Newry says ‘goodbye’ and Brighton says ‘hello’. Local singer-songwriter Jessica James is taking her sounds to another music city – and bids farewell to her hometown with a special concert during the Fleadh.
Jessica will perform her goodbye gig on 25 August at Newry’s Crisis Cafe, where she’s served as Creative Director. The following month, she leaves to study music production and songwriting at the BIMM Institute – which has birthed such big names as James Bay and The Kooks.
‘It’s been a hard decision to leave,’ said Jessica, whose powerful songs such as Broken Promises – and, aptly, Farewell – have a raw youthful edge and a mature melodic structure.
‘But it feels like something I have to do personally and musically. Therefore I will be doing my last gig ever…and what a better place to do it than at the Crisis Cafe!’
She praised the Cafe that has ‘supported and nurtured’ her. ‘I’m so thankful for the opportunities being Creative Director gave me,’ Jessica added. ‘I’ll be sharing the stage with some amazing talent from the cafe – Glade and Little Anxieties – but most importantly, sharing the stage with my amazing bandmates Fionntán, Ferghal and Paul.
‘The fact that these guys have stuck with me and become such close friends and collaborators is something I never thought would happen. I am so deeply grateful for them – they mean the world to me.
‘Sadly, with the move, that means saying goodbye to them – but not everyone – as my amazing partner Ferghal is moving with me, too. I’m excited for us both to focus on our studies and careers as musicians and I’m so thankful we’re doing it together.’
Jessica admitted that choosing music as a career has been ‘a mixture of highs and lows’ with ‘happiness and hardship’ along the way. She wants to thank everyone who has supported her – including the venues that let her play. ‘It’s the little things that mean a lot,’ said Jessica. ‘I can’t wait to see where the next few years take me!’
Let’s hope Jessica does a homecoming gig at a future Fleadh. Tickets for her concert at this year’s Fleadh can be booked through Eventbrite.