Our Trish caught up with Tipp’s very own Una Healy ahead of her SHINE 2021 talk.
Una is now working from home as a singer-songwriter, radio presenter, and a full-time mother to children Aoife-Belle and Tadhg.
A former member of The Saturdays and a skilled singer-songwriter, the Tipperary native spoke about how she was always surrounded by music in her home during her formative years: “I definitely grew up with music… it was sort of there as soon as I was born, my mum used to have the guitar out playing”, she said.
Una is niece to Irish country legend Declan Nurney, with Una’s mother being a part-time singer and guitarist.
“We were always listening to the radio”, Una noted – especially so her family could hear Declan when his songs popped up on air.
It’s these simple interactions with music as a kid which fostered her love for it, “I had this Madonna tape which I played to death. I had Kylie Minogue.”
Una’s burgeoning passion for music meant that her love for swimming was soon swept aside as she began to focus more on songwriting: “I spent all my youth in the swimming pool as a competitive swimmer; all my time apart from being in school was spent in the pool”, she said. “But I had a passion for writing songs. One of the first songs I learnt to play on the guitar was one I wrote myself.”
“As a teenager, you’re going through so many changes, so many new things are coming into your life – new experiences, new feelings and all that. I had my notepad beside my bed and when I would go to bed I’d write down all my feelings. All throughout my teens I was writing songs and playing them at school.”
I remember seeing Cheryl Crowe, who was huge at the time, I remember being 12-years-old and watching her on tv playing one of her first singles All I Wanna Do and I thought to myself all I wanna do is be like her one day and that’s the route I followed – the singer-songwriter route”, Una said.”
Despite an incredibly successful career with The Saturdays, Una’s transition to a solo artist wasn’t an overnight success.
“If at first, you don’t succeed, then just try and try again”, said Una. “Don’t let it put you off. Always believe in yourself and stay true to yourself. And be authentic – don’t imitate. We’re being bombarded by influences. You are your own unique person and you one day will probably influence someone else if you stay true to yourself. Don’t try and look around you too much to see what everyone else is at. In whatever you’re doing, be influenced by people who’ve done really well and you admire.”
Una reminisced about her own life, being a member of The Saturdays – a five-member girl group who she confesses shared all of their experiences together, “We got to dress up and tour the world, and just hang out with your best friends every day. They pick you up when you’re down. We were always there to listen to each other, having a support network all the time”.
Una went on to talk about going solo after the band, revealing she was going to call her first solo album Full Circle, “It was like I went back to the original position I went into – the singer-songwriter route and along the way I met the Saturdays. It was all part of my journey. And we’ll see where this goes… going back to my roots.”
Una is taking part in this year’s SHINE Festival where she talks about building your own passion. Her new single Swear It All Again is out now.