Sarah McTernan’s latest single written in memory of her late grandmother has given her the inspiration to drive forward in her music career.
Close My Eyes was released on Friday last and is dedicated to Sarah’s grandmother, Margaret McTiernan, a native of Ballina but also a proud Scariff woman who died in June of last year.
After Margaret’s death, Sarah found herself at a crossroads. “I was a musician in the middle of a pandemic who hadn’t gigged since March, my whole world had flipped upside down and then my grandmother passed away so it made things so much harder”.
She explained the background to the single, “I closed my eyes and prayed to my grandmother, I remembered a conversation I had with my grandmother’s sister at the funeral and she said ‘the last time I was speaking to your grandmother she said you were writing music and she was so proud of you’, that sentence kept repeating in my head and all of a sudden I had this lightbulb moment that I needed to focus all my energies in writing music. I really wanted to write a song as a tribute to my grandmother about the loss and grief, it was written a couple of weeks after that. The song goes through the thoughts you have after you lose somebody”.
Writing and releasing the song has helped the Ennis resident grieve Margaret’s loss. “The night before I released it I just couldn’t stop crying, the release of writing the song was hard and hearing it back and getting it right was hard, I couldn’t help but think what she would have thought if she heard the song, I know she would have loved it but it was really hard, even releasing it was part of the grieving process, I feel really emotional thinking about it”.
Highpoints of the Scariff singer’s career to date include representing Ireland in the Eurovision and also finishing third on the fourth series of The Voice of Ireland where Rachel Stevens of S Club 7 was her mentor.
Her career to date has been influenced by her upbringing in East Clare, Sarah admitted. “I was very lucky to be in Scariff Community College and for Johnny O’Brien to be my music teacher when I was there, he was really passionate about music which helped and was very supportive. He used to arrange talent shows every year, I used to enter them and one year I won with my friend, it gave me the experience to perform, when I began performing properly I still had a long way to go but it still gave me a taste for and made me want to do it more. Everybody from home is so unbelievably supportive, having that grounding has helped definitely”.
In February, she collaborated with HalfTraxx to release Loving You which peaked at number 14 on the Irish charts. Sarah is working towards releasing an EP by the end of the year but hopes to have two more singles out before then.
Having this focus during the pandemic has been very important, the mother of one told The Clare Echo. “Being a musician during the pandemic has been really difficult, I felt a bit lost but I’ve a lot to thank for it because it has really given me time to focus on my music and gather myself as an original recording artist releasing music, already I’ve two singles out and the response has been absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more and I’ve lots more on the way, if I didn’t have the time to record or write I don’t know where I would be right now”.
Looking towards the future, Sarah is hopeful to have songs appearing in the UK charts and to be back performing gigs to large crowds. “You need to have goals to focus yourself and work towards, I have big plans for the rest of 2021 and into 2022, I’m working really hard to get to them”.