Una Healy has been a household name since 2008 when she rose to fame as a member of five piece The Saturdays. Her latest single, ‘Never See Me Cry’ was released on 30th March, and follows on from performances at festivals and shows including C2C in London, and a headline slot at Belfast’s Nashville Songwriter’s Festival. Una’s first ever solo headline tour commences in Killarney, County Kerry, on June 15 this year, going across Ireland and the UK until the final show in London, at The Lexington, on 21 June.
Lisa had the immense pleasure to speak to Una shortly before Easter.
EP: Hello Una! Thanks for talking to us – you’ve had such a huge career so far. The Saturdays, and TV, and duets, and you’ve even done backing vocals for Eurovision! You never ever stop do you!
UH: Oh well you know, in this industry you’re chasing your dreams all the time, I don’t think I can ever turn my back on it, I’m delighted to be bringing out some fresh new music a well now, I’ll stay doing it forever I think, I just love it that much you know!
EP: You mentioned your new music, your new single, ‘Never See Me Cry‘ is out Friday [This interview was recorded 28 March – ed.]. We had a listen to it today, it’s a bit of a departure from what you’ve been doing recently, it’s not country, and it’s not folky, it’s got a feisty 60s flavour to it, it reminds me of all those powerful female singers of that period, like Leslie Gore for instance.
UH: I think with every record you want to slightly reinvent yourself and show every other side to yourself, the sides that I’ve always had, that people don’t really see. And at the end of the day, it’s a great empowering song, that I want people to get out on the dance floor, I’ve had some dance mixes done of it as well. It’s a bit of a rocker I guess, I can play it acoustic, or with a full band, or as a dance track, it’s got loads of different sides to it but essentially it’s an up tempo, power rock pop – it’s got a bit of country in it too!
EP: You’ve just come off tour – but you’ve also announced you’re going on tour again, across Ireland and the UK in June, with the Voice Inside Of Me tour. What can fans expect, and where can they buy tickets, because they’ve just gone on sale haven’t they?
UH: All the links are on my social media, my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all the information is on there. This is my first proper solo tour really! I’ve done a few gigs here and there, but this is my first real tour, getting out with the lads in the band, bringing the music from the first album, and some new tracks as well, on the road.
EP: I like the way you’re starting from one side of Ireland and working your way across – do you finish in London?
UH: Kerry, Galway, Dublin, then across to Glasgow, Manchester, and London.
EP: I put the word out that I was speaking to you and I got bombarded by questions. Kelly from London would like to know when your next album is coming out.
UH: Well I’m going to release this single first, then I’ve got more songs I really want to bring out. I’ll be dropping songs along the way and then I’ll collectively put together a body of work which will be the album towards the end of the year, or early next year. I’m going to continue to release new material all the way until then.
EP: They have to just keep on waiting!
UH: Yeah! I’ll be bringing out new stuff, keep it interesting. For gigs too I like to have new stuff.
EP: Stacey from Dundee asks, any plans for more country pop, and who would you like to duet with next?
UH: I’ve done a lot of dueting, I’ve done two last year, my new music has a country edge to it, it’ll always be like that, but I’ll add a few different genres as well, a bit of pop rock, that’s the road I’m going down. As for duets I’ve got one in the pipeline possibly but I can’t say who yet [EP: Oooh!! Secrets!!] but I can’t confirm that one yet because you never know if it might hatch or not you know?
EP: That’s exciting though! ClaireyJane from Scotland asks, how does it feel, knowing your music inspires other people, as there are so many relatable songs on your album?
UH: Oh that’s such a lovely thing to say! That’s what I always hope, when I write a song I feel it’s not mine anymore, it’s for everyone, it’s universal feelings that we all have, and to think that it’s given anyone confidence in any way is a huge compliment and it makes me want to get out performing live even more, because that’s how you connect with your audience, if they’re feeling the music, and take that song home with them, and make it theirs. That’s how I feel.
EP: Because you’re putting so much of yourself into it aren’t you.
UH: Yeah, but I made loads of other people’s songs my own when I was younger, and even when you cover a song, you get into it and feel it’s yours, and it’s exactly what I want, and I’m delighted to hear that that’s happening!
EP: Mission accomplished! Sam from Cork would like to know, what’s been the nicest gift you’ve ever received from a fan?
UH: Oh they’re so sweet! I’ve had loads of lovely gifts along the way, I love when they collect lots of different memorabilia, things from the past, the fans have put together books over the years of what you’ve been up to. I’m not there just to get the gifts but it’s just so lovely to see they’re there, and they’re supporting me and their presence is the biggest gift I can have. I wouldn’t be doing it at all if it wasn’t for them. They’re my gift!
EP: Their presence is your present!
UH: Yes! Exactly! That’s a lovely one! I really like that!
EP: Zena from Longford says, do you enjoy spending time in Longford/Drumlish with your uncle?
UH: Oh yes! I used to spend a lot of my childhood there, every single summer, every single Christmas, right from being a baby, until even now, I visit of my uncle quite regularly, and I stay with him when I’m doing a gig in the area. I’m very close to him. I love Longford and Drumlish, it’s like a second home to me.
EP: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry, and what if anything, could be done better do you think, and why?
UH: Well it’s evolving all the time, you never know what’s going to happen next, you compare the industry now to what it was when I was a child, or a teen, or even when The Saturdays were around, you have to be prepared to go with the flow, with what’s happening, it can be quite frustrating at times, you get your head around one thing and then it changes to something else, it keeps you on your toes that’s for sure. For me, touring is the big thing for me, I just love being in front of an audience, I love to see people come down and enjoy the music with me.
EP: There’s a certain thing about performing in front of a live audience isn’t there, it’s a completely different feeling, because you’re actually connecting with people.
UH: Yes! Oh yes! I enjoy the writing process, especially when I’ve written a song that day, I get excited about a song, it’s a great feeling, but it’s even nicer when you go to a gig and you’re singing it to people in the audience and they’re singing along. That’s a nice feeling.
EP: Yeah! Because you’re putting those songs out, they’re like your children! You want everyone to love your children!
I’ve got one more question, and I ask this of everyone I interview! What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
UH: Oh that’s a tough one! I get asked quite a lot of the same questions, but I’ve never been asked that! Because it gives you the option to say whatever you want! Okay!
“How do you take your tea?”
EP: How *do* you take your tea?
UH: I like it with a level teaspoon of milk – like literally no milk.
EP: Oh okay!
UH: So if I ever go anywhere, if they want to make me a nice cup of tea, that’s how I have it!
EP: And does it have to be Barry’s, or anything like that?
UH: Ohhh well I do love my Irish tea! Barry’s, Lyon’s, my Mother always would fill my suitcase with the Irish tea to bring over with me, because it’s the best, I always have a full supply of that at home.
EP: So long as you’ve got your tea and a level teaspoon of milk you’re just fine! It’s been lovely talking to you! All the best!
UH: Bye! Thank you!
Stream and download ‘Never See Me Cry’ here.
See here for tickets and further information about Una Healy’s tour.