Having begun singing lessons shortly after she learnt how to walk, the Kerry-born contralto Grace Foley clearly has music embedded deep in her DNA.

All those years of study – including five years at the Royal Irish Academy – came to fruition on her 2016 debut album, Home To Kerry, and blossom even further on her soon-come second album, Unleashed, as Foley embraces new sensations.

That hunger to push the boundaries and to break new ground sees Foley collaborating with some of Ireland’s finest musicians, whether it’s acclaimed session players in the  contemporary world such as Niall O’Sullivan, James Nash, Rod Patterson and Guy Rickarby, or the equally curious and eclectic classical young gun, Wayne Woodman, a GG favourite.
Coming together for A Touch Of Classical, Foley and Woodman are about to play The National Concert Hall.

Which is, of course, just a warm-up gig for their appearance at The Whale on Saturday, August 31st.

In the meantime, we asked Grace how she ended up in this ridiculous line of work…

!Well, I got into this crazy business quite simply by singing,” she laughs. !There is no music whatsoever in my immediate family or close relatives. My parents have always liked music but the voice seemed to be a special gift just for me! I began singing while sitting in the back of my Dad’s car. I started taking singing lessons with the legendary Aine Nic Gabhann because my Aunt Marian said I should definitely do something with my voice – and that’s where the madness started!”

With her singing lessons very much submerging her in the world of classical, Grace soon realised that she may just have found her groove.

“I was geared down the classical route by the simple fact that my singing teacher trained voices in the classical style. Before I knew what was what, I was being told that my voice was a very unique and special one. Before I knew it, I was studying at the Royal Irish Academy of Music alongside all the best up-and-coming performers in Ireland, and I was being tutored by some of Ireland’s most respected musicians.”

It was a break from music that opened Grace up to other genres, other sensations. “My love of contemporary music took me on a slightly different path,” she explains, “and I returned to the songs I loved when I was a teenager. Glen Hansard’s Falling Slowly and Damian Rice’s The Blower’s Daughter are very close to my heart, and I think it is songs like these that renewed my love of music.”

Today, finishes Grace, she’s open to every kind of music. “Once it moves me…”


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