Killarney Star
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Killarney Star


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"Podcasted Interview Live at Karma Coffehouse, Los Angeles"

Click here for the interview, including live songs from that evening's show:

-, September 24, 2005

"Just Passing Through: An Interview with Killarney Star"

TLAMS: Tell us a little about you as an artist, what makes you tick?

KS: Unexpected chord changes, poignant instrumentation, haunting melodies, metaphors, symbolism, stories. . .

TLAMS: Who are some of the influences a listener is likely to hear in your music?

KS: Whether I agree or not, people have compared me a lot to: Tori Amos and Kate Bush, as well as Patti Griffin, Alannis Morissette, and even the Cowboy Junkies? If listeners really know their stuff, they will also clearly hear similarities to Joni Mitchell, Beth Orton, and a little Joe Jackson. Although few of those are my actual influences.

TLAMS: And who are some of the more obscure influences that find their way into your sound?

KS: I’m not one of those people who have a list of obscure influences. I listened avidly to radio from early childhood until the 90’s. My heros Sting & The Police have always been the greatest influence on my song writing, choice of chords, and musical moods. As a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, Elton John, Vince Guaraldi, Yes, and then 80’s poetic bands like Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, a-ha, Joe Jackson, Level 42, and Sade wound their way into my pre-adolescent brain. I also greatly admire Ben Folds, Nikka Costa, Bjork, Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays, Frou Frou, Olive . . . And of course, since I’ve played classical music since age 7, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Copland, and John Williams and James Horner figure prominently. Basically what most of these influences have in common are dramatic melodies, strong, sometimes funky basslines, celtic harmonies, and storytelling lyrics or moods. Nowadays I’m also finding more blues/honky-tonk riffs popping into my newer songs, though I don’t know why, maybe it’s just a product of returning to the South.

TLAMS: If a listener was only going to check out 1 of your tunes to get familiar with you as an artists, which tune would you have them listen to?

KS: Probably ‘Signature’, despite the long intro . . . it’s my usual high drama, with good piano playing, singing that goes from a whisper to a wail. It’s a unique song but it still has the bone structure of a pop song, so it might please the most listeners.

TLAMS: What inspires you to write a song, and how does that come together with other musicians?

KS: A strong Feeling about something-- but most often, conflicting feelings about something—are what move me to write. Sometimes lines come to me in the car, sometimes at the piano as I stumble upon a beautiful riff. Music to me is made up of many colors—chords are different colors, and like a painter, I choose the colors based on the mood I want to portray. I write songs in every tonal key, choosing a song’s key deliberately to portray the mood. To me, E minor is a pensive key, A minor is a wailing key, G major is a hopeful key, D major is a wistful key, Db major is a triumphant key, etc. As far as lyrics go, my songs are often about feelings for people. But then again, maybe not. I have a song [written just before Hurricane Frances in Florida last year] called ‘Clair de Lunatic’ (with a chorus riff stolen from Debussy) that is perhaps about a hurricane, or maybe a lost love. I’m not even sure. Depends what the listener wants to hear.

TLAMS: What's your favorite song, and what inspired it?

KS: I’m usually most in love with one of my newborn babies. . . a few weeks ago I wrote a song called ‘Lay Down Your Dreams’ which was inspired by the film, Born Into Brothels. I’ve been playing that one live a lot lately, but for sheer drama and power, I always love playing ‘Signature’ and her like sisters, ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Fire In Paradise’, ‘Zero’; these are all on my latest album, Starfish. Seems I must especially pull out ‘Clair de Lunatic’ this month and dust her off. She’s very dark, sad but hopeful, and I’m really feeling that right now.

As far as writing songs with others, I had the best songwriting team with my bassist/ex-husband when I was in Nektarine [Orange County, CA 2002-2004,]. I don’t trust anyone else to help me write songs anymore, at least right now. So I just write whole songs, lyrics and instrumentation, give the music to my current bass player and describe the drums to one of my drummers, and it’s a dictatorship. That’s the way I like it right now.

TLAMS: What's going on with you "industry" wise in this crazy world of music?

KS: Hmm, if I want to continue making a living from my art, which I very much do, must I join ‘the industry?’ I’d like to confine that ominous word to steel, oil, war. Again, conflicting feelings. I’ve gotten a few offers this year for licensing, artist representation, a video, etc. Having worked in Southern California already, these offers, a few of which I thought were sketchy, don’t really get me that excited anymore. I used to lament not having a good recording studio and wish for a recording contract, but we’ve recently upgraded our home studio, and now I don’t even want to leave the hous -, September 2005

"Who is Killarney Star? An Interview by Eric Atria"

Who is Killarney Star? Where did she come from? What does she want with our children?? To answer these questions, I asked the self proclaimed "Local Piano Goddess" herself to explain what it is she thinks she's doing. Read on as she goes in depth on her experiences in Southern California and Gainesville, which are extremely insightful for any aspiring artist.

Eric: You moved here from southern California. Are you crazy?

Killarney: No, I'm not crazy. After that experience I think people are crazy to try to make it in Southern California. . . . . It's like you're in a freaking movie all the time.

