Meet one of the brightest new stars on the Irish independent scene.
Amanda Dempsey, aka Nara, is an artist with a huge upside. Not only is she blessed with an amazing voice, but she is an accomplished songwriter who has wowed critics with her sultry modern R&B style. Nara already has two stand-out singles under her belt (Honey Trap, Reality), and now she has her sights set on kicking her career into high gear with her first music video, for the song Venus De Milo (featuring Joe Reddin). I caught up with Amanda for a chit-chat about song-writing, fence-jumping, and hugging!
For the uninitiated, tell us what Nara is all about?
Nara in a nutshell is about being happy,(actually coming from Celtic origin meaning happy) finding your own path in life and finally being comfortable with who you are and what you represent. I created Nara as a strong-willed, decisive woman who wants to listen to herself fully and not be afraid to take chances. Most of all though Nara means enjoyment and love for what you are doing. I believe my music is unique to me and I love it that way. Will it stay the same? Probably not! Am I loving the journey? Yes!
You have been writing songs for many years now, what kick-started your passion for music?
Unfortunately, this one is a sad story but it is the true reason I got into songwriting. I always sang ever since I was a small child. I never thought I would be any good at songwriting, even though I loved writing poems, I thought writing songs was just out of my reach. One very sad day during an assembly in transition year my very young cousin, Holly passed away from Leukaemia. I really did not know how to deal with my emotions, I was all over the place and didn’t really know what to feel. A few weeks later I decided to try and write a song for her, it was the only way I could get the words I wanted to say out or the feelings I needed to feel. I had been playing the guitar for a year at this point so I wrote a melody on my guitar then the lyrics followed. I called it ‘princess for a day’, and ever since then, I have been writing non-stop! So thank you, Holly, we love you and miss you forever and always.
Your lyrics are always beautifully written, were you always this good? Did you write any cringe lyrics as a kid?
Even though I loved the music for this song and it was a bop, I have to admit to myself that the lyrics were full-on cringe! The song was called perfect and the chorus was:
I got you and you got me good.
Every little thing that you wanna say you say it.
Yeah, I got you and you got me good.
Every little thing that you wanna do is perfect, it’s perfect ….it’s perfect.
Oh, that’s not the worst part …. The refrain
And I…… I got you
And you……. You got me”
Yep, what can I say ….. a lyrical genius over here!
So your new song Venus De Milo is awesome! What’s it about?
Inspired heavily by Greek mythology, Venus De Milo represents how women have to morph into a statuesque shell as they grow older. It’s about acting empowered and not being afraid to be you, no matter what other people perceive that as. If being strong makes someone want to call you a bitch, then you be that bitch! It’s a modern-day love story of learning to love yourself.
The music video for Venus De Milo is top class! Can you give our readers any behind the scenes gossip about making the video?
Thanks! We all had so much fun on the day of the shoot, I think some of the girls ran to Centra to pick up some snacks and the essentials (a bag of cans) for the day. They all kept it professional, even though they were a little bit lit… I loved the energy! We had some tarot readings done in between takes and we may have had to sneak into a playground and hop over a fence, while I was wearing a dress! As we got the times mixed up and the park was closed (rebels I know). It was an amazing day, or 17 glorious hours to be precise and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Venus De Milo is your third single, does this mean an ep or album is on the way?
Great question, I have been debating this with myself as over quarantine I have had the amazing opportunity to work with various electronic and lo-fi artists from all over the world, including Japan and Thailand! I have had a few producers after Venus De Milo reaches out to me about working with them too. I have really enjoyed making singles up until now and I am currently working on my next one…. Will it become an ep, possibly! I think an album will come a bit further down the line as I am thinking of creating a compilation album with the various artists I have worked with throughout the covid. The Lo-Fi community is a very tight-knit community online and they are all so supportive. Of course, most Lo-Fi tracks do not contain lyrics or vocals but they seem to have been loving the vocals I added to their beats, I think I have found a bit of a niche music scene that I would happily create more of!
If you had no arms like Venus De Milo, what would you miss doing most?
This is fab haha. Well, the one thing I miss the most right now and it is basically like having no arms is not being allowed to hug because of covid! But music-wise not being able to play the guitar anymore or produce music on my laptop would really suck!
And finally, it seems like the pandemic might be finally coming to an end and live music might be allowed again soon. Where is your return gig going to be and why?
Finally!! Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Although it is so sad to see so many clubs and great venues being closed down because of the pandemic. It’s hard to keep track of what is left! However, my last gig before covid was in a small bar called Sin E on the Quays in Dublin. It was the perfect stage for a solo artist and the crowd are always lovely and supportive! I would gladly have my first gig back there! I honestly can’t wait to go to see live music myself too, I think everyone can’t wait!