Mairead Emfada Sycadelic

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*Studio Time* Mairead is back writing and recording tracks in her own home studio. Incorparating various electronical & acoustic experimental soundscapes. The only clue we get is that it's everything but funk!

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Mairead Emfada Biog Continued



  • Singer
  • Song Writer & Lyricist
  • Soundscape Artist
  • Dancer/Movement
  • Visual Artist

Singer/Songwriter/Dancer/Visual Artist/Painter:: Raised: Mc Colgan clan. Born: Letterkenny, Inishowen, Co. Donegal.Ireland.

Mairead Emfada Music www.emfada.co.uk
Wee Mairead...

was born into the beautiful rural countryside of Co. Donegal Ireland. Her mother was/is a house wife and church sacristarian and her father a carpenter/joiner/contractor(he also used to be an amature boxer and ran a boxing club with his mates and brothers over the border of N. Ireland). But somewhere, and somehow, between singing gealic folk songs in muddy potatoe fields to entertaining the babysitter with dramatic performances of ' Hound Dog', 'All Shook up' and chanting 'Ave Ave' to the giant statues of the Virgin Mary... Mairead found her gift... (i.e. a set of golden tonsils! ).

From the age of 8, if little miss M wasnt at school that is, she would spend her days working on her Grandfathers farm! (Gathering spuds, bailing hay, helping lambs and strings of pigglets be born into the big bad world!!!).She was a child slave!:)

As a child at primary school teachers picked up on her gem singing voice and other creative talents such as poetry & short story writing etc...and submitted her to represent the school at the Feis, local music concerts and take lead vocal in the church choir.

She penned her 1st song at the tender age of 10... and sang it out as a wee Brigini (Irish Brownie) at a local community hall. This was the moment that she decided she wanted to sing forever...

First Studio Experience

By the age of 13 she had already written numerous songs & just over a year later after a visit to a professional recording studio she had a demo recording of them. To the humble Mairead... this was already the dream come true.

Singer/songwriter Competitions

Yet feeling determined to let the world know of her existence she entered/reached finals and won many singer/songwriter competitions.. all judged by media folk: TV presenters /DJs/writers & I.M.R.O. (Her folks bungalow is coming down with the trophies and certificates.) Not to include the

odd Karaoke she did as a child (under 16),

which she done to entertain for mum.


School was painful for Mairead, for her heart burned with ambition. She wanted to run off to London/LA/New York or to achieve her dreams but she had no financial support to depend upon... and so ignoring her heart she followed her head instead and remained at school to complete the education. It was difficult to study in a small three bedroomed mad house, she shared a room with two other sisters. Sneaking off to the chapel next door to sing/play the organ and write ballads & teeny pop songs was Mairead's escape.

She was caught by the parish priest a few times singing bizarre things... he'd make her go to Confession.

Art School: University

After achieving hard earned good grades (hon's) in her leaving exams she was offered a place at Art School and BA (hons) Art/Design Degree at University in Belfast. Excited by this opportunity she accepted the offer. (13 miles walking a day!)

During her art student years Mairead earned her supper by singing old bluesyjazz & soul covers in piano bars etc (better than waitressing!).

As an art student she also sang/jammed in the student unions in temporary bands mostly made up of other fellow artist-musician students she met while attending art college.

She also got a job singing backing vocals in various studios and continued to develop her song writing skills.

Theatre - Dance Company

After Uni she moved back home for a short while. She then took up a job at a theatre company in Derry as stage/costume designer but ended up being employed as a performer instead after the directors discovered her singing/dancing talents.

At the same time she attended a music business course, a City & Guilds sound engineering course and worked as a dancer/PA vocalist at night.

Some of her performances included singing at Belfast's famous Kings Hall.

First Official Release

Mairead entered a competition with a recording of one of her live performances and it was her voice performance alone that won a record release (funded by Larry Mullen,U2). She got to choose the song for the release so she chose "Addiction" which she had her share in collaborating. It was released in Ireland & N.Ireland to all major record stores, received great reviews in music mags (Hot Press), radio airplay (including Radio 1, 2FM Dublin) and was also discovered and included in the sound track of an Irish feature film... often broadcast by RTE Television.

Some of the CDs found their way to the ears of record company 'A&R' who started ringing up asking if she have enough songs ready for an album release?.But it was all too scary for the unmanaged songstress. She was on a creative roll... she already had a winning recipe but being thee perfectionist ... she felt the songs she had already penned at that stage just didn't make her "proud enough".

Touring with 5 Piece Instrumental Band: The New Capris

Instead at this point she joined a 5 piece Capri band as lead vocalist and started touring the country... gigging every night from the smallest pub to the largest music hall. The sets were two hours long most nights! They won a funded record release and received healthy music reviews, got radio & MTV airplay.

