Roe might have her ‘Down Days’, but the Derry youngster’s future trajectory is nothing but upwards.
Last year was kind to Derry teenager Roe. Then again, this self-confessed ‘grumpster’ put in more miles than a travel writer, playing gigs across the length and breadth of Ireland, and making appearances at more festivals than should be physically possible.
If her incessant rotation of the live circuit wasn’t enough to keep Roe on music fans’ minds, constant airplay across UK&I airwaves, and a song – Wasted.Patient.Thinking – tracking 120k+ streams on Spotify alone, certainly was.
A regular on Tom Robinson’s Fresh on the Net FreshFaves (Tom has also played her on his BBC 6 Music show), Roe has also picked up some heavyweight fans in the form of 2FM’s Dan Hegarty, and Radio Ulster’s Rigsy and Stu, for whose Across the Line show she played a ‘live sesh’.
A pedlar of electro-alt-pop fusion, the past year has seen the flame-haired wunderkind bolster an already compelling live set with the addition of keys. Newcomers to Roe’s sound might be surprised to learn that in addition to writing all her own material, the teenager also plays all her own instruments both in studio and on stage.
The name behind such elbow-sharp thought-provokers as ‘Hey Thomas’ and ‘Playground Fights’, has made such an indelible mark on the Irish music scene that she was picked by fellow Northerners Snow Patrol to support them on their recent UK&I Arena Tour which wrapped up at London’s SSE Arena, Wembley, no less.
No stranger to airing her feelings on topics such as bullying and broken relations – being frank is her stock in trade – Roe’s latest single dwells on her “own state of mind”, and her struggles with the omnipresent pressures of the outside world.
The spartan opening is compelling. A pensive finger, repeatedly strikes a single piano note, acting as the metronomic heartbeat of this candid monologue in which Roe offers up her personal experience of being “surrounded by negativity and social pressure”.
“I’m a bit disturbed at times, lost in may own state of mind”
This spacious intro is an uncluttered safe space into which Roe can release her narrative, before an increasingly energised build makes for the perfect emotional dump. The maelstrom of synth and guitar is particularly effective!
Roe’s vocal delivery is assured and honest, her distinctive voice syncing with the rise and fall of a glistening electro-pop rondo. Pure pop magic, and 100% radio earworm, ‘Down Days’ could be Roe’s “finest hour” yet.
“Heavy under all the strain of my excuses, weighed down by the thought of trying to move forward, holding on to try and keep from being swallowed up”
“I know that I don’t always find the way”
At the end of 2018, Roe won the Northern Ireland Music Prize ‘Oh Yeah Contender Award’ for Best Emerging Act. Just how many nominations she’ll clock up before the end of 2019 is anyone’s guess!