I’m feeling very balanced at the moment,” muses Lisa Lambe.
The singer and actor is talking about her dual career on stage and as a recording artist. Currently performing in Jimmy’s Hall in the Abbey Theatre, she is happy to have a role that combines her two passions.
“Both of them really feed my creative side and I really need both. If I do one for too long I need the other. Music is hugely important to me,” she says.
“As an actor, my voice is always influenced by my surroundings. If you serve the song and not yourself, people will understand you and where you’re coming from.”
There is no shortage of variety in Lisa’s life. She runs through her day: in the morning she was recording clips for a new Ross O’Carroll play that’s coming to the Gaeity in the autumn – reprising her role as Sorcha from Breaking Dad – followed by a radio interview with Ray D’Arcy and then a performance of Jimmy’s Hall in the evening.
Lisa is also busy preparing for the Clifden Arts Festival, where she will debut a project she worked with Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Martin Brunsden on, while serving as artist-in-residence at Kilruddery House in Co Wicklow. After releasing her first solo album, Hiding Away, in 2014, she is excited to unveil the new work.
Describing her music as “folk with a slight Americana feel”, Lisa says this project marks a shift in her sound.
“It’s a big new chapter in my own musical life. I spent a year there, on and off, writing a new album. The chance (to appear at) Clifden for us is very special, because we get to perform these new sounds,” she says.
“I see my music as moments in time. My first album was made in Nashville and it has the sound of the country because of where it was made. This album has evolved from that. It’s still me, but because I’ve written the whole project myself it’s a really personal thing and I’m really excited.
“Kilruddery is a beautiful place, it has a magic. To spend time there and really envelope myself in the surroundings really influenced this new project. Every day I would spend days in the beautiful rooms and outside in the forest. The owners are lovely people and they love the arts, and are very supportive. It was a very special period. If we made it somewhere else it would be a very different piece.”
Lisa was a part of Celtic Woman up until 2014, touring across the world with the group, before deciding to go solo and going on to record her first album in Nashville.
“Celtic Woman was the chance for me to tour the world and to work solely on my music and my voice. It brought me to Nashville, where I made my first solo album, which was a very important time for me.
“I toured all over America and I always felt very at home there. I also have a couple of friends there who were part of the domino effect of me deciding to record. It really started to feel like home. The music scene out there is incredible. It was a great privilege to spend time out there and absorb yourself in this incredibly iconic place, swimming with music and so many fantastic people.”
Lisa is the youngest of 10 children, she is from a GAA-mad family in Dublin. Singing at Croke Park last year was a career highlight for her.
“Last year I did a wonderful thing, which was singing on the pitch of Croke Park for the GAA’s 1916 celebrations. My brothers are really fanatical about GAA and their kids play. For me, to walk onto the pitch on hallowed, sacred grounds, singing Foggy Dew...it was an amazing spectacle. My family are really important in my life. We’re very close and they’re very supportive of what I do. The great thing about what I do is it connects people and brings them together. It’s a social outing for everyone to connect.”
Performing since a young age, the Bille Barry alumnus has always been confident in her own abilities.
“With Celtic Woman, before and after, I knew who I was, so that’s why I wanted to go back to doing something in a solo capacity,” she adds.
“(Performing) was something that felt very natural. When I was in secondary school I realised it was something it wanted to do. I feel lucky to get to do something I love so much.”
The Clifden Arts Festival is Ireland’s longest-running art’s festival and takes place from 13 until 24 September. There are over 200 events taking place throughout the 12-day festival. Lisa Lambe performs on 21 September at the Church of Ireland, Churchill, at 8pm. Admission is €15. Visit www.clifdenartsfestival.ie CL