‘I made a promise to her and I intend to keep it’ – Singer/songwriter Michael Maloney
A promise to his mother shortly before her passing has inspired a Donegal singer/songwriter to move into the music industry full-time.
Michael Maloney’s debut single ‘What Do You Want to Know’ already has him well on the road to a major hit. But the Ardara man has revealed how it was a heart-to-heart with his mother Carmel before she passed away from cancer aged 64 that gave him the shove he needed to try music as a career.
‘What Do You Want to Know’ – a razor sharp examination of the small town rumour mill and the impact gossip can have – has already been downloaded over 350,000 times on Spotify alone. And his follow-up ‘Ozzie Man’ is on course to do even better. In the same vein as his first hit, Ozzie Man pokes fun at those who have traded Ireland for places like Australia and who love to brag about how well they are doing.
His next track will be a change of pace though, away from the cynical and humorous overtures that have drawn comparisons with Scottish artist Gerry Cinnamon.
Michael has set a release date of mid-February for ‘I’ll Be There For You’ and is in the process of shooting an accompanying video.
Revealing how he has gone from being a somewhat reluctant musician to a fully fledged singer and songwriter, the 26-year-old said, “I used to play in a band called Black Casino and we did a few gigs locally. When that dissolved I went out on my own for a while but then I went to Canada for a year and the music went off the boil. So when I came back to Ireland I had no real interest in music at all and I was just working and living life with no real ambition. I was always writing songs, I’ve loads of songs written, but I made no effort to push myself or get my stuff out there.”
It was not until mum Carmel fell ill that Michael decided to channel serious energy into his music. He enrolled in a course at Letterkenny’s Full Tilt Studio and under the tutelage of Tommy Conway began to study the production side of the business.
And it was at Full Tilt that he recorded the song that has been picked up by hundreds of thousands of peoples to date.
“I couldn’t get over that/He didn’t lick that off the grass…” go the lyrics as Michael takes aim at the gossip mongers who spread half-cocked stories “based on nothing at all”.
“When I wrote the song, the amount of stories going around about what it was based on was serioius. But I didn’t let on because I wanted people to think it was about this or about that. Is he singing about me, that sort of thing.”
For several years Michael Maloney has worked full-time in the health service. But as his musical star has risen he has pared it back to part-time with plans to make a complete transition in the near future.
“Capitalise is a favourite word of mine and that is what I am trying to do. I genuinely thought it would be hard to get the kind of exposure I have but I have been very lucky.”
His next song though will be a departure from what fans have become accustomed to.
“The first song was a bit of craic and that was the sound people expected so I decided to release Ozzie Man next. It is about these men who did nothing when they were at home and when they go away suddenly they are great fellas. The feedback from both songs has been overwhelmingly positive and I’ve been getting videos sent to me from boys working all over the world and them blasting out my music in bars and at poolsides. It’s mad. But my next release, I’ll Be There For You, is going to be more from the heart and it’s probably more like the sound I always thought I would go for.”
Collectively Michael Maloney’s first two songs have been downloaded over 400,000 times on Spotify and far beyond that number when other streaming platforms are totted up. The numbers and his popularity as a live artist will almost certainly bring him on the radar of a record company in the very near future.
For the artist himself though, it is all about keeping the head down and putting in the hard miles.
“For me it is about churning out the music, keeping the tunes coming and trying to capitalise on whatever comes my way. I’m not going to stop, I will keep going until something happens. I made a promise to my mum and I intend to keep it.”
You can keep up to date with Michael Maloney’s music on his Facebook page. His songs are available today on all major streaming sites.