5 MINUTES WITH GEMMA DUNLEAVY
Introducing: Gemma Dunleavy. Born and raised in inner-city Dublin in the 90s, Gemma’s work is a tribute to her community and the power of community spirit. A celebration of the Sheriff Street community — an area in Dublin’s northern inner city where Gemma grew up, each song is written from a different perspective of the stereotypes she was raised around. DM’s catches up with the up-and-coming Irish vocalist about her new EP ‘UP DE FLATS’, staying creative during lockdown and what Dr. Martens means to her.
How have you found creating an EP during lockdown?
It’s definitely been challenging, but only because I had planned for this EP to be a collaborative project made in the studio with lots of people. Not being able to travel to my engineer or finish things in the studio threw a spanner in the works but there are some ideas and finishings that could have only come from working isolated - which will feel like a real time capsule for me when I listen back. That makes it feel so special and specific to this time.
What motivated you more to be where you are now: the people who said ‘you can’t do this’ or the people who said ‘you can’?
The people who said ‘you can’. They said it through so much sacrifice that it became a ‘you will’. Those voices are the root of any success I've ever had. I’m not gonna stop remembering them.
What has your creative process been?
The process was really open. The concept was influenced by a documentary I was making to push back against an aggressive redevelopment plan for my community. Most of the ideas were born during the making and planning of that, without realising it would ever exist in a music project. When I started working on the EP everything was about framing the idea. I collaborated with friends in the studio and took old samples or loops I had, reworking them into what the songs became. I used audio from the documentary combined with the Irish harp to make it feel like home.
What does Dr. Martens mean to you?
Dr. Martens reminds me of my childhood. I come from a family of working-class dressmakers as far back as my great granny. My aunties made all of my clothes and I always had a pair of Dr. Martens on with every outfit. Whenever I see a pair of Dr. Martens I’m reminded of my 3 piece outfits — always a dress, coat and hat paired with little Docs. Pure nostalgia.
ON GEMMA’S LIST
Listen to Gemma Dunleavy’s EP 'Up De Flats' now on Spotify.