5) Caledonia - Lisa
6) Newgrange - Orlagh
7) Granuaile's Dance - Mairead (even though it's not a vocal piece)
I also enjoyed some of the ensemble pieces like:
The Sky, the Dawn & the Sun, At the Ceili, Sing Out, Spanish Lady, Orinoco Flow, Mo Ghile Mear and the a cappella versions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Somewhere.
Submitted by Thomas:
Where do I start?
Being an engineer by trade and an audiophile by lifestyle, I have a deep appreciation for great quality music in any form. I have a passion for the enjoyment of experiencing perfection.
Meav meets and exceeds all of those qualities for me between her obvious talent, performance, and her ability to relate with her audience. Of course being just beautiful doen't hurt either.
I have really enjoyed all of her performances with Celtic Woman and the playfulness she shares with her fello performers and audience. That is truely a rare gift to have "the whole package".
What more needs to be said about "Danny Boy", it just moves me.
It is just a joy to watch her sing "Si Do Mhaimeo i."
My personal favorite is "Dulaman".
Her personality shines in "At the Ceili".
It is a dream of mine to enjoy Méav in person, as I am going to see Celtic Woman in Pittsburgh next month.
I wish Méav to be safe and travel well during the current USA tour which starts next week.
Fan Meet&Greet with Méav
Submitted by Coleen Newkirk:
I was initially nervous meeting Méav because I have such respect and admiration for her as a singer. My nerves went away after I started talking to her. She made me feel very comfortable and at ease. What I remember most about Méav is her genuineness and sincerity. She is such a dear, wonderful lady. See the picture of Coleen with Méav
Submitted by Mel:
5am: Friday, 4/20/07. I am at work, looking at the CWforum when I spy the announcement that CW would have a signing at Borders in Chicago. My mind started racing, and I hadn't even had my Friday Starbuck's yet.
Looked at Southwest, and yes, they had flights for Chicago. So kept thinking should I or shouldn't I. At this time it was time for my run to Starbuck's. Once I got back, I had rechecked Southwest, and booked my flight for Sat. Then reserved a car with Dollar.
Sat: 4/21/07: I did get to bed around 9pm the following night, but I woke up at midnight. So after laying there for like 3 and half hours, I finally got up and got ready to head out. I made a run to my local Walmart that is open 24hrs, to get Orlagh's CD, since hers was the only one I did not have, and YES they had it. I now had in my Celtic Woman tote bag, my poster in a tube, 5 solo CD's and my program from the Columbus show.
I arrived at the airport around 5am. My flight wasn't till 7:25A, but I am one of those rare women who likes getting to places early. Port Columbus doesn't have a Starbuck's, but the next best thing, Cup O' Joe's....so had my usual Mounds Bar (think a melted Mounds Bar with Expresso in it...yummmy).
Flight was uneventful, on time, and actually got into Chicago about 5 mins early. It was about a 45 min trip.
I picked up my Economy car at Dollar, which some how I ended up with a Dodge Nitro (SUV), but I wasn't complaining! I then headed out to Downtown Chicago. I had my Mapquest with me, which was very helpful. It took about 45 mins, since I did get a bit turned around when I first left the airport, but once going in the right direction, as actually a quick drive. About 4 miles from the downtown area, I just realized...I AM IN CHICAGO!...I had dreamed about this back on the 17th, could not for the life of me why I would dream about Wrigley Field, since never been to Chicago nor had any desire to, other than a stopover or plane switch at Midway. So I am going OMG, OMG again..and just thinking..is this not weird!
Anyways, made it to Downtown, with no problems, found it funny, that the exit I needed off I-94 was Ohio St...and the Borders is on Michigan, ROFL. Since Ohio and Michigan intersect, that was even funnier (you have to live in OHIO to understand). I found the Borders, now I had to find someplace to park. Finally found a small parking garage about 5 or 6 blocks away.
I never walked so fast in my life! People kept looking at me...then realized it was because of my CW T-shirt! Got to Borders, and found the event was to be on the third floor. Went up and thought there would be a line already, this being at 8:25am...but nope. There was one guy, and a family of 3 with a little girl of around 8 or 9ys. So technically I was 3rd in line. I won't go into details about the guy, other than he is just there as an autograph hound. He hears Celebrity...and he goes a running. Least the family knew who CW was, the little girl did know some of the songs.
There were 3 chairs set up so we knew 3 would be there. The others in the line had already asked who would be there, and I was told that Lisa and Orlagh would not be there. Ahhhh, I was a bit disappointed, but as I kept looking out the windows, and the lovely sunny morning, warm temps on the rise, I had visions of Lisa out with her family at some park or zoo, maybe having a picnic even and thought...I rather have her enjoying a rare non travel day with her boys.
