Singer songwriter Baba (aka Siobhan Lynch) hails from the leafy suburb of Clontarf. She has been writing songs since she was twelve years of age and has a beautiful soulful tone to her voice. Her grandfather Bobby Lynch was one of the original members of The Dubliners; so music is in her blood.
Having spent many years writing and performing with bands, including a long stint with the Dublin Gospel Choir, Baba has decided to go it alone and has just launched her solo career with the release of her debut single, “Empty Arms.”
I caught up with Baba to find out what makes this lady tick and what drives the love and passion for her music.
“I love all genres of music, I love Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for my sins,” she laughs.
“I suppose i’m attracted to vocalists more than anything, the sound of peoples voices. I like Jeff Buckley, Amy Winehouse. ”
Baba has been creating music from a young age and has a very unique way of writing songs.
“I write in a strange way, because I don’t play an instrument, I write everything a cappella. I always think of melodies in the middle of the night and then I wake up in the morning and record them on my phone,” she explains.
“I think this makes things more interesting because I’m not really restrained by any rules of music,” she adds.
Baba sings her lyrics how she wants to sing them around a melody she has created, and then lets the musicians worry about how they are going to fit the cords around her voice.
“I was in a band for a number of years where I would have written the majority of the lyrics but there would always be a conversation about whether the lyrics were right for the song.”
While she loved being involved with bands, Baba likes the freedom of musical expression that solo work allows her.
“The new stuff I’m doing now is really very personal. Doing solo stuff is all about my creation so I can write about whatever I want.”
She has always written from the heart but her debut solo release “Empty Arms” comes from a deeply personnel and painful experience. It is a heart rending lament with a beautiful soulful dept carried poignantly by Baba’s brilliant voice.
“It is a very personal song because a year and half ago I lost a child. I thought I was OK and I was telling everyone I was fine and I went back to work earlier than I should have,” she explains.
“But for me it took a good few months for the reality of what had happened to really hit because I nearly died as well. So “Empty Arms” is just my way of dealing with what happened.”
“I had actually written the chorus in the hospital, I was in the hospital for three days and I wrote the chorus and I didn’t look back on it for a year. Then one day I sat down and wrote the whole thing. Yeah, it really helped,” she reflects.
Although Baba found it very cathartic to write the song, recording it proved more difficult because it was the first time anyone else would hear it, including her husband Dara.
“I found it very hard to record because I was in the studio with a bunch of lads, all the engineers, and to go in and explain it was difficult.
“Because no one really talks about it, people think miscarriages; they happen all the time so they are kind of glided over a little bit because they happen so often.”
“So to go in and record it was difficult but brilliant at the same time because I could get it off my chest,” says Baba.
The song was recorded in two takes and it is the rawness of the delivery that really stands out. Brian Keogh plays the keys on the track and double base and drums are played by sound engineer Scott Halliday. “Empty Arms” was produced by Gavin Glass.
“I am really lucky to have a brilliant creative team to work with , from brainstorming ideas to video concepts. It’s really encouraging to have people who believe in you and want to help in an industry that’s getting harder to break into. I’d just like to mention Al Doyle, Jenny Fogarty, Amo and Dara McDonagh.”
Baba has other songs in the pipeline but does not intend to release an EP anytime soon as she wants to release them individually.
“Each of the songs I’ve written at the moment could be written for different artists, I don’t think people would get the difference between them all on one EP. That’s why I’m going to release them separately and treat each single as a project,” she explains.
Another track which I got a sneak preview to is the “The Clapping Song.” It is about one night stands and how women are still viewed negatively on this front. It was born out of a conversation Baba had with a guy in a bar.
“He basically said that women that sleep around are whores and anything bad that happens them is their own fault.”
“So The Clapping Song is taking back a bit of the power. It’s not a girl power song but more a social commentary on how women are still expected to act,” she explains.
“My thing about songwriting this time around is that nothing is made up, everything that is written about has happened,” she adds.
Empty Arms has been independently funded by Baba and was premiered on its release by the blog “The Last Mix Tape.” It is being distributed by Spinnup – Part of Universal Records to iTunes, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer.
“The really good thing about Spinnup is they give you 100 per cent of your royalties, where as other distribution companies take a percentage, ” says Baba.
Baba is going to launch “Empty Arms” in Farrier and Draper on South William Street in Dublin’s city centre (date TBC).
“It’s going to be a really intimate gig with a full band and String Quartet, yeah, it’s going to be a really nice night,” says Baba.
Baba works in a clothes shop for now but would love to be able to pursue a full time career in music. She doesn’t believe however there is any set formula for success.
“I think if you restrict yourself with rules its not going to go anywhere, where as with this I just write and see what happens.” she smiles.