Rising Star: Silhouette

Shauna Tohill on providing the soundtrack to the ni2012 campaign, performing at the EMAs and the rise of the female solo artist

Who/where/what/when/why is Silhouette?

Silhouette is me, Shauna Tohill, joined by my best friends Connor Burnside, George Muldrew, Eimhear Tohill, Zarah Fleming and John Conway. It's a musical project that I put together, write for and perform with.

Last time we caught up with you, you had only just struck out as a solo artist following the disbandment of your previous outfit, Angelfall (watch video at the end). What's changed in the interim?

Well Silhouette as a band has developed into a more permanent lineup. Some of the band members have been playing with me from the start, and some are very new. It is still a 'solo' project in many ways, but it is becoming more and more like a band. We will see how it continues to develop.

Everybody's talking about your song, 'Can't Keep Up', which soundtracks the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's ni2012 campaign. How did that come about?

It started with an email from Jimmy Devlin (NoDancing Records) who had received an email from Davy Matchett (Third Bar Management) who had received an email from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board who had been relentlessly trying to track the song down! They were determined to have it as the soundtrack. I was so chuffed.


Are you sick to death of hearing/playing it yet?

I really should be, but I'm enjoying it at the moment. It's surreal hearing it on the radio and seeing it on television, so I'm just trying to soak it up. I haven't been in Northern Ireland much lately, so I don't get to see/hear it being played too much.

How would you describe your sound?

I find it hard to pigeonhole my music as I think it covers a variety of different genres, but I think it is alternative pop/rock laced with darkness and hope.

It's been a busy year for you – singing with Snow Patrol during their recent Odyssey gigs, touring with Rams' Pocket Radio, with whom you play bass. What's been the highlight of the past 12 months?

It has been unbelievably busy and I am enjoying every minute, but the highlight of the past 12 months would have to be the European Music Awards, when I was asked to perform 'Set the Fire to the Third Bar' with Snow Patrol [the original recording features Martha Wainwright] at Belfast City Hall.

Before they took the stage I heard 'Can't Keep Up' blasting through the big speakers. On came Snow Patrol and I joined them to 15,000 people screaming. It almost knocked me off my feet. The hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. It was so surreal, and I was so privileged and so blessed to have had that experience. I almost cried I was so overwhelmed.

Female solo artists have been enjoying tremendous success in recent years – there are very few boys in skinny jeans in the charts these days. What do you put that gender shift down to?

I'm not really sure but I think that there are cycles in music. We are currently in a cycle that favours talented female solo artists. But the industry and charts are constantly and rapidly changing.

If you could go see any emerging Northern Irish band this weekend, who would they be?

I would go and see runawayGo. They are a fantastic band and amazingly talented, lovely people. I would also go to see the wonderful female solo artist, Allie Bradley.

'Can't Keep Up' is currently available as a single. Will an album follow?

I'm currently working on album tracks. I will be releasing another single in May and an EP in October/November 2012. The album will be ready to be released next year. I'm aiming for February/March 2013. I'm self-releasing, so I'm not signed to a label just yet.

Where can we see you play next?

There are a few shows coming up. Check out my MySpace site for more details. My next show in Northern Ireland is March 10, Amplified Bar, Newry.

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