Listening to Lyra sing, it’s clear the strength in her voice shows that there’s a lot going on beneath the surface.
I was bullied as a child – at school and in town by girls who didn’t like me,” said Bandon-born singer Laura McNamara 29 years ago.
“I’ve always loved fashion and maybe I’m a little different in what I wear. I would get the general ‘Who do you think she is?’ We will go out and I will be different.
She recalls her reaction one night in Bandon wearing a black leather turtleneck paired with black leather pants with silver buttons.
“This girl came up to me and said, ‘You think you’re a bitch!’ I’ve never even heard the expression. She wants to fight me for no reason other than the way I dress.
“I went through a lot of that when I was 16 and 17, walking in the street or drinking in the bushes.”
Her mother Ann tells her to be the best version of herself. “It was really deadlocked,” she said. “I never had to apologize for being myself.”
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Mother, her single from 2019, talks about those experiences. During the chorus, she sings “I’m rising to higher ground”. The inspiration for that line, she said, was to “get over the bullying and turn something negative into something positive. It was like venom coming out of me, I got really angry when I sang that part of the song.”
Mahalia Jackson, the greatest gospel singer of the 20th century, once said that when she sang a sad blues song, it made her sad. But when she sings a spiritual song, it lifts her up.
Lyra does a rare feat: lifting you up with a sad song.
Her voice is filled with the emotion needed to make you believe that she doesn’t just sing with words. And while the singer isn’t Mahalia Jackson — Lyra’s voice closely resembles Adele or Florence Welch’s Florence and the Machine’s — she has an extraordinary voice. This allows her to perform songs without ever looking like she’s faking it.
She said: “I get so emotional when I sing and I dive into the songs, because they are about exes or being cheated on by men.”
Her stories of heartbreak, pain, loss, and ultimately strength won’t be outside the lyrics of the aforementioned Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone or indeed the aforementioned Adele.
God bless all my old lovers. I have no clue about the boys
singles 2019 fall (introduced in the US TV show Grey’s Anatomy) is an example of Lyra actually singing the pages of her diary…
“I’m the type of girl,” she began, as a way of explaining, “there was a shift, a kiss, and suddenly: ‘He’s that one!’ I was pushing the baby away and walking down the aisle. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I love ‘love’ basically. Maybe I watched too many rom-coms.
“Anyway, my friends said to me: ‘Did you know your man is still active on Tinder and he still hooks up with people and likes people we know?’ I was dead about the situation. He ‘likes’ all these big-breasted girls – and I don’t.
“But I naively thought that if I tried to be a sexier and cooler version of myself, and pretended that I didn’t care what he was doing behind my back – when inside I was get angry – he’ll say: ‘You suck. [Lyra] is pretty good’. And it will stop him. Then I realized that was stupid for me, and that I would never be happy pretending to be someone else I thought he wanted. So that’s the way fall arrived.”
“Do you like me this way or do you like me that?/ Do you want to hold her or do you want me back?” she sings on music she wrote when she was in her twenties.
She said: “I feel embarrassed trying to change myself so a guy can choose me over a girl on Tinder.
“God bless him,” she added. “God bless all my exes. I have no clue about men at all.”
A new song, which she did not name, is about a guy she met when she was 23 years old. “It was on a night out and I thought it was going to be great, the best night ever. Then he told me: ‘I don’t like you that way’ and walked away.
“I am a very emotional person. I’m also a pretty strong person but if something happens to me, it happens to me. I started crying,” says Lyra, who released her first EP WILD in the summer of 2016 and started gaining traction when Emerald was used on teen wolf and then she was signed by Universal Records.
“The audience knows the songs I sing mean a lot to me because I’m singing about what happened to me. I live true to myself.”
Perhaps too true to her own mental health.
Social media can also help you move forward in life
She laughs at the misconceptions people (who have never met her) have about her. “A lot of people seem to think I’m an absolute bitch. I do not know why. If I were a bitch, my sister would knock me down,” she laughed at her sister Sarah. “I told you I wouldn’t let it go to my family. They screwed my feet to the floor.”
