Music review

Over the past two years Ireland and Europe have already had the pleasure of listening to Gemma Hayes. The Guardian newspaper included her as one of its “50 women to watch” last year. Voted Best Irish Female in the Hot Press Readers Poll this year, the rocker also scored in the Best Irish Live Act (10th) and Best Irish Songwriter (7th). Hot Press is the leading music magazine in Ireland.

Originally from Ballyporeen, a tiny village in county Tipperary, Hayes, the youngest of eight children, has said she first took up music to give her something to do in the evenings. After two years working in a Dublin laundromat and a brief stint in college, she decided she wanted to make music full time. The result was “Night on My Side,” which hit Irish charts at No. 8.

“People have this preconception that a female in the music industry is either going to be a sex kitten, or sing other people’s songs, or if they do write their own music, that it’s always going to be about some boy,” Hayes has said.

“It is stamped on women’s heads that they have nothing to offer except how they look, or songs about being dumped. So it was a really good feeling when it was received so well.”

Hayes is currently working on her second album. In the meantime, look for “Night on My Side” at record stores on this side of the Atlantic (Astralwerks Records).

– CR