Isobel Jennings - Firhouse singer-songwriter releases first single “Drift”

By Hayden Moore

Growing up surrounded by and listening to a plethora of musical talent such as Hozier, Imelda May, and U2 has had a heavy influence on 17-year-old singer-songwriter, Isobel Jennings, and that’s why she has decided to release her first single.

A 5th year student in Firhouse Community College, Isobel decided to take the leap of faith that is recording your own music and putting it out into the world for others to enjoy, with “Drift” being released last Thursday on all music-listening platforms.

Isobel Jennings

Isobel was a member of the Suburban Sounds class of 2018, which proved to be a hotbed for talent, and caught up with The Echo to talk about the release of her single, covering 100 songs in 100 days for her 2700 Instagram followers, and what we can expect from her next.

Is there a history of musicians in your family?

My granny was a pianist but she wasn’t really a singer and there where no vocalists in my family at all.

Where did it come from with you?

It came out of thin air! See I played everything growing up and went to lessons for everything, my mam liked the idea of me learning new things and I first started learning how to play the fiddle after finding my grandads – but I soon realised that I could NOT play the fiddle.

So, I had lessons for the fiddle, the piano and some others but none really stuck until I picked up the guitar a few years ago – and I’ve never put it down, it was a perfect fit for me.

What inspired you to make “Drift”?

I wrote this song about 8 months ago. It’s definitely my favourite song that I’ve written to date. My songs aren’t directly about me, they’re stories that I’m trying to tell.

I just started playing a couple of chords on my guitar and then my brain started flowing coming up with ideas until I found a theme to fit the song. All of my songs are tied to nature, they could be about a forest or something else – in ‘Drift’ I use the sea and water to tell the story of the song.

What was the writing process like?

I picked up my guitar back in January or February, and I strummed a B flat chord. Then I picked up a piece of paper and started writing, and before I even realised, I had written on 6 pieces of paper.

I then recorded most of the song into GarageBand originally before going into studio to record a more professional version.

How did it feel to get in the studio and record it?

Absolutely amazing! It was my second time recording in a studio because I had recorded a song called ‘No Panic’ when I was with SubSounds.

I recorded ‘Drift’ in Contact Studio in Rua Red and had Martin Moran and Gerry Horan advise me, and they actually thought I should add in the synths you hear in the song – because it was very basic with just vocal and guitar. Jack Costigan (Groove Killer) also came in and played drums on the track after that.

What can listeners expect from “Drift”?

I don’t think my listeners will really know what they’ll hear because it is different from Instagram – where I do a lot of covers. It will give people a chance to see my own personal style and just see what kind of music I’ll be making.

It is very old school, because of the synth which is kind of 80’s, but it has a modern twist and I’d say it’s very relaxing maybe? I’m not too sure on how I’d describe it to be honest, you’ll have listen to it and decide I guess.

Tell us a little about 100 days of music?

I’m always trying to find new ways to keep my audience engaged, and keep them on their toes wondering what I’ll be doing next.

I started it on August 1st and haven’t missed a day yet, I even had a vomiting bug one day and went upstairs in my pyjamas to sit down in front of my camera and record something. It’s great to be always pushing yourself and challenging yourself with new things.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I’m on the fence about studying music or law, because music is such a tough industry to get into and I do have the gift of the gab as they say – so I’d be suited to law probably.

I could see myself maybe working during the day and playing music at night, keeping music as a hobby rather than a job… or not! Who knows, in five years I could have a full album out and be going places with that, we’ll have to wait and see.

You can listen to Isobel Jennings’ first single ‘Drift’ on all music-listening platforms now, see her performing live in The Speaker Connolly on November 9, or follow her 100 days of music challenge on Instagram


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