GRACE Mc Mahon is a singer with Cork- based The Art Crimes Band and their latest single, Guy Like You, was written when she was trying to negotiate her way through the tricky world of online dating, and dreaming of finding her ideal partner.
Founded in 2011, the Art Crimes Band launched their debut album of original material Radio at the Guinness Jazz festival in 2015, and since then have made numerous appearances at the iconic Cork festival, as well as performing at The Soul In The City festival. They also collaborated with Colm Hayes on his debut single Mosaic in April, 2021.
While the band is a central part of Grace’s life, for many years finding an ideal partner to share the fun with was a quest which she never gave up on.
A graduate of music from UCC, and a huge jazz fan, which is evident in her sultry vocals, Grace cites Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald among her favourite artists. She loves a song with soul and one where you can feel the emotions cascading through the vocal interpretation.
For many years, Grace sought her perfect match through the world of online dating apps, which for many people are as much a part of life as online grocery shopping.
Browsing through pictures of potential partners in the privacy of home has yielded great results for so many who managed to swipe in the right direction and find a long term relationship, but this was not the case for Grace.
“Like so many others, I had been on and off dating apps for a number of years, but not having great success, even though I went on several dates - nobody that I met online was the right guy for me.
“Having said that, I think that the apps can be great, and lots of people do find their partner through them, so it’s important never to give up hope.
“When I was online dating, I carried all these expectations of the kind of person that might suit me. I think a lot of women, and probably men too, carry lists of characteristics in their mind of what their ideal partner should be like, and they are often not willing to compromise.
“I now feel that people should reconsider what the most important things are, like authenticity and honesty for example - so much more important than if they are just snazzy dressers.
“In my own case, I was probably too focused on material things, for example I wanted a guy with his own car. That’s because I had been in previous relationships where I ended up feeling like the chauffeur and being the only driver in the relationship made me feel that it was unequal.
“Afterwards, when chatting to some of the lads in my band, I reconsidered this notion when I realised that there are lots of lovely guys, including some of my bandmates, who cycle everywhere and therefore ‘my list’ was preventing me from meeting some really nice men, and I had to be more flexible in my approach.
INSPIRED TO WRITE A SONG
“On evening, over a few glasses of wine at home, I was swiping on a dating site as usual, and suddenly the lyrics to a song just popped into my head,” said Grace.
“I often get lyrics and snatches of melody hitting me out of the blue, so I did what I usually do and just sang it into the recorder on my phone.”
That was the basis for their latest song Guy Like You.
Grace poured all her yearning and emotions into the song, and when she saw what she had written, she knew that the song itself was giving her the clues as to what she was really looking for in a man.
“Tasteful, Playful, Genuine, Faithful,” she wrote.
NAVIGATING DATING DURING COVID-19
During the pandemic, dating apps proved to be an invaluable resource for love-seekers when all other options of random romantic encounters at clubs, pubs and gigs were off the menu.
Now that restrictions are lifted, there will be be more opportunities for face to face encounters rather than just relying on FaceTime for couples to get to know each other and forge romantic bonds.
Grace is still thanking her lucky stars for the roll of the dice which found her away from her phone and in the right place at the right time, and feels so lucky that it happened just before the pandemic made dating such a challenge.
That fateful night in 2018, when Cupid’s arrows were poised and ready to launch in Crane Lane in Cork, their flight path took them straight in the direction of Grace’s heart.
“We had just played a gig in Crane Lane, and afterwards we were having a bit of a laugh and an after show drink, when this guy said hello and started chatting with me,” explained Grace.
“He wasn’t actually at the gig so he didn’t realise that I had just been up on stage singing, and I didn’t tell him either, but we just started chatting away and got along really well.
“We exchanged numbers and started dating, and it turns out that he is the most down to earth, authentic and kindest person in the world.
“When lockdown happened, I had gone up to my parents’ home in Ballyporeen in Tipperary. My poor dad had been very ill with Covid but thankfully he recovered.
“We continued dating and because of the pandemic restrictions we spent a lot of time outdoors, going for nice long walks and getting to know each other.
“Then he totally surprised me with a proposal! He had even done the old fashioned thing by asking my dad for my hand in marriage. My dad was very amused at this, and said ‘She’s a grown woman now, so it’s her decision’,” laughs Grace.
THEIR WEDDING DAY
“We got married in 2021 and it was brilliant that dad was able to walk me up the aisle after all the worry of his illness earlier in the year - so 2021 turned out to be amazing, and I feel very lucky indeed,” said Grace.
During the 2021 Cork Jazz festival, when debuting Guy Like You live, Grace told the crowd - “ I used to obsess over all the millions of things a guy had to be, then when I stopped obsessing about it, I found him... and married him.”
The Art Crimes Band – Guy Like You was released on February 4, see https://artcrimesband.bandcamp.com/