I was just so lost in all that circus. I really wanted to get back to my songwriting roots, feel like I could go to the grocery store in my sweats again, with no makeup on, and quit the materialistic rat race.
Now since I moved here a year ago I think I've given away 50 pounds of clothes and spent less than $100 on clothes and shoes combined. THAT is cool.

Eric: What was music like in Southern CA? Everyone thinks Gainesville is a mecca till they move here, then they realize it's good, but there's no one waiting in line to hear new original music. I think a lot of people still see CA as the promised land. Compare your thoughts and experiences about both CA and Gainesville.

Killarney: My band, Nektarine, which was an electronica keyboard-bass-driven thing, felt that we were constantly up against the original OC punk movement and the rebirth of the L.A. rock scene. The pulse of SoCA audiences can always be measured by two things: how much they're moving (if you have loud guitars and an acrobatic lead singer, you're in luck) and how often they go out for a smoke (there's no indoor smoking in clubs there). We always did fine keeping people in the building, but they would just stand there, even though we had these really cool Massive-Attack-like beats and a live drummer, and me running around with the keytar. We had to wring the applause out of them.

Of course, there are hundreds of bands of every type in SoCal. But there, you are always being told, oh a rep from this and that major is going to be at your show, so look sharp kids; and the truth is I've
never yet played or been to a show, even of extremely popular local artists, where that happened. . . . Gainesville, to me, is such a little heaven of music. Because everyday people of all ages ARE waiting in line, going to multiple shows per night, to see good music. Or just to support the scene in general till they find their favorite local music. So many people [here] are talking and writing about local music every
day. I have never seen such amazing local support, not in [any other place I've lived] or anywhere that my friends live.

Eric: Your recordings are solid, but your influences show strongly. Live, I think you are much more original and it's harder to pinpoint what avenue you're trying to go down. Do you agree? Explain your
influences and how you try to separate yourself from them, especially when fighting the stereotypical female songwriter/pianist expectations.

Killarney: Hm, I am starting to wonder more and more exactly what influences show the most, and which ones are more in my head. I've listened to all [Tori Amos'] albums for years, just because she plays piano and likes the same chords as me . . . .but I think I've really gotten over sounding a lot like her anymore, I hear more Police in my songwriting (without the reggae), and the vocals are really my own now. What avenue I'm trying to go down is not, of course, to follow any particular thing that's been done before, but first and foremost to express my feelings and get some things out of my system. There is a lot of sadness on this album, due to my devastating divorce and also some things my friends were going through the last few years. There is a lot of honesty.

. . . .I also, like Sting, like to take a very moody theme of lyrics and stick it into a colorful jacket of major-chord music so people are swaying or smiling when I'm really singing "I'm drowning here just missing you." But sometimes I just like to soak an equally sad lyrical story in lots of strings and space and see if people might cry, as I did when I wrote it. My only agenda, really, is to connect emotionally with people, whether it's in my recordings or at shows. I like to face the audience and make them face their own emotions with me.

As for stereotypical female songwriter expectations . . . I guess that means that people think girls can't really play an instrument or be funny or write good songs? Then people need to turn off the American Idol and the VH1. There are so many varied and talented women in rock, both locally and nationally, that I have a hard time feeling that problem. It just doesn't occur to me when I get on stage. I can play my instrument, I can sing, I'm there to be myself. People dig it, or not. I don't feel stereotyped because I'm a girl. . . . I don't look at other -, May 5, 2005

"Staff CD Picks: Starfish by Killarney Star"

"Cyclical piano arpeggios with whispered, bubbly vocals in a framework that may as well be a confession booth . . . Her piano skills are top notch, her vocals are expressive and dynamic, and her songwriting is enjoyable and dramatic. . . KStar is best ingested at night, when the Fender Rhodes replaces the upright piano, the sublime accompaniment of bass and drums (deftly handled by Bruce McCosar and Andy Anderson, respectively) is allowed to support with confident subtlety, and Star's voice becomes a creature that feels most comfortable in a quiet bedroom at 3 a.m. . . Secrets unfurl like night-blooming orchids, the moon shines a lone spotlight, and one remembers that loniness can be good company, too. . . When she stretches her chops and lets the somewhat sultry aspects of her music take over, KStar becomes strikingly original, and consequently, this disc gets interesting." (Conor Mitchell) - The Gainesvile Sun, FL, July 7, 2005

"Orange Pop: Singer-Songwriter Boosts Her Star Power With Release"

"A Singer-Songwriter-
Piano Virtuoso"- Killarney Star, "Starfish"(independent) As the singer for Orange County-based Nektarine, Killarney Star led the electronica duo to a nomination at the 2004 Orange County Music Awards and performed high-profile shows opening for the Motels and Jada Pinkett Smith's Wicked Wisdom.

However, Star - who recently moved to Gainsesville, Fla. - has returned to a more natural sound anchored by her skills as a singer and pianist. The 13 original songs on her newly released "Starfish" demonstrate that the sonic shift was a good fit for the now-solo Star, with songs such as "Fire in Paradise," "Signature," "Only Love" and "Throwing My Piano" boasting stylish keyboard play, melodic firepower and introspective lyrics.

