Gay Irish artist Conleth Kane opens up about his journey as he releases stunning new music video 'Proud'

The powerful song features as part of Conleth's gorgeous new EP 'Liberty' due out August 8.

A bald man is layered in multiple images against a colourful background

Irish LGBT+ artist, Conleth Kane, has just released his stunning new music video, ‘Proud’ in advance of his debut studio EP Liberty coming out on August 8. Conleth Kane let us in on the struggles of releasing music during lockdown, how he created his EP and all the behind the scenes fun of his new video.

How has lockdown been? 

I found lockdown incredibly hard – however, I was really grateful for the EP release in August as it gave me a real focus and an overall sense of purpose. To have something creative to work on during lockdown was fulfilling. I had things like the finalising of artwork, music video editing and mastering of tracks to get on with.

The beginning of lockdown hit me like a ton of bricks because I had a series of days where I received numerous emails/calls from organisers/producers of high profile gigs which I had been booked for that were getting cancelled. Not only was this really worrying from a financial point of view as an independent artist, but I was counting on events like these to promote the record that I had worked so very hard on. It was devastating. Then to have my friends and social life cut off and be confined to an apartment in London as a single gay man, it was tough.

I wish I could be a little more positive about it all but I want to be honest and admit that I found it massively challenging.

Tell us about your songwriting process and the significance of this album.

I’m so proud of the record as a whole and I definitely feel it will resonate with an LGBTQ+ audience. I wrote every song on the album. There are no real love songs, which I feel is a refreshing take. The record opens with an empowering, uplifting ballad called ‘Flourish’ that I co-wrote with one of my best friends – Ava Lily. I wanted the EP to open with a real positive, inspiring message. It’s followed by two pop bangers called ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Circles’.

‘Proud’ of course is the big one. This song has been on the most incredibly journey and I receive messages about it all the time. People say they listen to it when they’re down, some even say it’s their favourite song of all time which I find mind-blowing. It’s incredible. To think that I wrote it in 15 minutes and for it to have effectively turned my songwriting career around is mad. I sang it last year at a solo gig during Belfast Pride and the entire room joined in singing with me – it’s up there with my top five life moments.

The record ends with a song about my family. It’s called ‘Emerald Isle’. My siblings live all across the world but Mum and Dad still reside in Ireland. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a song and I really dug deep into my Irish roots to make it a real tribute to the musical sound of my home country.

Where does the inspiration come from for the video?

I saw Margo Marshall (a London drag queen) perform in London in 2018 and I was so blown away by her stage presence and ability that I turned to my friend Dane and said, “If I ever make a music video for ‘Proud’ I have to use her.” I introduced myself and proper fan-girled over her.

Margo is a ‘Sink the Pink’ dancer and had just come off tour with Spice Girl Melanie C so her profile was rising and I was still hoping I could use her in some way during the video. Thom (the man behind Margo) told me his backstory of struggling as a dancer in the dance industry because he was always accused of being ‘too feminine’ or ‘not masculine enough’ and this had a negative impact on the progression of his career in dance and left him feeling like an outsider.

We filmed Margo’s scenes three weeks before the UK went into lockdown and the project was put on pause until two weeks ago when  got to film my own bits in the heart of Soho. The end product is incredibly emotional and excuse the pun, but I’m extremely proud of it.

You are supporting Brian Kennedy at the end of August! Are you looking forward to that?

I’m really excited and honoured to be supporting Brain at his Northern Irish dates in August. I performed on a BBC TV show back in 2002 alongside Brian and I always remember him being incredibly charming. He’s had a fantastic career. I have huge respect for him. It’ll be my first time performing live since January. This is the longest that I haven’t performed in and part of me is nervous. It’s a good nervous though. The time has come to be infront of an audience once again. Also, people need live music back in their lives!

‘Liberty’, the new EP by Conleth Kane, is released on August 8. Follow Conleth Kane here for more information.

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