“Talent shows? They are gladiatorial and cruel”


Downton Abbey, The Titanic series, The Tudors and the criminally good Dexter...Maria Doyle Kennedy has starred in them all.

The Irish lass has proven her acting pedigree time and again, and now she is out to do the same for her music.

Because she’s a singer too, you see – and a cracking one at that.

In fact, known as she is for her body of acting, music is her first love.

Her debut UK release Sing is out now, but it’s actually her fifth solo album.

Co-written with her husband Kieran, Sing ‘marries folk forms with torch-song melodies and draws on flamenco rhythms, avant-rock, Celtic, Mediterranean and Appalachian airs.’

But who excites her musically, and who would she like to share washing powder with?

She spilled the beans for us in Cue and Play...

What was the first record you bought?

We got our first stereo when I was 14, and I was allowed to buy two albums as well.

I got Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark and Street Legal by Bob Dylan.

That album was stolen from a party two days later and for some reason, I never replaced it.

The Joni album is burnt into the hardwire of my brain

An album you can’t live without

Low – The Great Destroyer. It is an almost flawless album.

Mimi Parker has one of the most beautiful voices in the world and everything about this (sometimes dark but never repressive) album seems to empathise with how I feel

Most embarrassing record in your collection

Threw it out a long time ago, life’s too short for s*** music (and no, I’m not telling!)

Your favourite cheesy disc

I loved the original Sugababes...my friends were horrified

An album you wish you’d bought, but didn’t

I wish I’d been smart enough to understand My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless when it was released...I just didn’t...it sounded discordent to me.

A few years later I heard it again and somehow the door was open in my brain and I was possessed by the beautiful melody of it.

I still listen to it a lot.

What about your favourite artist of all time?

Patti Smith. She was a beacon to me when I discovered her. A woman completely in control of her own artistic statement

If we could grant you a wish to meet one musician or band, who would it be and why?

I’ve aways thought an afternoon with Tom Waits would be interesting. We could hang out and do laundry together. We could share washing powder brands or something

Name a song that never fails to pick ypu up

I’m sort of addicted to Midlake’s Roscoe

And one that chills you out

Low-Silver Rider

What was the first gig you attended

The Blades in The Mississippi Rooms

Tell us about your favourite record shop or online store

Tower Records in Dublin has managed to survive because it has friendly, knowledgeable staff who love music

You can step into the shoes of your musical idol for 24 hours.

Who do you choose, what do you do?

I think I’d wander around NY taking photographs with Patti Smith’s eyes

Is there a new or undiscovered artist you think we need to hear?

Laura Sheeran...she releases under her own name and also as part of the Nanunanu band. Inventive music and evocative visuals

You can banish one artist to the bargain bin. Who do you choose?

Can I banish those reality television singing competitions in their entirety?

They are gladiatorial and cruel and have inspired a generation of performers to only think about ‘IMMEDIATE IMPACT’ singing.

Spare me...”