Hailing from East London, contemporary folk newcomer Yvonne McDonnell, releases her new EP ‘Not Her Own’ on Friday 17th June via Reality Is Over.
The EP is a collection of darkly beautiful tunes, drenched with Irishness and delivered through Yvonne’s timeless and intense voice.
Hi Yvonne! How are you today?
I’m well thanks!
Tell us a bit about your latest single ‘I’m Not This Layer of Skin’
The song highlights the shallow portrayal of women in the media and challenges it by saying ‘I’m Not This layer of Skin’ – There is more to me and my fellow females than what we are currently being defined by on a huge scale in current media. It focuses on a poem called The Lady of Shalott by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, which explains all the strange lyircs in the first two versus! It is basically a rant about feeling under constant pressure to look a certain way. Instead of suffering in silence about it I thought I’d try to shed some light on it with the song. The reaction I’ve received has highlighted a general agreement from others.
Do you think its still harder being a female musician within the industry today?
For me personally, no. I think if you believe in yourself and exercise your right to be a musician based on your passion/talent then people will respect that and take you seriously, regardless of your gender. If you allow yourself to be exploited or undervalued then you are working with the wrong people or you don’t believe in yourself enough. If you know your boundaries and your worth I find people usually follow suit or just leave you to it if they genuinely don’t happen to be a fan of your music.
What’s your EP ‘Not Her Own’ all about?
The EP is mainly about empowerment and vulnerability combined. It is an honest account of the struggles we often face in modern life. For me personally, this includes dealing with the constant and unattainable beauty standards that surround us almost everywhere we go. I really think this can have a very destructive effect on our self-esteem and mental health. Also, the EP touches on feeling like the role you want to play in society isn’t necessarily a conventional one and constantly feeling frowned upon for simply being yourself. Although the EP focuses on the struggle, and talks about them openly, it is generally a positive message that comes through – that we need to carry on and stand up to these things, despite sometimes feeling outnumbered.
Describe your sound in three words
Dark, haunting, poetic
If you could collaborate with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be?
Win Butler from my favourite band, Arcade Fire
Where has been your favourite place to perform so far?
I played the Róisín Dubh in Galway this time last year. All my family and friends from Ireland came, some who hadn’t seen each other in years. It was amazing to play in one of my favourite places, to a room full of people who I had such lovely childhood memories with. It was emotional!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Still playing music, still writing, still trying to improve and develop my sound.
And gigs coming up?
I’m launching my ep on 17th June at The Urban Bar in Whitechapel.