The band was a funky-jazzy- rocky fusion..(but to Mairead... it eventually became more and more like... confusion!).

The music just didn't feel right. But as part of a touring band she obtained the ultimate live gigging experience.

This experience was valuable to her but she was living someone else's music dream... and she wanted out.

Fans of Mairead the solo artist longed for her to go back to doing her own thing again.


Eventually she flew off to London in some desparation... with endless boxes of lyric sheets and demos taking up most of her luggage. She had nothing....just this painful ambition and need to achieve her goals. It didn't matter that she had no money and nowhere to live...she would survive.

In London she found the odd vocal session work from place to place, doing backing vocals etc but found this degrading. But being homeless for a while meant most of the time doing backing vocals for free just so she could sleep on the recording studio sofa. At one point she had 3 low paying jobs while trying to focus on writing/recording new songs. She'd finish one job, grab a sandwich, catch a train, make a connection, catch a bus and start another job!.

She then got a well paying office type job which bored her almost to death.

London was a bit of a culture shock for her.

Her sister (who lived in Sheffield at the time) on one occasion travelled down to visit ... and shocked to see how skinny she'd become... begged her to forget it all.

For Mairead who is 5 foot 8 inches tall, at the time was just 7 stone in weight. Unhealthily underweight for her height.

It was a combination of trying to remain creatively inspired, those survival jobs and the sheer stress of keeping her music dream alive.

She was burning up energy that she just couldn't spare.


Eventually a friend from Ireland based in Glasgow at the time drove down to London, threw her belongings in the car and headed to Scotland.

Shortly after moving to Scotland she got invited to sing on BBC's TV music show "The Beat Room". Mairead decided to perform one of her self written songs "Mr Rocket Man" filmed live at the Garage, Glasgow.

She continues to perform live PAs where she is based,
in clubs such as Glasgows Sub Club,The Arches, Nice N' Sleazys, Oran Mor etc etc
She also does the odd more intimate accoustic performance. Her shows consist of covering some of
her old fun favourites (e.g. Motown influences, MJ, Stevie Wonder etc)
mixed with her own material. She is a true entertainer who believes in putting
on a real show..."it's all or nothing" she says! She is aware of the visual aspect of her shows.

Some unplanned more earthy performances include her improvising one of her songs along with legend reggae master Dr Alimantado....
"Dr. Alimantado passed her the mic & away they went ... it was a soulful experience & a lovely way to end to his show. Beautiful."
She left Dr. Alimantado asking over & over on stage (& off...) " WHO IS THIS GIRL???!!!".
(And Bill filled him in later).

She has also more recently performed lead/guest vocals for various funk
band. Mostly because she just loves to dance & play the funky role from time to time. (She blames her funk addiction on Bootsy Collins, especially as he once pointed a finger at her and said "Yo girl, you know... you is one REAL funky chick!!!!").

Through her reputation as a performer Mairead recently secured and supported acts such Miss Dynamite, Kubb, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Lisa scott Lee and so on.
As a vocalist and lyricist she lent herself to various local funk outfits, including Mosa. Unknown to the band at the time she had invited a few A& R to the gigs
on a few occasions but they all said the same thing "ditch the band". But Mairead liked the funk band and stayed around another while.
M: "when you work along with a group of musicians
they sorta become your family, your bros... you feel a certain amount of loyalty".
According to Record Companies there's just not a big enough demand for Jazz-Funk Bands. Record companies are commercially minded.
Nevertheless, in time Mairead got bored of soley playing the funky role as she enjoys other genre of music just as much.
Gone Solo again: Today Mairead continues to write songs for herself

and for other singers as well as write/perform lyrics for top record remixers & producers.

Studio: Being a former Sound Technology student, over the last 7 years Mairead has built up a recording studio along with her partner for their own projects.
M:"Together we now rent out the studio to other bands as we are in debth for all the studio equipment we
have invested in over the years... but it will eventually pay for itself...
We prefer having our own wee recording studio, especially as I've always prefered to work at home.
It suits the way I create. "

Mairead also has her own music publishing company and you
may hear some of he tracks on a number of Irish feature films.
Since moving to scotland she's attended various music, marketing & business courses and she

recently graduated with a degree from the University of Paisley.
Mairead believes "it's important for musicians (especially singers who are also Song Writers)
to keep on top of the business side of things. Not many musicians make much money, so a bit of

songwriters PRS royalty is always welcome.
M: "There's just far too quick-buckers out there who PRETEND to have your best interests at heart,
but remember... the devil is a charming man!".
"Well that's what my music lawyers tell me anyhow. You can end up with your soul all torn apart
by hyenas with green teeth & nothing more
than greedy money signs in their eyes!:) I talk from bad past experience, it makes you harder about it.
So now I just keep all my eggs in a bullet proof basket... a legal basket!:). It helps to have an uncle
who just happens to be a lawyer, free legal advice yippee!"

