Summer 2008 Issue

Méav: Simply Unforgettable!

photo copyright Celtic Woman Ltd It has been two years since "The Lark" had an exclusive interview with Méav. So many wonderful things have happened since that December 2006 interview! Méav left CW in 2007 to pursue her solo career, and last December, she had a series of holiday shows in NY and NH. Despite the uncooperative winter weather, the shows were a success. Méav's loyal fans supported her and cheered her on as she followed her dreams.

We decided to catch up with Méav and ask her a few questions about her career and future plans. She graciously agreed to do an exclusive interview for the Summer issue of "The Lark," which is now her official fanclub newsletter.

We would like to thank Méav for taking the time to answer our questions. Méav is such an enchanting and unforgettable artist, and it is always a delight to get to know more about the lady behind the exquisite voice.


A Surpise Song from our Celtic Songbird

Méav delightfully surprised us with something special for the newsletter's Summer issue!

Méav's songwriter friend Chris Gavin wrote a play (called To Live As We Play), which included several newly composed songs. Although Méav will not be in the play herself, she did record some of the songs for him. (A cast recording of all the music and songs from the play will be released to tie in with its first production in 2009.)

With Chris Gavin's permission, Méav is sharing with us the "Audition Song." It was recorded to accompany the script for demo purposes only.

We at "The Lark" loved this lively, energetic and playful song the first time we heard it, and we know you will, too. "It is quite different from my usual style!" Méav explained.

To listen to the song clip, please CLICK HERE.

Chris Gavin is a brilliant Irish composer and writer. To learn more about Chris, please go to

Everyone is dying to know what you've been up to lately! What's keeping you busy these days?
I have been in discussions in London regarding new management and performance options. I don't want to give too much away right now, but I have been invited to sing in China soon which is very exciting – I have had solo albums released there but I have not yet visited the country.

You have been given the titles of The Celtic Songbird, and The Lark. How do you feel about these associations with your music?
I am highly flattered! I love the sound of birdsong in the garden. My resident blackbird is a much more versatile singer than I am though.

What sets your music apart from the other Celtic/Irish music out there? What do you think makes your music memorable and unique?
That's very difficult to answer. I think it's amazing that human voices are so different from one another. Sometimes a particular voice just speaks to you or moves you. I just try to serve the song, and I am delighted if someone finds it memorable.

You carry yourself with so much elegance and grace on stage. Are you a perfectionist with your music and performance?
photo copyright Celtic Woman Ltd Thank you! I think you have to keep trying to improve your performance. Otherwise you get stuck in a rut. However, the critical inner voice can be a bit too harsh at times. I know a few really gifted singers who don't perform much any more because they were so self-critical, which is a real shame.

Will you ever bring your harp and play it at a future show? Is it difficult to sing and play the harp at the same time?
You never know! It feels quite different singing while playing. The main issue for me traveling with the harp is that it is quite delicate and goes out of tune quickly. This can be tricky when going from a cool backstage area to hot stage lights and retuning onstage can break the flow of performance.

We know that you had so many fond memories touring with CW. Tell us what you missed most after you left the group to pursue your solo career?
I missed the camaraderie of being on the road with a bunch of great people. Every day in a new city was an adventure. I miss performing so frequently, but on the other hand I craved more time at home, so I think I have found a better balance now.

Do you still keep in contact with the cast and crew of CW?
Yes, I do. Some of the singers and musicians, past and present, are close friends of mine and we see each other regularly. Others keep in touch through texts and emails. Dublin is a small city so it is easy to keep in touch. On the other hand, it is important to give the other performers their space during their precious home-time too.

When you left CW, many fans were happy and others were deeply disappointed. Were you worried that this may affect how they support you as a solo artist? How did you feel about the mixed reactions from fans?
photo copyright Celtic Woman Ltd. Any change in the line-up of a group or band is difficult for the members and fans alike. Even a small change in the phrasing or ornamentation of a certain song can be a shock to listeners who are accustomed to hearing you do things a certain way from your recordings. I had the pleasure of hearing both Lynn and Alex perform with my Celtic Woman colleagues in Radio City in March and the show was great.

Of course it is lovely to hear that you are missed, but for me the time was right to move on and make some changes. The messages I have received have thankfully been overwhelmingly positive.

When you are working on a CD, do you try to work in some time for studio work each day, or does it help to take extended breaks of days or even weeks away from music from time to time? Give us an idea on what it entails to put together an album.
I don't really have a set routine. Sometimes I work very intensively for a few days, then need some quiet time. It varies a lot from week to week. Often the best ideas come to you when you are sitting in a hammock doing nothing – or at least that's my excuse!

The first CD you were involved in was released in 1998 (Ireland Today), so you have been in the music business for a decade! Your career is going stronger now than ever. What is your secret to success and the longevity of your music career?
There is no secret. I have been very lucky to have the opportunity of working with great musicians. I love what I do. That's all.

You have been involved with a few musical groups (Anúna, National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Celtic Woman). Which do you enjoy more - performing with a group, or do you prefer the leisure of performing solo?
There are advantages to both. Touring with a group is great fun because you have a ready-made circle of friends to enjoy the adventures with along the way. You also learn a lot from other musicians. Solo work can be very rewarding because you can nurture an idea from the very first stages right through to the finished performance.

photo copyright Celtic Woman Ltd How old were you when you realized singing was your destiny? Was there a sign? Do you believe in signs and destiny?
I have always loved to sing, but the decision to sign full-time came about gradually. There was no master plan. I believe that we are given gifts and opportunities but then it is up to us do decide how best to use them.

