An accomplished singer/songwriter with Donegal roots is dreaming of the chance to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Isabella Kearney, whose mum Barbara Kearney is from Greencastle, is one of six hopefuls competing in Eurosong tonight on The Late Late Show.
The 31-year-old grew up between Australia and Northern Ireland and is now based in Music City, Nashville as a professional songwriter.
Isabella’s entry ‘Let Me Be The Fire’ is a catchy dance track with an important message of support and resilience.
Speaking to Donegal Daily, Isabella said her mum inspired her to apply to represent Ireland.
“It was to make my mum proud, I know that sounds cheesy, but she wanted me to do things to celebrate my Irish roots and show the world Ireland,” Isabella said.
Isabella also entered the Rose of Tralee Sydney selection in 2017 in honour of her heritage.
Barbara grew up in Inishowen in a family of nine. With one brother and six sisters, the girls were well-known locally as the Kearney sisters.
Despite moving to Oz in the 80s, Isabella said her mum never lost the accent!
“Donegal is her heart,” she said, “she talks about it all the time, when we were growing up any chance she could get to go to Donegal, we would be driving there.”
Isabella and her mum spent five years living in Bangor in Co. Down, where her grandmother Frankie Kearney, née Doyle, lived. It was there that Isabella found her passion for performing. She and her cousins would do party pieces for the family and Isabella’s best acts included ‘I’m a Little Teapot’.
She started singing lessons as a child and has certainly come a long way since then. First signing to Sony/ATV Music Publishing in 2018, Isabella went on to work with critically acclaimed artists and writers.
Isabella’s songwriting successes have included the single ‘Jealous’ on Jessica Mauboy’s album Hilda and the single ‘Only Thing Missing’ written with The Orphanage on Guy Sebastian’s album T.R.U.T.H.
Isabella also co-wrote the single ‘Conditions’ which was chosen as a finalist on the show Songland and Matt Gresham’s single ‘Who Am I Now’ which was performed on The Voice Australia in 2020 and reached number one on iTunes Australia chart.
Representing Ireland in the Eurovision would be a dream come true for Isabella, she said, having watched the show every year as a child.
“As soon as I had ‘Let Me Be The Fire’, I felt like it could do really well,” she said. “It’s an earworm song that gets stuck in your head. It has a serious topic behind it, I wrote it about suffering from anxiety and depression and not feeling you can reach out, and having someone who will hold you through this.
“I feel that related to Ireland, people are very private and tend to shut people out when they are going through things. I feel this is the modern generation saying we can help you, we’ve got you.”
Listen to a clip here:
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Ireland’s chances of victory at Eurovision 2024 will take centre stage this Friday night in a very special Late Late Show Eurosong, where six hopefuls will battle it out to represent Ireland in Malmö, Sweden in May of this year at the 68th Eurovision Song Contest. Donegal’s Aisling Jarvis will also be performing tonight as part of Ailsha’s entry – ‘Go Tobann’.
Viewers at home will have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favourite song to go forward and be performed in front of an audience of over 160 million people worldwide.
The Late Late Eurosong Special airs on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player, Friday, January 26th at 9:35 pm