ART: Apart from Music Publishing and the Recording Studio to earn a living Mairead paints and sells her own Artwork/paintings/sketches and sells art prints. She also creates and manufactures handpainted fashion accessories, clothing and soft furnituring/furnishing accessories under her own designer label 'Emfada'. Mairead also teaches Art & Craft at her Visual Arts Work Shop Programmes. These Work Shops help homeless teenagers,
various other groups and young people in need of creative inspiration and hope for the future. She also works alongside the local
police and social workers to help teenagers find other interests in life such as Art & Music rather than drugs as recreation.
Mairead also does graphic design for flyers and the occasional promotional work for music events & clubs.... (but only for DJ friends who run club nights).

M: "I'd love to do my own Art every minute of the day, but like everyone else... the mundane struggles of life survival gets in the way.
I want to do music all the time but I gotta work like everyone else ".

So is there a future for M...?

M: "But what is 'Future'?"

Mairead tries to live in the moment as much as possible.

She has been offered various record/publishing contracts as a solo artist over the past couple
of years but she would rather make a right move or none at all. Instead of going down a potentially soul

destroying 'commercial' root Mairead's always prefered freedom. M: "I need to be free to enjoy my life and my art. I just dont see the point on signing contracts that lock me down

and cramp my creativity. I am a bit selfish in that way. And as there has also been times when I have got my hopes up for nothing and that is painful.

. "Now I think musicians dont really need a 'record' deal today, because we have the internet if we want to get it out there.

We also have distribution. However record companies do have a power of mainstream media/advertising. Which means more people can learn to know of your work.

But internet and technology is still developing fast and the Artists fight back yeehaa!". "I've always been aware that my own commercial shelf life and how it is diminishing year by year by year, but I've dealt with that a long time ago and I try not let my fear of my own personal failures destroy the natural flow of creativity. It's easy to get hung up with equating success with certain achievements. ALL I KNOW IS THAT I WILL NEVER STOP BEING CREATIVE may this be singing, dancing, writing songs, making music, acting or visual arts. I love life and it's more important to me that 'I' am happy... happy with what I'm doing, happy in my creativity. And 'yes' it's true that I have been lost in own creativity all these years. Success for me is completing pieces of work, and feeling good and then feeling proud about it. I'm not ashamed to say that my faith has often kept me alive when I've had nothing else. For me... success is producing something that fills me with joy and a sense of mystery." "I hate it when people ask 'do you want to be famous? or do you want to be a star?" etc etc. It's patronising 'Star' is just some fickle fluffed up Hollywood thing!The whole 'celeb' thing... uh???? "And that 'Big Brother' TV show is so odd! I dont understand it!!!!? I mean... why the hell would ANYONE on earth want to watch someone else living THEIR lives?? I mean... HEY... GET..... A..... LIFE! Time is life... and life is too precious just to sit around on our butts watching someone brush their teeth!!. For believe it or not... WE are NOT gonna live FOREVER!" "I think the only advantage of 'fame' as an artist might be that people can access and recognise your 'WORK'. There's a chance people might listen more intentitivly to what I have to say. Speaking as an Artist however, a bit of Recognition, Respect and Appreciation once in a while for what we DO is always welcome. Because artists like to share their Art, for people to hear or see it. That's half the inspiration, sharing it." "Today all I can say is that I am a confident experienced performer. Over the years I have toured with and without a band doing gig after gig after gig with 2 hour sets night after night... sometimes 2 to 3 gigs per day (night)... so I know hard work as a Performer. (This is why when she puts on a show, she often wears red boots to hide the blood for she sings and dances until her feet bleed) M: "Nothing worse than having to dance on with blood pouring out of raw stingy blisters and know you have another hour to go!But when you have faith in a 'project' you are doing it makes all the pain worthwhile. For some reason...the show MUST go on!" But now I rarely do a show just for the sake of it, especially if I dont have full faith in it. I've already done all my learning. You reach a certain point in your creative life when you think... mmmm I'm just not going to sing down the tiolet anymore. That's how it feels when you do a gig and are getting no satisfaction from it. And also if you ain't getting paid and there's no record to promote then unsatisfying repeative gigs are utterly pointless. It becomes energy, voice and time wasting... even if you do love performing". And WHO really knows what the future holds? But looking back I've had some great times and met some amazing artistic people along the way including some of my music idols." M: "As I said before..."ALL I KNOW IS THAT I WILL NEVER STOP BEING CREATIVE be this singing, dancing, writing songs, poetry, making music, acting or visual arts". M: "Though some days I do think that maybe I shoulda been a heart surgeon after all."