Do you remember the first time you ever performed live on stage? Tell us about that first experience in front of an audience.
I can remember walking on-stage in the Gaiety theatre, Dublin to present a bouquet of flowers to Maureen Potter, the wonderful Irish comedienne, when I was about five years old. The Gaiety is a beautiful old theatre designed like an opera house with red drapes and old carved gold leaf on the balconies. I was entranced. I was supposed to just give Maureen the flowers and then walk offstage again, but she kept holding my hand. Another cast member took my other hand, so I ended up walking forward with them and taking a bow and a few more curtain calls without having earned them at all. I was hooked.

How does it make you feel when people tell you how your music changed their lives or helped them at a difficult situation?
It is fantastic to hear that. I suppose all art forms are hard to pin down, but for me, music is the most mysterious and powerful and I am just trying to pass on that feeling to the listener.

So many children are attracted to your voice. It calms them down and helps them in so many ways. Why do you think your music (and Celtic music in general) has that effect on children?
It is the most natural thing in the world to sing to children. They will sing right back to you before they get too self-conscious. Perhaps folk music appeals to children because the melodies and lyrics are easy to pick up and understand.

How important is music to you in your day-to-day life? Do you listen to music in some form every day, or do you go through some "non-musical" periods? Is a day without music incomplete for you?
I listen to music every day. I find it hard to listen to music and carry on a conversation at the same time though. I would rather give the music my full attention, then turn it off and talk.

Is there another artist that you looked up to when you were at the beginning of your career? And what is the best advice you can give to other artists out there who want to break into the music business?
photo copyright Celtic Woman Ltd I admired Clannad when I was in school and I still do. Their music seems to fuse together the traditional lifeblood of Irish music with contemporary pop harmonies and surprising instrument combinations.

I would advise any aspiring musician to join a group, choir or band to get as much experience of different types of music as possible. Be flexible in terms of what music you choose to perform. Learn how to read music and preferably learn an instrument as well as taking care of your voice with vocal exercise and warm-ups. Keep up the study of all your other school and college subjects too. It is a business as well as a vocation at the end of the day, and the most surprising skills may come in handy along the way – languages, maths, computer skills, public speaking and drama, even geography so you don't get lost if you are driving your own tour bus!

Do you religiously follow a plan or are you a risk taker?
I take calculated risks. I enjoy making adjustments to plans as situations change, but I don't like to head off into the sunset with no plan at all.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
By nature, I prefer to stay up late. My father and I used to drive my mother mad because we would always start singing and playing the piano late at night and then she couldn't get to sleep. My daughter has curbed my late nights, though. I am learning to enjoy mornings because she does not understand the concept of a lie-in yet!

What is your favorite flower?
I love traditional scented flowers like old roses, lavender, jasmine and honeysuckle.

We know you enjoy cooking; would you mind sharing a favorite recipe with your fans?
Take four Salmon fillets –preferably organic or wild –wrap each one in in a slice of parma ham. Drizzle with olive oil and two cloves of chopped garlic and grill under a high heat for 12- 15 minutes. Serve with a green salad and baby potatoes. Simple!

Any final message for all your fans?
Thank you so much for all your warm messages, gifts and ongoing support. I look forward to singing for you soon!


Méav: Silver Sea CD Giveaway:

Sharing Inspiration, Peace and Love - One CD at a Time!

by: Marie-France
Inspiration comes in many forms. It comes knocking every single moment of every day. Often, we do not even pay attention! We have forgotten how to listen. Music opens that door so we can again listen to the divine voice.

Four years ago, I came across something so common that, if I had ignored it, things would have turned out very differently for me.

I found a One Spirit catalog on the floor of the post office in front of my mail box. I had two choices: dunk it on the recycling bin, or keep it. My mail box was empty. I had no mail for that day, so I decided to take the catalog home. What was odd was that the catalog had no name or address on it. Maybe it was meant to be for me at that moment.

Inside that catalog was a listing of Méav's two CDs. I had heard of Anuna's music, but I had never been 'formally' introduced to Méav's solo works. I had enough money at that time to get only one CD, so I was faced with another choice.

Méav's eyes were what first attracted me to Silver Sea -- the picture on the catalog was so small, but her eyes were calling to me.

I decided on purchasing that particular CD and told myself

I would buy the other one later on.

Who knew that one CD would change my life? Every song and every note was truly magical to me. I am so thankful for that day when I found Méav's music (or when it found me!). Without that first Silver Sea CD, there would be no fansite/fanclub, no forum, no newsletter. I would have lived in a parallel universe without Méav in it! The rest, as they say, is history: Méav's music has been a part of my life ever since that Fall of 2004.

To celebrate that wonderful moment, I am giving away a few of Méav's Silver Sea CDs every month. I cannot change the world, but I can share music that can inspire change and peace; music that can comfort and heal.
If you or someone you know would appreciate getting a Méav: Silver Sea CD, please tell us in a few words who and why would you give this CD.

Please fill out this ENTRY FORM,and read the OFFICIAL RULES.

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page 2:
Healing Music Feature
Róisín Dempsey: "Surrounded"

page 3:
Inspirational Story: Jonathan and Méav
Bob's Feature Cartoon