Ahead of her Irish television debut on The Late Late Show, Spherical Notions sat down with Clare Maguire for a chat about drunken audiences, the pressures of being the Next Big Thing and the Irish relatives that she didn't know she had.
SN: Hi Clare, how's it going?
CM: Good, thanks. It's nice to see you again.
SN: So, this is your third time back in Dublin in as many months. How did you find the Sugar Club gig?
CM: It was one of the best gigs ever. It was amazing when people stormed the stage at the end. When I was doing my soundcheck, I was like 'Oh, God. How's this show going to go down?' because everybody was going to be sitting down, but when I came out there were people standing all down the aisles, so it wasn't so bad. People were standing up by the end so it was kinda fun. It's a great venue. I really liked it.
SN: You had some family there in the audience, am I right?
CM: Yeah, I had loads of family there - family I hadn't even met before. There were people saying 'Hi, I'm your second cousin' and I was like 'Oh, really?'. Then I was getting loads of tweets afterwards from people saying they were related to me.
SN: Obviously, you've strong connections here in Ireland. How have you found the reception here?
CM: Ireland's my favourite place to come. It's my favourite place in the world. I'm really excited that the interest seems to be growing here as well. The Late Late Show appearance will hopefully be good for it too.
SN:Your new single, The Shield And The Sword, is one of my favourite tracks on the album and the new video is great. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind it?
CM: The main part of the video ties in with what I wrote the song about, which is my experience of the music industry. It seems very glamorous but there's all this internal struggle stress that goes on with it. The performance scene is inspired by my love of Marilyn Monroe.
It's kind of what you hear on the album, in the sense that it's all very grand, but there's so much going on behind it. So, that's what I wanted with this song - I wanted it to be powerful, but it does still have that emotional aspect to it.
SN: What's the plan for the summer then?
CM: I'm doing T in the Park, Glastonbury, V Festival, Bestival, Camp Bestival, and some other festivals. It's weird because I've never done the festival circuit before and now I'm doing all the big festivals.
SN: We had Jessie J here at The Trinity Ball recently and she said afterwards that it was one of the worst gigs of her life and she was a bit shocked by how drunk people. Do you think your braced for the festival shenanigans?
CM: It's a bit bad that she's said that. I'll probably be the one lying on the floor, passed out! Nah, I'm used to big parties and lots of music and drink. I'm really excited for the festivals. The band and I were just talking about dressing up and making it really fun and exciting.
SN: What can festival-goers expect from your live show?
CM: If it was up to me, and someone else was paying for it, I'd make it a big massive show but, with the festivals, you're kind of restricted by cost. As long as you really involve the audience, make them part of it and go in to the crowd, that helps make it fun and exciting.
I kind of obsess over James Brown, watching him on YouTube, and I love how his band all have a particular movement, so I've been trying to get my band to do that. I just try to make it really colourful, young and poppy.
SN: There were some mixed reviews for the album. Did you find the more negative reviews hard to take, after working on it so long?
CM: Not really. I don't really read that many reviews but I knew it was gone and Radio 1 aren't playing The Shield and The Sword, which upset me a bit.
When I was doing the record, I was putting pressure on myself, over-thinking it and worrying about people not liking it, but since I put it out, I've just been concentrating on really are the people that do like it. The people that are tweeting me and Facebooking me and coming to the shows.
The critics who didn't like it, that's fair enough and I can see certain points they're making about it. The more my career develops, the more fanbase I build and the more music I get to create, I think they'll turn around and begin to realise when it is quite raw and you hear it live, it does translate well and it is growing really strongly. That's all I have to think about it.
SN: Do you think that being featured on 'Tips for 2011' lists puts unnecessary pressure on artists like yourself?
CM: When I was on it, I didn't feel too much pressure. Jessie J was top of everything, so everybody was writing about her mainly. It was just a release for me when I finally released the record. I was just so relieved.
The more I'm playing live and the more fanbase I get, the more I'm thinking that I just have to not be too serious about it. I'm in the music industry, I'm 23, I'm doing what I want to do. I just have to try and have fun with it.
If you surround yourself with people who just tell you you're amazing or Google yourself all the time, it's just going to play on your mind and make you negative. So, just surround yourself with people who tell you you're an idiot, have fun at your gigs, don't Google yourself, and you'll be fine.
Forward to 50:25 here to see Clare's performance on The Late Late Show.