Cork-based Folk Singer-Songwriter Marie Conniffee began her artistic ventures as a performer, paying homage to the greats, namely Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Janis Joplin, and Neil Young.
It was a long time before Marie Conniffe actually began to find her own creative voice. Absorbing from the best, she began experimenting with songwriting in her teens and early twenties but lacked inspiration. It was during her travels that she hit her creative stride, and began making beautiful music that appeals to her emerging fan base.
The nomadic singer-songwriter takes us into a prominently dark and mysterious atmosphere with her latest single, “The Door.” Coming to us after the three-year release mark of her debut album, the striking harmonies and reflective nature of this record launches us into the wistful hues she effortlessly portrays. Marie Conniffe has an intriguing sense of intimacy in the tone that hails from her prevailing croons.
Cascading with instrumentation that weighs in on the scale of traditional folk spirits, there’s a foreboding essence that actually instills a comforting blanket of beliefs, all while projecting the dimly cavernous front that “The Door” embodies. Evoking an insightful state of mind with the magnificent use of simplicity and repetition, the reverberated timbres that makeup both the foreground and background captivate your headspace with agility and grace.
With poignant lyrical motifs such as, ‘I wear a mask that looks at you with tears, and wants to know the loving that it fears,’ the poetic justice that seeps through the composition leaves us awestruck with the hauntingly witty beauty we latch onto. Marie Conniffe takes us back to the beginning and leaves us with a refreshing essence of her artistry.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Marie Conniffee, and congratulations on the rebirth of your artistry through your single, "The Door." At what point did you know that this record would be the perfect statement piece for you to come back to your audience?
Thanks! Well, I knew that “The Door” tended to have an impact on the people who heard it. They would always want to know what it was about and why I had written it. So, I guess I always had it in my head that I would return to it one day and record a version that would do it justice. And then it was after my friend Rebecca Cant (who ended up playing flute on the track) heard my album “Love Madness” that I also recorded with Beardfire Music and she told me that she liked it but it made her want to know what they could do with some of my other songs like “The Door”, for example. So, I called the Beardfire guys the next chance I got.
In your own words, what is the meaning that "The Door," holds to you? What would you like your audience to take away from it?
Some people asked me why I didn’t include “The Door” on “Love Madness” but it just wouldn’t have fit. “The Door” is basically the first real song I ever wrote and it started me on a journey which is documented on the “Love Madness” album. But the song itself is probably more pure and innocent of heart than the later songs and maybe a bit stupid too but that’s ok! So, I suppose you could call it a song of hope. Also, the real lesson I learned was “When in doubt, write”. I did think twice when I was writing “The Door” and I checked in with myself to make sure it was definitely a good idea! But then I thought of Jeffrey Lewis and his song “The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song” in which he makes the point that people writing songs about each other is lovely and “the next time you’re feeling kind of lonesome and blue, just think that someone somewhere might be singing about you”. So, it’s all good.
Do you find that in the three-year span you've taken off anything has changed in your approach to your craft? What are some things that have remained the same, and some things that have changed?
I tend to approach songwriting the same way every time. And generally, I do that because it seems to work. But I’ve found little to inspire me over the last year or so – just lack of stimulation I guess. Now, I have been writing and the quality has been fine but the songs have slowed to a trickle for now. That’s just the way of it sometimes with me – then like three or four will come along at once. I did use my time in lockdown to improve my fingerpicking and that helped me to come up with a couple of tunes. I also got a ukulele which is very handy for just throwing over my shoulder when I’m leaving the house and seeing what happens!
What's your mission statement as an artist?
I have a little blurb that I think pretty much sums me up, which is that I travel the world singing my deeply personal and revealing stories of love, life, and beautiful truths. The most important word in the blurb is ‘truth’. I think it’s important to be honest, even when you’re lying! Or “writing” as we call it. I think people connect to art more if they feel that the artist has really put their heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into it. I also think it’s important to really make an effort to be good. I know that sounds obvious but I do work to keep my standards up and, if I have to abandon something because it’s not doing it for me, that is fine. The tune has to be memorable and I like to do something different with my lyrics each time so that they don’t end up sounding trite or clichéd.