Sinead Cunningham
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Sinead Cunningham

Stornoway, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Stornoway, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Folk Blues


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"DIY lessons for island music makers"

DIY lessons
for island
music makers
Singer songwriter Sinead Cunningham looks forward to meeting like-minded
muscians through the DIY Music workshops. SGD. 21733
She explains further: “I am used to working in business environments
where when you put expertise, investment and good planning into a project
or a product, you yield a profitable return; so, when I practise the guitar
and work on my songs for hours and then perform at gigs, the logical part
of my brain wants to know the return on investment for all my time.
“The creative side of my brain couldn’t care less, it’s just happy to be
involved in anything to do with music!” she adds with a chuckle.
The DIY Music Workshops begin at An Lanntair Arts Centre, Stornoway
on Thursday, October 14, from 6pm-8pm, and run until December 2.
The eight week workshop course costs £40 (£35 concession) and bookings
made through An Lanntair Box Office or at
“The main benefit for people is that everyone who takes this workshop
will have a common interest and goal which is to be self sufficient from
their Music,” says Sinead.
“The workshop aims to explain the industry, the important roles involved,
the value of Networking, Marketing and Promotion and how to set
up your own website to promote and sell your music; and there will also be
Guest Speakers who can share their knowledge and give advice.”
She adds: “By the end of eight weeks we will all be organised, goal
orientated and informed on what direction each of us are taking as well as
having defined career plans in place – and that has to be a good thing.”
“WHEN you put a bunch of creative people
with a common goal in a room together
something good will come out of it,” says
singer/songwriter Sinead Cunningham of her
new DIY Music Workshops set to start next
The eight week course is a novel approach for
the growing island music scene, aimed at anyone
who is serious about making a living from their
music by providing a place to talk, share ideas
and skill sets and make definitive plans.
“I felt there was a need for this workshop when
I got back from GoNorth [north Scotland music
expo],” explains Sinead.
“During GoNorth I felt a renewed energy
because I had been surrounded by like-minded
people for a few days. I just wanted a place on
the island where I could go to meet people once
a week to bounce ideas off them, to share a new
song, and to discuss possible song arrangements
“I wanted to attend a workshop of singer/songwriters/
musicians so I could have a focus every
week and feel less isolated. I noticed that teenagers
had youth clubs, Battle of the Bands, Pointers
etc, but anyone over that age group had no real
music related meeting point that didn’t involve a
bar or a club.”
In search of something to fulfil her wants,
Sinead contacted An Lanntair to look into the
possibility of the arts centre presenting such an
idea – and has ended up writing the workshop
course herself.
“I would like to thank Moira MacDonald,
Outreach Officer at An Lanntair, for being so encouraging
and proactive about this workshop,”
Sinead says. “It couldn’t have happened without
the support of An Lanntair.”
As daunting as it may sound, hosting a workshop
aimed at marketing individual’s skills and
talents is nothing new to Sinead who has a Bsc in
Management and an Advanced Diploma in Marketing
from Trinity College, Dublin, and worked
as a marketing manager for a number of international
She has also trained as a Speech and Drama
teacher and examiner, previously running her
own Speech and Drama school, teaching and
preparing over 200 children a week to do Public
Speaking, Acting and Speech Grade exams.
All the while however, Sinead’s musical
yearnings took a back seat until in January 2006
a chance meeting with singing coach Andres
Martorell from Galway kick started her long
dreamed of singer/songwriter career.
“I went with Andres to the Seth Riggs Speech
Level Singing Vocal Camp in LA. It was an
amazing experience and I took workshops on
how to write songs, how to co-write and how to
market yourself in the music industry as an independent,”
she expands. “It was such an amazing
experience that I went back the following year to
learn more.”
Yet, although Sinead had gained a great deal
of industry knowledge direct from the source
during her time in LA, her performance experience
was ‘non existent’.
Going back to basics and learning to play the
guitar, Sinead travelled to New York where she
enrolled in The Brooklyn Guitar School in November
2008 and started playing regular open
mic sessions.
“My goal was to be good enough to get a real
venue gig in NYC, singing and playing my own
material before I left for home,” she continues.
“So, just before I came to Lewis last June, I got
the opportunity to perform at The Bitter End in
Greenwich Village after submitting some of my
own material.
“The Bitter End is a shrine to all the singer
songwriters of the 60s and 70s, including Neil
Young and Bob Dylan so even though I was perfectly
imperfect that night, I was elated at having
performed on the same stage as some of my
musical heroes.”
Since making her home on Lewis, Sinead has
kept up her public performing and, as she says:
“Thanks to McNeils open mics, local gigs and
the experience at GoNorth, performing is getting
Now, as she sets to further establish her career,
Sinead is hoping to unite fellow solo musicians
in order to help one another through the highs
and lows of the music industry and ensure that
people get what they deserve for their talent.
by Eilidh Whiteford - The Stornoway Gazette


EP - Sinead Cunningham on iTunes (Nov 2010)
1. Finally home
2. Give me more Time (Brooklyn)
3. Why

Escape - Charity CD (Mar 2011)
1. Mother Moon

New Material
Christmas Song - HAPPY CHRISTMAS (DEC 2011)



Sinead is originally from Ireland but has now moved to Scotland via a stay in New York. She is a passionate songwriter and has a very distinctive warm bluesy voice that captivates anyone who catches a live performance. While she loves to sing her main passion is songwriting and her ambition is to write for some of her favorite artists as well as for TV and Film. To develop and hone her craft she traveled far and wide to take songwriting workshops in LA, New York, Ireland and Scotland and this has paid off with two of her songs being selected to represent Scottish Music at industry Showcases including MIDEM and SXSW in 2010 and 2011. She has also had two songs "out of the blue" and "yesterdays" selected to play on Women of Substance Radio and during the summer/fall season.

Her influences include Peggy Lee, Etta James, Elle Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Otis Redding and all of Motown.

Her ambition is to try to continually write better songs every single day.