Stephanie Rainey, who is gearing up to play her first headline show in Cork Opera House, has never held back from being honest in her interviews or songwriting.
This emotional directness has led to her creating a dedicated following, with views on her YouTube channel totalling more than one million, and well over five million listeners on Spotify.
Ahead of her biggest-ever gig, she is brimming with enthusiasm.
“I literally can’t wait. Being from Cork, this feels like a landmark moment for me. I went to my first ever gig there when I was a kid. It was Jimmy McCarthy and I got to meet him afterwards backstage.
“Those little moments make up the reason why I wanted to be a musician. I’ve played there before as a support act or at a showcase, but it’s very different when it’s your own gig and your own fans.
“I’m expecting it to be a really special night; we have some lovely moments planned out. We’ve gone all-out for this one, adding singers and players and it’s sounding huge.”
The momentum building in Stephanie’s career is no accident, as she works very hard on every facet of it. She explains how it’s not just strumming the guitar on a stage for an hour: “There’s so much involved in the whole process. The writing, recording, live shows, and the preparation and travel that goes with it, and then the social media aspect of things. It’s one of those jobs where you’re never really off.
“And when on a ‘lull’ you’re actually busy creating the next thing, which people won’t hear for months. So it’s a total lifestyle, full of highs and lows, and you have to work at keeping yourself healthy and ok with that.”
She has noticed many changes in how the music industry operates since her career began.
“There’s a lot more involved that didn’t exist back in the day. We’re in a world where you have to constantly create new content, which can be stressful, but at the same time you get to connect with people on a level that didn’t exist before either, and the opportunity to make fans across the world is right there in your hand.
“Sometimes the magic you imagined when you were dreaming of being a musician gets a little lost in the process, but then you have moments — like I imagine the Opera House Show will be — that remind you of why you do it.”
Another major change she notes is how music is delivered to audiences.
“Albums are almost a thing of the past, so it’s all singles now that you release. That puts a lot of pressure on the writing. Everything has to be radio-worthy or else there’s no point.
“That’s the killer, because you miss out on the golden album tracks that often become people’s favourites.
“So going forward we have plans to release a lot more music like this along with the singles. The old-school way.”
She and her band have new music they will be debuting on the night that she can’t wait to unleash. “I think as an artist you’re growing all the time and I feel like we’ve hit on THE sound now. So I’m very, very, VERY excited about the new music we have waiting. We’ve hit on something in the past few months that feels like we’ve finally arrived. That process has taken a long time and it’s a culmination of all the music we’ve created so far.
“I’m so excited for people to hear what’s coming. The music, the videos, everything.”
n Stephanie Rainey plays Cork Opera House Friday, May 3. Tickets at www.corkoperahouse.ie.