There are times in a lifetime when the talent within us roots us to where we are supposed to be on life’s journey and from that moment, everything changes. For singer, Elaine Boyle, that time is now. With one successful album released in recent years her next album promises to be one that will cultivate and create a wider audience.
Sitting in her Thornberry apartment, Elaine is dressed in a white dressing gown, her face impeccably made-up for work in Voodoo that evening as she takes an hour out of her busy schedule to talk about her upcoming album release, scheduled to take place in the Green Room, in Voodoo on October 14. A renewed positive attitude to life and all the challenges that it presents can be felt in her manner and heard in her voice as she busily chatters preparing tea.
“I am really looking forward to the album launch. It is different in some ways from my old album. It will appeal to a greater audience, one of the reasons for that being that the country and western scene has expanded and adapted over the last number of years,” she said.
A daughter of Malachi and Clare Boyle with three brothers, Brian, Mark and Liam, Elaine made her debut on stage in the “Limelight” in Glenties at the tender age of thirteen. She remembers singing at a charity event for a friend of the family’s who had lost her father. A man in the audience, who was a photographer for Sandy Kelly, immediately recognised her ability and advised her to sing country music, advice that has led her to where she is today.
In 2008, Elaine took part in “Glór Tíre” on TG4 and ranked highly in the final four. Delighted with her success, she began to sing with the well known singer Gary Gamble and toured extensively throughout Europe with him when she was 22 years of age.
Later she was invited to tour with the “Ladies of Country” which seen the pretty blonde tour with women who had reached the peak of their careers and amassed a huge global following.
“I was delighted to be asked to take part in the “Ladies of Country” tour. Stella Parton [Dolly Parton’s sister] and Billy Joe Spears, the lady who penned the song “The Blanket on the Ground” were on that tour. Billy Joe Spears became my mentor, she used to call me her ‘baby girl.’ I learnt so much from them. I was very sad to hear that Billy Joe Spears had passed away last year. She was very good to me,” she said.
Elaine has always been blessed with loving and loyal support from her family, especially her mother, Claire who has proven to be an exceptional source of strength and support for the young singer. “My mother has always encouraged me and been there for me at all times. The music business can be a lonely place at times and difficult for even the most practiced and experienced singers, but I have been blessed to have my mother, she has always been there,” she said.
In recent years, Elaine began to tour with Dominic Kirwan and his band. The tour was one which seen Elaine spend a long time on the road, with late nights arriving at hotels and living from a suitcase, however, Elaine wouldn’t change it for the world. “I loved touring with Dominic Kirwan, he was an absolute gentleman. He works exceptionally hard and is an amazing performer and he taught me many things about stage presence and other aspects of the industry. I toured with him for two and a half years. He is a great role model for aspiring artists,” she said.
Elaine’s touring came to an abrupt end when her father fell ill and she decided to stay at home and carried on singing supporting charity events close to her heart with her singing.
“I gave up touring due to my father’s illness. Much to all of our delight, he now has a clean bill of health and is in good form. While I was touring with Dominic Kirwan, I recorded my new album “True Colours” and now I feel is the right time to release it. Everyone I care about is in good health and my life has taken a positive turn and everything is going exactly how I want it,” she said.
At such a young age, Elaine has been afforded the opportunity to rub shoulders with all the country greats. Her role models vary from Robert Mizzel, Mike Denver, Billy Joe Spears, local band “Off the Cuff” and Dominic Kirwan. On occasions she has won great accolades from the country music scene the most notable being an award for her song “Texas When I Die.”
Like many artists, Elaine finds herself employed in a job that pays the bills. Working in Voodoo, many customers will meet the Portnoo girl with the sunny personality and exceptional sense of humour as she busily enjoys her work with lighthearted banter and a caring nature.
“I enjoy working in Voodoo, Sharon and Jason Black and Philip Ward have been very supportive over the last number of years. They have really helped me with my career. Every Monday night, I leave the lounge and take up my own spot as their resident artist. Jason is a big believer in pursuing your dreams and he has helped me realise mine. When you have a strong family and group of friends around you, both inside your workplace and outside of it, you don’t mind taking a leap of faith because you realise that if you fall they will be there to lift you up. Everyone who strives to realise their dreams will suffer setbacks, what’s important is how you perceive and deal with these setbacks. You have to see them as character building events and use them to your strength and not wallow in self pity and allow them to become a weakness,” she said.
Her new album is one that is certain to reach critical acclaim here and further afield. The album is named after a song that she sings beautifully on her upcoming album “True Colours” a real departure from her earlier recordings it captivates a softer and deeper side of her personality.
The album also boasts some strong country songs with “Suds in the bucket” certain to get the most hardened country fan toe-tapping. She also delves into some of the great country classics and presents us with a strong vocal presentation of them.
One of the most poignant songs on her album is “The Prettiest Flower There” which she recorded in memory of her Auntie Mary who passed away in recent years. “My auntie Mary, my father’s sister, died in recent years from cancer and we were all deeply saddened at her death. I recorded this song in memory of her, so it is a song that is very special me,” she sadly says.
This November Elaine packs her suitcase once again, this time set for the heart of country music in Nashville with “Off the Cuff” with focus and determination she hopes to record a single there. There is no doubt that with Elaine’s buoyant personality, her healthy and positive outlook on life that she will forge strong friendships along the way and copperfasten a career at a time when Elaine feels that her life is on the right path.