The girls would not be there 'till noon, so up to 11:30, there was only like 15 people in line. Then more showed up. The Signing was running a bit late, didn't start 'till like 10 or 15 mins late, so by noon, there were MAYBE 50 people. But finally, here They come!
Meav, Chloe and Mairead. 'Course barely could see Mairead over the shelving lol. Before they came out, one of the Borders employees, kept telling us that the Girls were only going to sign either CD's or the DVD's. But once they sat down, they were signing the CD's/DVD's and other items too.
What can I say...They all were beautiful. All 3 dressed in nice summery dresses, all dark colors. As usual I didn't pay that much attention to their attire. lol. But of the 3, Chloe just was not only adorable but Gorgeous!!! and SO nice!!! She saw the little girl and her face just lite up and she just start talking to the girl. It was so precious!
Chloe, Méav, and Mairead was the order in the seating. So Chloe was closest to me when I was trying to take pics. It was cute how Chloe would introduce herself to the others in front, but when it was my turn, I said..."Hi Chloe" letting her know I KNEW who she was. After Chloe signed my solo CD, I put down my poster, and she says "Oh, you get this at the show last night?" and I say "No, I bought it at the Columbus show, and that I just came up from Ohio just for the signing". She goes "ahhh...that's so wonderful" I then went on to talk about the Columbus show, thanking her for it, and how emotional I was during that show, since it was my first show. And she just gives me the most wonderful look...and says that she was glad I really enjoyed the show. Then it was Meav's turn. After she signs her sold CD, she gets the poster next and says kind of to me and to Chloe..."she is she(pointing at me) all out, with the tshirt, tote" and I just kind of smiled...and sure I blushed a bit. Meav was not at all what I had thought. She is almost shy. She talked, but not like Chloe or Mairead. I thought she would be very talkative. Then Mairead...what can I say...Mairead...is Mairead! I think of the 3, she had the most Irish of the Irish accents. I loved how she would say my name! lol. I know I talked with her a little more, but by now I am just, I think...overwhelmed.
They were moving the line pretty good, so couldn't stand and take alot of pics afterward, since there wasn't alot of room. but I did get 3 sigs out of 6 on my poster, and 3 solo CD's signed, so it was still a trip worth while. See pictures from the signing
Submitted by John:
I don't know what to say about meeting this beautiful artist that I haven't said or written at least a few times since; I've thought about it so much and so often since that it seems almost impossible that it happened only a little over a month ago. Others have shared their stories and the common thread seems to be that Méav is a woman of surpassing elegance and grace, of disarming charm, wit and intelligence. Her physical beauty is of such a magnitude as to be almost intimidating; her smile dazzles and beguiles, and yet both are over-shadowed by the light of the soul behind them; her queenly dignity and reserve eclipsed only by the expansive warmth and openness with which she welcomes you.
Others have said that when they first beheld the members, or a member, of Celtic Woman, it was like seeing or meeting an old friend. Even though these are artists we have respected, admired and loved enormously from afar, once "up close and personal," we all seem pleasantly surprised to find that the emotional roots these ladies have planted in our lives with and through their music are, in fact, quite genuine. Myself, I was amazed at just how deeply and firmly they have burrowed into my heart and soul. Most importantly, I realized that this conquest was as much a triumph of personality as it was of performance; I realized in an instant, within the brief span of a warm, firm handshake, that the charm, the charisma, the integrity, the warmth and pure joy singing out from those recordings and stage shows were not fake; they were not forced or phony; they were not hallucinations or holograms: Here they were, made miraculously manifest in the most mundane setting imaginable.
I had vowed, if I couldn't think of anything else to say, or didn't have time to say anything else, I would say this. I would shake her hand, look her in the eyes and tell her, Méav, you have got the most beautiful voice I have ever heard in my life. I would tell her that no other singer, male or female, living or dead, has touched me and moved me as completely and profoundly as she has. I would thank her, thank her for sharing her gift with all us and for making life, (or at least my own, for sure), simply, a much lovelier place by doing so.
And I would tell her I love her. No, wait, rather magnanimously (and probably presumptuously, too) I would tell her we all love her. I don't know if that sounds bold or banal to anyone who has never stood before a Celtic Woman, but let me tell you, when I stood before my Celtic Woman, I realized the statement is only one thing: It's true. This woman has, these women all have, made an enormous impression on me, had such an incredible impact in my life, have filled each day since I discovered them with joy and beauty, peace and almost surreal serenity. Trust me, the word "Love" fits completely. In fact, it fits exactly the way Méav's dignified, exotic, mystical, almost magical surname fits her: Perfectly!