Cork teen singer-songwriter Allie Sherlock: I do it for the love of music

Teenage singer- songwriter and busking sensation, Allie Sherlock chats to MARTHA BRENNAN about the challenges of last year and plans for the future
Cork teen singer-songwriter Allie Sherlock: I do it for the love of music

Allie Sherlock turning on the Christmas lights at Bewley’s Café and launching the Bewley’s Christmas Market on Grafton Street. Picture: Marc O'Sullivan

WHILE many teenagers struggled through last year’s series of lockdowns, musician Allie Sherlock was busy using her spare time to set up a makeshift studio in her Douglas home.

There, she taught herself to produce, created and released her own album on Spotify, did a number of virtual gigs, and organised future performances - all while continuing her school work. It wasn’t a bad feat for a 16 year old, even one who shot to fame at the age of 12.

12-year-old Cork girl, Allie Sherlock, who went viral for busking on Grafton Street seen performing outside Brown Thomas, Dublin. Picture: Cathal Burke 
12-year-old Cork girl, Allie Sherlock, who went viral for busking on Grafton Street seen performing outside Brown Thomas, Dublin. Picture: Cathal Burke 

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Allie became a household name back in 2017, after a video posted of her singing an Ed Sheeran song on Grafton Street went viral online. Today, her Supermarket Flowers cover has over 13 million views on Youtube alone. She went on to appear on The Ellen Degeneres Show and now has over 782 million views on her videos and 5 million Youtube subscribers.

“It all happened so fast. It was scary at times. It kind of messes with your mind,” she says. “The numbers were flying up and it was like ‘Wow, 10 million people’. I have another video now with 52 million views and that is a lot people. Like, over 52 million people have seen me sing. It’s insane.”

Going on the Ellen show was a particularly mind-blowing experience. Even four years after appearing, and living through endless questioning sessions about the day, Allie still enjoys talking about it.

Allie Sherlock on the Ellen DeGeneres Show
Allie Sherlock on the Ellen DeGeneres Show

“If I ever meet celebrities or anyone remotely popular I always get starstruck no matter how big they are and being on Ellen was pretty big. And I was 12, so I was nervous. It was so weird but she was so nice, she really was,” she says.

“I was actually already in Los Angeles because I have a production deal there and was doing some songwriting sessions. The team at Ellen had contacted me previously so I emailed them when we were there and asked if they wanted me on then, rather than flying us out at another time, and that was it.”

A LOVE OF BUSKING

Allie is particularly known for busking. She first started to take to the streets of Cork city with her guitar at age 11 and now mostly performs on Grafton Street and in other areas around Dublin. It was nerve-wracking at first but Allie has since met some of her closest friends through the busking community.

“I really missed it during lockdown because i have tonnes of friends up there and we have a blast together. Everybody knows and looks after each other and performs togther. Anything can happen.

“I did a little show on the balcony of Bewleys Café recently and hundreds of people stopped to watch. It was absolutely incredible,” she says.

“I was so nervous going back after lockdown actually and I’m never nervous busking anymore. It was just such an unfamiliar feeling, it had been at least seven months. But I got used to it again and it’s all good now.”

HOME SCHOOLED

While she was waiting to return, Allie created a studio at home and worked on her songwriting, which she started two years ago.

As a child, she was actually bullied in school, so has been home schooled since she finished sixth class.

“In a way, the bullying bothered me, and in a way it didn’t. I don’t know if I blocked it out but my dad always taught me how to deal with it. Thankfully, I wasn’t mentally damaged afterward. I’m doing good,” she says.

“It worked out because I go to Dublin to do gigs and I’m travelling to London soon as well, before the pandemic I was in LA every couple of months, and if I was in school that wouldn’t be possible.”

A TV GIG

Most recently, Virgin Media audiences may have spotted Allie on a new music show that aired in early December, Fanning At Whelan’s, which showcased a wide range of up and coming Irish talent to viewers.

Allie Sherlock.
Allie Sherlock.

After months off stage, Allie was “delighted” to get the chance to take part and travelled up to Dublin to do an interview with RTÉ DJ Dave Fanning and perform at Whelan’s in partnership with Guinness.

“Dave Fanning’s team emailed me, saying that they were doing this new show and that they would love for me to come on, and of course I said yes. I love any chance to perform,” she says.

She still isn’t comfortable with seeing herself on television however.

“It’s always weird watching myself on TV, but my family sits down every time I’m on and make me watch. I don’t want to because it’s so cringey but they’re always like ‘Sit down, get over it’,” she says, laughing.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

Allie is currently in talks with record labels and hopes to do a series of gigs next year. Even as her schedule gets busier, she says that her heart will always be in busking.

“I love busking and right now I don’t want it to stop, but I know as I get further into my career, it might have to. But, hopefully it doesn’t need to end,” she says.

“I never started busking to become famous.

“I didn’t do it for fame or money. It was just for the love of music.”

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