Does it matter where you live? We ask Megan O’Neill

Megan O’Neill’s been posting some really lovely photos this year – and the predominant colour is emerald green. She’s living back in her native Ireland and finding new inspiration from the beauty of the countryside around her. Being Irish has always been an integral part of Megan’s musicality – she said in an interview recently that she feels ‘it’s kind of in my blood’ and maybe there is a particular Celtic soulfulness and intensity in the way she sings, as well as in some of the songs she writes. She’s there on the country-meets-folk border as well as country-meets-pop.

Music was a part of Megan’s growing up from her earliest years and her family have always been a great support; she describes them as a ‘very equal’ as well as a musical family.  She loves her dogs and taking long walks / runs through the countryside. All this makes a lot of sense to us at Dixie Fields and we asked Megan to say a little more about her home country.

I am completely in love with Ireland lately! I’ve always loved this country but I think now, being a bit older and having lived away from here for the past 7 years has given me a new appreciation for Ireland in every way; the people, the scenery, the culture and of course being around my family and my dogs all the time again!

It does mean I travel a lot more (almost all my money now goes to Ryanair!) but it’s worth it to spend my ‘down-time’ back here.

Living back in Ireland has definitely influenced my songwriting in a positive way, It’s a very peaceful place to create. I have my own music space now (which I never had in London) and I write music staring out at beautiful, rolling hills. I’m very lucky!

In saying all of that though, London was (and still is) an amazing place for me. I really developed as an artist and as a person in London over those five years and I still spend about 10 days out of every month back in the city. Most of my co-writing partners are based there as well as my management and my band – so I’m glad I still get to visit very often.

Megan’s debut album Ghost of You came out last year and brilliantly exceeded her expectations when it got to number one on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts. When she was asked in a recent interview which song she was most proud of she found it hard to answer ‘To be honest, all of them! I can’t choose.’ And that’s understandable when songs are imaginative reflections to life experiences — different aspects resonate on different days.  A couple of years ago Megan recorded ‘London City Lights’, a new release earlier this year was ‘Rootless’  and we’re promised that her forthcoming album will have a track entitled ‘Ireland’.

It would be a mistake however to expect some simple hymn to loughs and hills. Part of the lived experience of so many Irish people has been the experience of exile, of leaving as well as returning. One of the key members of our Essex-based Dixie Fields team is Welsh. “You can take a girl out of Wales,” she says, “but you can never take Wales out of the girl.” You have only to listen Megan O’Neill’s utterly distinctive singing (and speaking) voice to know that she’ll be carrying her native country with her wherever she goes. So we’re really looking forward to welcoming that special contribution from the Emerald Isle when Megan O’Neill gets off her Ryanair plane once more.