When she does use synth sounds and more modern touches, as on the sparse "Thinking Aloud," it works in the spare territory of the Cowboy Junkies. (Robert Kinsler) - The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, CA, July 15, 2005


Starfish --13-song album with stunning full color insert. Available in CD now and iTunes format in late 2006.

Songs which would fit Sonicbids' limited file size constraints are posted here on the Audio page. Additional songs are posted for immediate play at
Previews of all songs on the album are readily accessable at

Commercial/College Radio Stations/podcasts playing Killarney Star:
*Rock 104 (103.7FM), Gainesville, FL plays "Signature", "New Year's Day" and "Leave a Bloody Trail"
*100.5 The Buzz, Gainesville, FL plays "Signature", "New Year's Day". Killarney also appears on the Buzz, playing songs live to promote shows.
* Monday Show podcast features "Throwing My Piano," plus a half-hour interview and live songs from Killarney's 9/24/05 Los Angeles appearance at Karma Coffehouse.
*Alexa Digital Radio ( plays "Signature"
* plays "Signature"
*Gainesville Music Podcast ( plays "Signature," "Fire In Paradise," "New Year's Day", more



She charmed Orange County, CA for two years as lead singer and keytarist for her electronica-pop band, Nektarine (, sharing stages with The Motels and Jada Pinkett Smith's Wicked Wisdom and garnering a nomination for Best Electronic Rock Band in the 2004 OC Music Awards. Then pianist Killarney Star decided to return to her songwriting roots by settling in the college town of Gainesville, Florida. There, in March 2004, Killarney restarted her original acoustic project which she had left by the wayside six years before, executing her new, highly personal songs in a stripped-down format with only the piano, Rhodes and some ambient strings, accompanied by jazz-rock influenced bass and drums.

Stuffing armloads of drama into neatly arranged bottles of indie-pop gems, K-Star mesmerizes audiences with commanding stage presence, laced with flirty dances with her keytar. Her show is less serious but just as compelling as those of Tori Amos, with a succinct songwriting power influenced by The Police. An original pianist/singer/songwriter, K-Star is most often compared to the likes of Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Beth Orton, and Alannis Morrisette. She draws from additional classic and classical influences like Joe Jackson, Elton John, Vince Guaraldi, Claude Debussy and Aaron Copland.

A hardworking promoter, Killarney regularly hangs flyers, ensures local radio airplay, and publishes newsprint ads for her shows. With streaming airplay, multiple forum membership, and an email list of more than 1200 fans worldwide, Killarney is building a formidable online presence to begin promoting her music outside Gainesville.

On, Killarney's song "Signature" climbed to #43 out of 525 Pop Rock Songs in less than 3 weeks. "Signature" was featured as Pop Rock Track Of The Day on July 7, 2005 and also won the accolade of "#3 Best Keyboards in Pop Rock, All Time." Listen to "Signature" on the Audio page here or on

Killarney's debut solo album, Starfish, which opens with "Signature," was released on April 15, 2005 and is available through her website, You can also visit for more songs and the latest news, and to hear some of Killarney's favorite unsigned bands.


Venues played in the past 3 years:
Orange County, CA: The Galaxy Concert Theater; The Coach House; Downtown Disney; The Gypsy Lounge; Sing Sing; DiPiazza's; Borders Books and Music; more

Los Angeles: Karma Coffehouse

Gainesville, FL: Common Grounds; The Atlantic; Market Street Pub; The Civic Media Center; The Shamrock; Durty Nelly's; The Pride Center; The Sidebar; Eddie C's; Pontiac Tavern; Hyde and Zeke's; Satchel's

Orlando FL: The Social; The Sheraton World Resort for Gay Days

Jacksonville FL: AJ's Bar and Grill

Tampa: Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse

Williamsburg: Aromas Coffeehouse

Killarney is a seasoned entrepreneur, founding and running a popular music school in Gainesville, with instruction in piano, voice, guitar, and violin.

She is proud to be a writer and publisher member of ASCAP, and a member of Tomboy Entertainment (

"Cyclical piano arpeggios with whispered, bubbly vocals in a framework that may as well be a confession booth . . . [Star's] piano skills are top notch, her vocals are expressive and dynamic, and her songwriting is enjoyable and dramatic. . . When she stretches her chops and lets the somewhat sultry aspects of her music take over, KStar becomes strikingly original, and consequently, this disc gets interesting." --Conor Mitchell, The Gainesville Sun

"While Gainesville has its fair share of female singer/songwriters, Killarney Star manages to stand out above the rest. Her debut album, Starfish, blends her many influences with an original feel that is well worth a listen. The songs on the album are solid and well executed; however, she must truly be seen live to appreciate the true span of her talent. Killarney brings a captivating performance to the stage that showcases her unique vocal and keyboard skills while keeping the audience engaged at every turn. "-- Eric Atria,

"Superb. Awsome voice, I have to say. Powerfully sung and with great emotion. The best female vocals I've heard on GarageBand. Excellent piano playing. The mix is perfect. Tons of talent here! Very top notch in all aspects." --PKind,