BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A DONEGAL singer who has been making a name for herself for quite some time now is about to set foot on the Greenroom Live stage which has quickly established itself as one of the top venues to see original music in the county.
The Emily Whelan Band will be performing at Letterkenny venue this Sunday, August 26, showcasing the music written by its lead singer.
Ardara native Emily Whelan has devoted all her time to her music for nearly a decade starting in her college days in Derry with a band called KICE.
A few years ago Emily decided she wanted focus on her own music and since then she has release three singles and a four-track EP which have received a lot of airplay nation-wide.
Emily has supported household names such as Aslan, Donegal’s Henry Girls and Jack L, but currently she is on her own, very unique tour – Bus Éireann Bus Stop Tour.
She said: “The Bus Éireann thing originally came about when I was chatting to Greg Gorman after playing at one of his Bluestacks Jam Club gigs.
“He was wanting to know why I hadn’t actually toured any of my music properly yet, and of course the answer came down, as it usually does these days, to money, and especially the cost of fuel for travelling. In an almost throw-away line he said ‘sure why don’t you give Bus Éireann a ring and see if they would sponsor your travel’.”
Emily immediately thought it was a great idea. “Of course I knew it wouldn’t be a case of just calling them up and saying ‘hi guys, I know you’ve probably never heard of me, but can you let me have free travel around the country…’.
“In reality it actually meant many weeks putting together what ended up looking like a full marketing plan, and then pitching the whole thing to them as something that would also be good for their business as well as my music,” she said.
Pretty soon it came to the attention of the Manager for the West and North West region, Marie King, who called me back and said she wanted to meet up.
Emily said “Marie seemed to like what she saw and said ‘yes’ and the Bus Éireann Bus Stop Tour was born. I have to say that it has been an amazing time since that day, and lots of people have told me they really seem to get the feel of the tour from the photographs and blogs on my Facebook page.
“Touring on a shoestring also means I am literally singing for my supper, and the other part of the tour organisation meant talking venues into letting me play my original music in their pub or club, in return for maybe a bed to sleep in, or a bite to eat.
“But sure, Irish hospitality being what it is, people have risen to the occasion and have really looked after me everywhere I’ve gone.”