Dolores O'Riordan - songstress, smouldering icon and critically acclaimed voice of The Cranberries - is back. Her first-ever solo LP Are You Listening? is released on Sequel Records, May 7th and features the stunning new single 'Ordinary Day.' Co-produced by Youth, Dan Broadbeck and engineered by Rich Chycki, the eagerly anticipated album is a 12-track tour de force and marks her first release in four years.Written and recorded between her homes in Canada and Dublin, the album is a striking return to form, punctuated with angular chords and that crystalline voice. Folk-tinged, electric and deftly powerful, it's also a relentlessly melodic success. "My time after The Cranberries was a clean slate - no pressure and no contracts," Dolores enthuses. "It was the first time in my life I was a free agent. I had no inhibitions, which is how I felt when I first started out. That's all visible here."
Two of the tracks - 'Apple' and the forthcoming single 'Ordinary Day' - were produced by BRIT Award winner, Youth, whose previous credits include: The Verve, Embrace, Primal Scream, U2 and Paul McCartney. "He certainly brought his own vision to the table and softened the tracks without affecting their integrity or passion."
Ultimately, the CD was a process inspired by personal experiences, both light and dark. "My mother-in-law died of cancer shortly after I left The Cranberries, which was devastating. It was like watching a beast attack from the inside out, so the song 'Black Widow' is a metaphor inspired by that. At the other end of the spectrum 'Apple' was written about my husband and 'Ordinary Day' reflects the birth of my third baby, Dakota."
Other album highlights include the hypnotic 'In The Garden' with its shimmering guitar-rock crescendo, the delicateness of 'Watch The Stars' and 'Loser', which bristles with loops, layered vocals and an instant, razor-sharp hook. "It was a very organic, natural experience," Dolores adds. "I play guitar and have four fantastic musicians…a great bass player, a stellar drummer and an immaculate guitarist."
"Once the first 7 songs were penned, we went into the studio and had the musicians record first. Then we took it from there. We didn't rush it. In total, the writing and recording was a four-year period."
The album was an awakening for me in my life - a journey that I completed. It's like I crossed a bridge, which is a great new plateau to be on. My life is so different to how it was 10 years ago and there's a great sense of acceptance. It's a very exciting time to be releasing music again too. Song-writing is truly coming back."
Singer/songwriter Jessie Baylin has a silky, melodic tone, reminiscent of Natasha Bedingfield and melting vanilla ice cream. Her voice is filled with a quiet confidence, yet alluring vulnerability.(Ryan Emberley)