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Dolores O'Riordan
If thereís anyone who has become famous purely on the strength of her voice, itís Dolores OíRiordan. The former frontwoman of Irish rock band The Cranberries may have been well-known for her buzz-cut platinum blonde locks, but it was her strong vocals on 1994ís hit single Zombie that captured the worldís attention and made The Cranberries a household name. After five best selling original albums and one greatest hits compilation with The Cranberries, Dolores is back on the charts with her first solo album Are You Listening? She talks to The Record about the past and the present and dealing with the changes they bring.

The Cranberries have enjoyed immeasurable success over the years. Why did you decide to go solo?
When I joined The Cranberries it was kind of a six album deal, so I always stayed with them, and I felt that I entered into that union with them with this kind of an idea and it was important for me not to just let go as soon the band got really big. I felt that I had a certain amount of commitment. Towards the end then it just came to a point where it was just the obvious thing as we had five albums and the greatest hits. And then it seemed like time for a change. So all the arrows were pointing in one direction and here it is.

Iím totally looking forward to getting back out on to the road and itís very exciting to actually be on my own because itís the right time in my life, so, and Iím ready for it. Iím at the right mental place as well to do it after having the experience after fifteen years with The Cranberries and the huge phenomenal success that we had so young. Having dealt with that and having learnt to cope with it and to live and function on a day to day basis as a human being with that, and to kind of move on and get on your feet and go back down to reality, I feel like Iíve done kind of a 360 degree circle. Iím kind of at a stronger place now mentally than Iíve ever been in my life, so thatís good.

Tell us something about the album, Are You Listening?
The title Are You Listening? was basically just a nice idea. I remember that I said to my husband that Iíd come up with a really good title and he said, Ďwhat is ití and I said, Ďare you listeningí and he just kept saying, ĎI am, what is it?í I just liked the subtlety of it. Itís subtle and itís delicate and itís not a statement. Itís a delicate question. And also, if you are listening then youíre listening, and if youíre not then you donít know about it, do you? (smiles)

I think that there is a broad spectrum of emotions on the album, being that Iíve experience death and birth in my personal life in the last four years in my family. There are emotions that go very deep into the darkness, but there are also emotions that go into more bright and positive things. I think that itís quite rocking ~ more rocking than I might have predicted when I began the recording process. I kind of had a feeling that it was going to be probably more piano-driven, but as the creative process evolved, basically it just started to become more aggressive at times being that I may be angry over a particular issue I might be writing about. Itís really strange how the electric guitar managed to make its way back into my life again

How did the album come together?
The album was recorded over a four-year period. Basically, I did the majority of the writing and demo-ing in my houses. When youíre in a small room in your own house and itís not really costing at all and youíre not under pressure, you feel no pressure so you get more inspiration creatively. Itís fantastic because basically one minute you could be cooking dinner, and the next minute you could be downstairs slapping down a really nice verse. Itís very practical for families and for stuff like that, really. Thereís great freedom in it. I think we got to a point where we had about 30 songs altogether and we figured we should stop now and select the cream of the crop for the record.

We love Apple Of My Eye. Tell us a bit more about the track.
Apple Of My Eye is a really strong, powerful love song. It was inspired by an experience that I had when I was going on tour with The Cranberries, and it was tough enough leaving the little ones and my husband always did come with me, but I just had to do this part of the tour without him because he was sick. And I just imagined my life without him and it was terrible. I suddenly realised that it was so easy to take love for granted on a daily basis, and I realised that all human beingsÖwe strive to be loved and to find one love, and if you find it you really do have to cherish it every single day and every single minute. You can never take it for granted.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Dolores O'Riordan in the September 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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