Singer Lyra's big break came with a song she wrote for her nan before she died
"I don't know would I have sat down and written Emerald if I didn't want to write it for her"
SHE'S Ireland's hottest new pop star, and Lyra reveals how she believes her late grandmother has a hand in her career.
The powerhouse singer from Bandon, Co Cork, got her big break with a song called Emerald that she wrote for her beloved nan before she died.
"I don't know would I have sat down and written Emerald if I didn't want to write it for her to show her that I write songs," Lyra tells the Sunday World.
"My main reason behind writing that song was to play it to her before she passed away because she was always so worried about me being in the music business. She never thought it was a proper job or a proper career to go into. She always thought I'd be broke.
"Writing that song made me realise that I can write songs. And once I found out that I could write my own songs I decided, 'OK, now I can take it seriously because I can do more than just sing. If there comes a time where I can't be an artist I now have the option of being a songwriter. There's a confidence that comes with that, so I owe that to her.
"And that song changed my life because after I put it up on SoundCloud the big record companies in London came calling. I was on my own with no big manager, but suddenly I found myself sitting down with the heads of Sony, Warner and Polydor. That doesn't happen unless you have a massive team behind you, but it happened for me because of that song."
Lyra, whose real name is Laura McNamara, walked away from a deal at the time because her grandmother was then seriously ill.
"I was getting offered a deal there and then. In the end I didn't take it and I came home and looked after my nan because she was very ill. I knew it would be the last time I'd get to spend with her, so I took that time out and forgot about music and just thought about her."
It would be 18 months before Lyra returned to the music scene "when Nan passed and I finally got over it," she says, adding: "I had done what I needed to do for my family and if I hadn't done it I would have regretted it all my life. I came back a more rounded person and I knew what I wanted to do as an artist."
Lyra, who has just released a cover of the Stevie Nicks classic, Edge of Seventeen, with Irish DJ and producer John Gibbons, says she gets signs that her grandmother is still with her.
She says: "I know this sounds weird and people are going to be saying 'She's an absolute crazy girl,' but things happen whenever I sing my song Emerald, and I believe it's my nan. I remember when I played the Kaleidoscope Festival it was raining. But when I started playing Emerald it stopped and the sun came out. I was choking up on stage."
Although the pandemic stalled her career, Lyra is a shooting star again since the world of entertainment opened up. Her festival and outdoor performances this summer include support to Duran Duran at London's Hyde Park in July.
"That's going to be some gig, it's going to have to be some outfit," she laughs.
When it comes to stage clothes, Lyra can give Lady Gaga a run for her money. "It's fun, I love it to death. When I do get my own place I'm going to have to have a room for my outfits. The amount of thigh high boots I have is ridiculous.
"I love being able to show my personality through fashion on stage where I can wear latex boots and catsuits and massive dresses. It just brings another element to my performance."
In the past Lyra has been described as Beyonce with a Cork accent.'
She laughs: "That is so gas. That has stuck with me and I literally don't mind. But it's the Cork accent without the arse. I'd better start squatting."
She says the biggest thrill she gets from her success is seeing the pride and joy it gives her parents.
"My mam is loving it," Lyra reveals. "She was in a garage getting petrol when one of my songs came on the radio and she was telling people, 'That's my daughter.' She is just so excited and it's so nice.
"My dad loves being involved as well. He used to drive me to shows and I'll still have him on the road with me whenever I can. It's so nice that they get that enjoyment from my career and it makes me so happy."
Lyra will play Kaleidoscope Music and Arts Festival. The camping festival for families is at Russborough House from June 24-26.
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