Sinéad White is humble, maybe even lacking self confidence(this despite us naming earmarking her for big things in our Plec Picks series at the start of the year). When she performs, she often will fidget slightly in her seat, smack her lips, flick back her fringe before quietly introducing her song with a bowed head and a nervous smile. On her Youtube channel, the descriptions in her videos are unduly self-effacing, with one even tagged “here’s hoping it’s not terrible” (Spoiler Alert: it was, of course, the farthest thing from terrible).
Attempting to resolve this bashful demeanour with the vocal powerhouse, one-woman-show we see on White’s debut album ‘Finally’ is dizzying; it’s like watching someone open a cat carrier only for a Bengal Tiger to come strutting out. It needs to be made clear – both to White and to the wider world – that she is a singer songwriter with enviable levels of talent, as evinced by her freshman offering.
The album boasts an impressive literary flair. White manages to navigate the meaty and complex subject of love – lost, had and unrequited – poetically and without having to rely on clichés or tired tropes. The album revolves almost exclusively around this topic, meaning it runs the risk of coming off as thematically repetitive, but White’s songwriting skill and talent circumvent this.
There’s something deeply interesting about the track Sometimes, lyrically that is; despite the piano arpeggio medley, which borders on treacly, the lyrics (particularly “Before the morning steals away the night”) are simple, honest and elegant. The same goes for Closing Doors, in which she sings “There’s no happiness in collecting grief”, so striking in it’s plain profundity, and the addicting quality of the hook “We’re building walls and closing doors” will no doubt stick thoroughly in the minds of listeners.
Her quirky brand of musicality is both deeply impressive and eminently endearing. She utilises a variety of instruments and, it is rumoured, recorded the bulk of the album in her bedroom, which is in itself a feat. She is willing to take risks, and they pay off – Mouth Trumpet features, as the title states, a moment at which White presses her lips together, puffs her cheeks, and impersonates a trumpet. Impersonates it well, which is worth adding, and it’s unique flourishes such as these that make White a stand-out artist.
Rollercoaster Man also features some noteworthy jazzy vocals riffs which succeed brilliantly despite especially considering they are something that artists seldom attempt anymore. All throughout the album, White doesn’t hesitate to show the versatility of her voice, switching from delicate vibrato to passionate yet controlled belting with the deft assurance of a pro. It has to be said; this girl has some serious pipes.
Sinéad has been gigging for some time around the country, most recently having taken the stage at the Oxjam Tent at Electric Picnic. Her career is, it seems, taking the traditional route of the singer cutting her teeth and solidifying her own personal brand slowly yet surely. It’s common knowledge that the road to success is often slow and meandering, however, it is baffling that a mammoth talent such as White is still bubbling quietly in the background. This artist needs only two things in this author’s opinion; more confidence, and most importantly, more well-deserved attention.