Courtesy of Mikey O'Malley
When singer-songwriter Mikey O Malley, who’s originally from Ratoath, Co. Meath, Ireland, first moved to the states in 2017, he relocated to the Seattle area.
Last year, O Malley, a collegiate rugby player, transferred to Notre Dame College and started making the rounds at local mic nights around town. He released his debut album and hit the road in support of it, opening for indie rocker Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers last year at Central Washington University's Wild Fest.
“There was an open audition at the university, and I went with my ukulele, and they liked my songs,” says O Malley via phone when asked about the Wild Fest gig. He's just released his latest single, “Wildflower,” a perky tune that features ukulele and heartfelt vocals. “They announced Hobo was the headliner, and I was a fan of his. It just went really well for me, and it was such a good experience. I got a lot of gigs before and after that.”
Last year, O Malley put out a seven-track EP that he refers to as “a nice first step.”
“A year on, I see things I would have done differently with that release,” he says. “But I just wanted to share some of my music. With this song coming out now, you can see some progression. I want to tell my own story. The first album was about how I was like a lost Irish lamb, and the new songs are about how I met an American girl.”
Influenced by artists like Ed Sheeran, Dermot Kennedy, Passenger and Lewis Capaldi, O Malley describes his music as Irish-Hawaiian folk with “original, personal, and poetic lyrics." His main instruments are the ukulele, guitar and piano, and he self-accompanies with percussion.
O Malley, who records at his “bare bones of a home studio,” watched YouTube videos to teach himself how to make his own recordings.
“It’s a different world for musicians; now, you have to know how to do everything,” he says, adding that he aims to release two more singles before the year’s over and hopes to again hit Northeast Ohio’s open mic circuit once the pandemic ends.
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