She received social media messages after her show from attendees and told her, “I was expecting you to be a bitch but you are really nice and real.”
However, not all of them are positive messages.
She said: “I can read a negative comment and it can really throw me back. “It affected me mentally. I don’t want people to think I’m an asshole. That would kill my soul.”
Not one to hold back – on stage, in song or in interviews – Lyra admits she was nervous while writing her recent single Box 29 “because it’s too raw”.
What really worries her is the song about the aforementioned carnival on social media.
She said: “It’s great for many things but there are very few people who make it a dark place.
“They feel they can say anything to you without consequences. Social media can also be a way to help you move forward in life, and I do, even if I don’t feel the same way,” she added that once she “starts comparing Compare yourself with other artists. I have mentally scarred myself, and I am actively doing it to myself. I want to put it on paper and show everyone that I am not this confident powerhouse.”
“I have a vulnerable fear side. I don’t feel good enough sometimes. The imposter syndrome came on and I felt insecure about everything. That song is me showing that I have that side too. The verses are as raw as they can be. It’s pretty easy to explain that it’s about me never feeling good enough and always doubting myself.”
Where does a feeling of low self-worth come from?
“It comes from people saying that I won’t be able to enter the music industry because my voice is too loud. A guy in the music industry told me I would never be an artist with my voice. I think he thinks I’m a bit of a thug. So I was told that my dictionary is shit when I sing. It makes me very insecure about my voice.”
This comes from a performer who can sing with the hind legs of a donkey and has a bright future ahead of him.
Her parents divorced when she was 12 years old but she does not believe that this is the source of some negativity within her.
“Not really. I have to say that even though my parents broke up, I had a great childhood. Obviously, it affects you negatively because when you were a kid you thought life was color. rose and your parents will be together forever and we will all live happily ever after, such as Brady’s group.
But it wasn’t the catastrophic breakup where my mom and dad hated each other. It really isn’t. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I have the best version of my mom and I have the best version of my dad. And we were happy. Some people might say, ‘Oh, from a broken family’ – I don’t see it that way. I have a very close family.”
And one thing that is extremely fascinating… She describes her father as Kevin, a biochemist, like a “crazy professor”.
“When I was a kid, he made me and my sister use lemon under my arm to get rid of the smell. and brush your teeth with baking soda. He gave us turmeric root to fight inflammation. He asked us to use large amounts of organic onions, ginger and turmeric,” she said.
“I remember as a teenager, when I had acne, he said to me: ‘Wash your face with baking soda!’”
As for her mother, she “is a copy of me”.
“People say to me: ‘Oh, your mother will never die while you’re alive.’ She is the life and soul of every room she is in. She’s going to start singing a song with Westlife,” she said, referring to the band she has toured around Europe and the UK and will be a special guest at their concert. premieres at 3 Arena in Dublin next week. “I like to have fun and have a song.”
When she was in Ireland, she lived at home in Cork with her mother. When she was recording and working in the UK, she lived in Brighton. She had met someone for almost three years in England.
“My love life is good. Finally!” she laughed. And I found one. I’m happy. He seems to be dealing with the fact that I’m away a lot.
“He is a rugby player,” she said, “which is good because he plays professional football, so he knows the dedication and the time it takes you to become a professional football player. professional in the same way that I am supposed to in my job. I need someone like that, who understands what I do.”
Does he have cauliflower ears, the standard issue for rugby players?
“A little bit!” she roared with laughter. “They’re things that look like gas, aren’t they?”
It didn’t take her away from him.
“I have what looks like a mini double chin. Maybe it’s because I like to eat food. I won’t lie and blame my voice. Although when I sing, there is a vocal muscle that I feel is developing.”
“I’ll take the cauliflower ear if he has a double chin…”
Lyra’s current single ‘The Magic of Christmas’ is featured in an An Post advertisement. She will perform on New Year’s Eve as a special guest of Westlife at Festival Village on North Wall Quay
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-features/singer-lyra-i-dont-ever-have-to-apologise-for-being-myself-42225969.html Singer Lyra: ‘I never had to apologize for being myself’