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Imelda May Revered Irish Singer-Songwriter
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Imelda May

Revered Irish Singer-Songwriter

Born Imelda Mary Clabby and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, the singer-songwriter known professionally as Imelda May has become one of Ireland’s most acclaimed musicians. In addition to being honoured as Female Artist Of The Year at the 2009 Meteor Awards and Artist Of The Year at the 2017 Irish Post Awards, she’s performed duets with the likes of Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, Van Morrison and Jack Savoretti, plus counts Bob Dylan and Bono among her fans.

May started singing at the age of nine. She was inspired by the voices of Eddie Cochran, Billie Holliday and Gene Vincent as well as drawn to blues and the rebellious nature of rockabilly music. By the time she was 16, May was performing in pubs near Grafton Street. In the late 1990s she moved to London and appeared in burlesque revues.

May self-recorded and released her debut album No Turning Back in 2003 under the name Imelda Clabby. Shortly after, she joined Blue Harlem and her sensational vocal abilities led them to become one of London’s top swing bands.

In 2007, her debut album was re-recorded and released under her adopted stage name Imelda May. She was signed by Universal in 2008 and revealed her sophomore album Love Tattoo , which went triple platinum and became the best-selling record of modern UK chart history by a homegrown female Irish artist.

May also supported Jools Holland’s rhythm and blues ensemble on tour in 2008 and later landed a spot on his popular BBC TV programme Later… With Jools Holland , where she gained wider recognition across the UK.

Her third and fourth albums, 2010’s Mayhem and 2014’s Tribal, received largely positive critical acclaim. Her fifth studio album, 2017’s Life Love Flesh Blood, debuted at No.2 in the Irish albums chart and landed at No.5 in the UK albums chart. All of these albums further established May’s unique sound mixing guitars, blues and rockabilly as well as her unmistakable retro style.

In the following couple of years, she featured on albums and in live tours with Jeff Goldblum and Ronnie Wood. Her debut poetry EP Slip Of The Tongue was unveiled in summer 2020, with the poem entitled You Don’t Get To Be Racist And Irish receiving global recognition as well as being featured in the Irish government’s ReThink Ireland billboard campaign.

On May’s sixth album, she collaborated with Wood, Noel Gallagher, Miles Kane and Niall McNamee as well as showcased contributions from feminist activists like Gina Martin and Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. Entitled 11 Past The Hour, she confirmed its arrival for 16 April 2021 and announced the 12-city Made To Love UK tour for April 2022 to perform the new music along with other celebrated tracks.