It’s well known that Derry has always been a hotbed for musical talent, but it seems now more than ever, acts from the north west are really putting us on the map.
There has also been a huge influx of young talent to the local scene, who have not only been developing their talents at home, but have also gained the confidence to soar past the city walls onto pastures new.
One such talent who has been making huge waves is Roisin Donald, performing under the moniker ROE.
It’s been a busy year for the 18 year old multi-instrumentalist. From her various releases to becoming the voice of an international TV advert for Visit Derry. However, understandably it was her appearance at the legendary Glastonbury Festival this year which she revealed as her stand out moment from 2017. “Glastonbury for sure” said ROE. “It was just the most surreal experience and I loved every minute of it. I still can’t believe that I actually played at it.”
Signed to the record label Fictive Kin under the guidance of Liam Craig and Paul Brown, the local musician has truly mesmerised not only audiences, but also critics throughout the country.
Her track ‘Fake Ur Death’ was used as the music bed for part of Harp’s ‘Pure Here’ campaign and ITV’s ‘The Only Way is Essex’ got in on the act by using ‘Cheek Boy’ in one of their episodes. Speaking about how well her music has been received, she admitted: “I’m completely overwhelmed by it. I wasn’t expecting this massive response from people for the songs that I’ve written and it’s just the most gratifying feeling ever knowing that people are digging what I do.”
ROE’s potential was also spotted by the Northern Irish arm of Help Musicians UK, who provide help, support and opportunities to empower musicians. In the case of ROE, the charity selected her as one of their picks for the Help Musicians UK's new Northern Ireland scheme: 3:3, three bands in three years. The scheme is a funded programme of development and support for ROE and her team over the next few years to help build and maintain a sustainable career in the industry.
Having only just returned from Montreal, the much in demand musician then made the journey to Dingle to take part in the eir Other Voices Festival. Speaking about her trip to across the pond, the musician said: “I met Mikey, the ‘M for Montreal’ festival organiser, at the ‘Hard Working Class Heroes’ festival down in Dublin earlier on this year. He came down to the gig I was playing at it and invited me and my manager over. It’s crazy how things happen.
“The 48 hours I had there were unbelievable, and insanely cold. The gig went really well and the people were so welcoming, I made a lot of new friends at the festival so it’d be cool to head back there. It was so great getting to make new friends and play to a completely different audience. I loved it.”
ROE revealed her excitement at being part of the Other Voices party where she was joined by many other Derry acts. “Other Voices has been on my bucket list ever since I was 14 watching Little Bear (PØRTS) and Daughter play the 2013 Glassworks OV show up here. It was just a dream come true.
“It’s great to see so many incredible acts from here getting the attention they deserve. The music scene here is definitely at a high point at the minute.”
It certainly is, especially with the amount of young talent which has been bursting onto the scene. ROE revealed her thoughts on why Derry seems to be batting above it’s weight at the minute. “I think because there are so many Derry acts making a name for themselves now, it has inspired a lot of younger people to get involved and made them realise that music can be a real career path, and a hell of a fun one.”
ROE - Cheek, Boy
ROE will hit the road again in the new year, this time to Holland for the Eurosonic Festival, a festival which she is very much looking forward to. “I’m absolutely buzzing for it, I’ve never been to Holland before so it’s super exciting that I get to head over and play there.”
She also revealed what we can expect in 2018 from one of the city’s brightest stars. “Expect something in early 2018” said ROE. “I’m heading back into the studio for a while so there’ll be a lot more to come.
“I’d love to get playing more festivals and head off travelling again next year, and I’m really excited to release more new tracks. We’re also in the middle of planning an Irish Tour for 2018 so it should be a busy year.”
You can catch ROE’s final gig of the year when she will be performing alongside a host of other great local bands at One Man Town’s Tribute Night in Sandinos on Thursday 21st December. The acts will be playing the music of Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, David Bowie & Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) with proceeds going to Lighthouse NI (Suicide Prevention), Make A Wish NI and Foyle Search & Rescue.
Other acts on the night include Steven McCool (Ports), Susie Blue, Our Krypton Son, Emma Gallagher (Making Monsters) and many more.
With so many incredible local acts on the scene at the moment, it’s a great opportunity show your support by giving the gift of local music this year. You can purchase merchandise from ROE via her official website and be sure to check her Facebook and YouTube too! Don't forget to enter our competition here, where you have a chance of winning a host of merchandise from all the acts involved in the campaign.