Hello and welcome to my first ever blog. In case you are stumbling upon this blog, or me, for the first time, my name is Éabha Mc Mahon. I’m a singer/songwriter from Ireland. Éabha is an Irish language name that is pronounced a-va. As much as my heritage language is dear to my heart, I have decided to make it easy for as many people as possible and use the name AVA for my upcoming music releases.
I am passionate about music, human rights, the sea, my home, animals and creativity. I love collaboration and I love people. I love observing them, listening to them and most of all I love what being around people does for me.
I wanted to create a space where I could write about this next chapter in my life. Somewhere that I could document my thoughts and ideas as I write and record my new album and where that takes me. In a perfect instagram-able world, we don’t often get to experience the real behind the scenes of creating. It is said that ‘a picture says a thousand words’, but I believe that words can convey far more meaning and depth to inform, inspire, enlighten and entertain.
I want to fill this space with subjects that inspire me and topics that I am passionate about, as well as writing about the process behind creating and what that looks like. I am excited to see what 2020 has in store and would love to bring you along on this journey with me. I want to share my hopes and thoughts and bumps in the road with you all so that when you hear my music you will know the context, and what it stands for and understand where it came from and the person behind it.
Recording my own album has been my plan for as long as I can remember but, I have been fortunate you could say, to have been kept very busy for years touring the world as a part of other musical groups.
The prospect of now creating something that represents exactly who I am is very liberating and exciting. I have always found the beginning of any creative project magical. I love the idea that anything can happen. There are no limits to what can be created. I love learning more about my voice as I enter this new chapter in my life. I can barely sleep with the endless ideas and emotions that I feel during the writing phase.
We started recording for this project in late February and just after we had got going, all our plans and schedules had to be put on hold due to the current pandemic. We could not have envisaged then how complete the lockdown was going to be and how long it would last. Luckily we had recorded some songs that we will be able to finish remotely and I look forward to sharing those along the way whilst we wait to finish the album.
I also did not envisage that not long after we halted recording I would test positive with Covid-19. That was of course a major shock, but I honestly believe I have learned more from it, than it has taken from me. The lyrics that I had written were always close to my heart, but they are even more poignant now. After a week of feeling dreadfully unwell I am fortunate to say that I made a full recovery and I am now fully back in the song writing process once again.
Writing has always been something that I find fascinating, because everyone does it their own way. Mine is usually quite reactive to what is going around me and therefore sporadic. I honestly wish it wasn't and that there was more method to my work but I tend to write about something that I feel passionate about, or something that I have observed in another person. Being creative is something I find hard to describe, because it is not something you feel at all times. In the times when I do, I write lots and lots. Usually the songs come to me in the night and by morning I can hear the melody as though I have known it all my life. Lyrics often come in their droves while I walk the beach in Galway, usually resulting in me running home so I don’t forget them.
I go inside while writing, by this I mean that I spend long periods of time alone while writing. In the initial phases anyway. I read lots of poetry and write down words that depict what I am trying to say. Sometimes a song will totally consume me, like a wave. Hours can fly by and I won’t even notice. And before I know it, it’s night time and the bones of the song are written.
I have a new song called ‘One More Day’ that began its life after I had been talking to someone very close to me on the phone and the moment the call ended the lyric for this verse just flew out of me.
‘Please hold on, you're not alone, you may feel lost on this unknown road
You prayed for days just to see the light, on your face, to give you strength’
I sat at my piano weeping, and almost as though I was in a trance, the melody just took over and I pressed record on my phone. The song then developed into the the finished piece with a structure, a bridge and chorus. Each song has a story to tell, but it’s the listener who makes it their own. From this song in particular, I hope each and every listener finds something in it to take solace from through troubled times.
I would consider myself to be an empath I can’t help but to feel deeply and my intuition is something that has always guided me. As a child, I would question it, but music has taught me that feeling deeply and applying it to songwriting is actually a gift. I love that music is a universal language, whereby one persons’ story can be interpreted by so many, in different ways. Writing for me, has always been a way to acknowledge the human spirit, and hopefully help others to know they are not alone with how they are feeling.
I am thankful that creativity presents itself the way that it does in my life. I miss it when I don’t feel it for a while. I often question why the feeling of being creative comes and goes, and for the most part I have no idea. What I have noticed, is that it usually revolves around the big scary ‘F’ word: Fear. The fear of change, failure, judgment, loss and embarrassment holds us back and keeps the Nirvana of creativity at bay. Growing up my mum always said ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. Easier said than done. But this year I’m going to take a big deep breath and do just that.
For several years I was privileged to be a part of Anúna, the renowned Irish choral group. I became their youngest ever member when I was just fifteen and the experience and training that I got from them helped me become the vocalist I am today. I loved being part of that incredible body of sound. Every member brought something unique and distinctive to the table. But together we made a sound that was so unified and powerful. Five years ago I was asked to join Celtic Woman and have spent those years touring with them in over twenty countries across six continents. I got to make three television specials and five albums with this ensemble and was proud to receive my first ever Grammy nomination.
I always found it hard to write music whilst touring and our schedule was such that it began to feel like my creative side was asleep. During last year I felt something inside screaming for me to listen. My creative drive was calling on me to open up and get ready to write again, so for 2020 I made the decision that this was the time to focus on that.
I have always loved collaborating. Growing up I was an avid hockey player and I always thrived most in team environments. I feel so fortunate now to have an incredible team to work closely with me on this new journey. The beauty of collaborating is that we all bring our different strengths to the table and bouncing ideas off each other and developing every idea as a team makes the entire process even more rewarding.
I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming months and I hope you join me on this journey. Until the next time, stay safe and stay well.