County Kildare & Irish musician hally always knew one thing: that he would either become an artist or a madman. And by his twenties, he could lay claim to being both; the Irish musician spent his 21st birthday in a psychiatric asylum writing songs and learning to play the facility’s out of tune piano.
Born in 1973 into one of Ireland’s Mother & Baby homes, hally was fortunate enough in time to grow up with a nurturing and loving family. Tragedy was to strike: the deaths of his father and brother sent the young musician into a tailspin. “I also had some sickening encounters with members of the Catholic Church and after a successful self-imposed ex-communication from the latter I shuffled forwards through life, disconcerted and lost as I tried to make sense of my experiences,” he says.
This is where music stepped in. hally had taught himself everything he knew about music with passion and dedication from a young age, he has always struggled to understand the art form to which he has committed himself. His singing voice was slow to evolve but by his twenties he knew that in time he would have something to say.
His debut album, “The Fascination with Poppy”, released in 1998, was recorded on a minuscule budget and it garnered generous reviews. The album afforded hally the chance to tour around Ireland, the festival circuit in the UK, the New York Club Scene and Paris. Three more independently released albums followed.
hally hit another roadblock: “With a life full of excesses and a propensity for emotional escapism, I became very ill and addicted and I could no longer compose, perform or even remember the words to my songs,” he recalls. I found refuge inside the walls of my recording studio which I started to build 10 years ago. This hiatus afforded me the time and space to recover and heal and to ponder the idea of one day re-inventing myself.”
Becoming a producer for other artists, he married and started a family, and inspiration returned with an explosive energy leaving hally with a deep well of musical & visual ideas. In a bid to channel his newfound creativity, he undertook a project that he called “Peeling Onions”, an endeavor which sees him create 52 songs (and accompanying music/ art videos) within the year. The music and images blend contemporary songwriting, jazz undertones, stringed ensembles, electronic sprinklings and verbal ramblings. Each song and music video is released weekly via Facebook, YouTube and Bandcamp.
Says Hally: “Peeling Onions is a wildly eclectic collection, in many respects deeply autobiographical, uncovering not only the story of a person’s defining years of struggle, discovery, and transformation, but of a lifetime.”