Naas' red head 'Roaring Girl', Sive, is firing up the Irish music scene

Sive O'Sullivan talks growing up in Naas, gigging and community work

Sarah Peppard

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Sarah Peppard

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sarah.peppard@leinsterleader.ie

Naas' red head 'Roaring Girl', Sive, is firing up the Irish music scene

Sive O'Sullivan

It can be said Naas singer/songwriter Sive O’Sullivan is really making waves on the Irish music scene

The red headed beauty is currently touring Ireland, playing gigs in venues from Limerick to Belfast.

New music is also on the cards for the 28-year-old in the next couple of years, having only released her second album, The Roaring Girl, earlier this year.

So, where did the catchy album name come from? 

“It’s actually an old play about a woman who dresses really manly, and she’s a bit of a tomboy. It was set, I think, in the 1800’s so people are very old-fashioned.

“They gossip about her, they think she’s a bad person because of how she acts and dresses. It sounded like she was kind of a cool character, and I just loved the title, there’s something about it.” 

Sive began playing the guitar when she was a teenager, and immediately fell in love with it.

“I started playing the keyboard when I was kinda young, but I think I was about 13 when I got a guitar and I got a bit mad into it then.

” I remember when I was a kid, I used to love cheesy pop music, I always used to love singing along with the harmonies, and then when I started playing the guitar a couple of years later, then I joined a band in school and it took off.

“Couldn’t see myself doing anything else now.” 

She played her first gig in a “bike shed in a schoolyard in Newbridge”, and hasn’t looked back since.

Sive is the only child of Dee and Denis. She grew up in Naas, and to this day Naas is still her home.

She has fond memories of growing up in the town.

“I think since moving back to Naas as an adult, I maybe appreciate it a bit more. I had friends in school and we used to play music together, and we used to go over to Newbridge and play gigs in the Riverbank and Ryston Social Club, so that was fun.” 

She recalls the freedom she had as a child.

“I grew up in a quiet estate, and there was a big field in front of our house and there was a tennis court which was free to use, and we lived near the racecourse, and I suppose what I loved about growing up there is that we were so close to the town but it was almost like being in the country, we had so much freedom and space to run around and be mad. I remember legging it around my own garden like a lunatic.

“As it happened there were two other girls on my road that were the same age and neither of them had brothers or sisters, so we were all like sisters.”

Sive wrote her first song when she was 14 years old, and loved music as a pupil in St. Mary’s college. What type of music is she into?

“When I started playing the guitar it would have been it would have been kind of grungey stuff, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and PJ Harvey.

“As I got older, and started to write songs, I was listening to more African music, and Irish folk music and jazz music as well.” 

Her own music aside, Sive does trojan community work around Kildare, working with the elderly and people with Alzheimers in nursing homes.

“I was gigging away and doing music, and I wasn’t fully happy with the direction, I didn’t know where I wanted to go, and then I just happened to come across this musicians and healthcare training course.” 

She then undertook a masters in UL. “When I came back to Kildare, I discovered that it’s actually a great place to be doing that sort of work.

“The County Council have an arts and well-being officer so they have a certain amount of funding for choirs and projects for older people and just get things going around the area with music and health.”

Two choirs that she works alongside are doing a collaboration with the Ballymore Eustace concert band in Celbridge GAA on December 2, and everyone is welcome along.

In the meantime, Sive is busy writing a few of her own new songs, which fans can expect soon.