Derry’s ROE seemingly can’t put a foot wrong - no surprise given her unique and composed approach to songwriting and performing. In demand and improving all the time, 2018 should be her year for the taking.


Photographed for State's Faces by Olga Kuzmeno

2017 seems to have been a bit of a whirlwind year for you - what's been your proudest achievement and why?

It was absolutely mental! I think out of everything that’s happened in 2017, my proudest moment was playing the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury. I’ve only really been ROE for a year, and to be able to say that in my first year of a new music style and live show that I’ve played at Glastonbury is just unbelievable, it still feels like it was just a dream.


Do you feel the NI music scene is in good health compared to this time last year? If so, why is that?

I think the music scene here is starting to come in to its own again. Last year I would’ve been able to look at a lot of line-ups and recognise loads of the names on the list, but as the year went on I started noticing a lot of bands and artists that I hadn’t heard of before and it’s super cool to see. It might be because there are a lot of artists on the rise right now, like Rosborough and Joshua Burnside, and a lot of new music was released in 2017. Because a lot of NI musicians are getting the attention they deserve, it pushes our music scene into the limelight a bit more, which is pretty exciting and could be inspiring to a lot of musicians coming in to their own.


You've been building up a reputation as a formidable live performer - what do you put this down to?

I think it’s because I try to make the biggest sound that I possibly can on stage with one person, and this means playing a lot more instruments that most people do. I love being a multi-instrumentalist and even though I get asked a lot if I would ever bring in a band I don’t really think I will. I love the challenge of being in control of everything on stage and adding to my setup. Maybe people dig it because it’s pretty different!


Tell us a little bit about what prompted you to follow music as a career? Any inspiring moments at a young age?

I wasn’t always going to do music. When I was younger I went to a really academic school and when I finished my GCSEs I nearly went on to do the sciences for my A-Levels. I was writing a bit at the time and doing a few music projects outside of school and I realised that music was the only thing I really enjoyed doing and could see myself continuing to do. My parents and teachers were pretty against the idea of dropping out to go do a music course but as soon as I started at it my mum and dad were super supportive. It was the best decision I’ve ever made and I haven’t looked back since. From that point on music’s kind of taken over my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.


What's in store for 2018 and how are you feeling about the year ahead?

This year is gonna be crazy and I’m ridiculously excited for it! I’m playing at Eurosonic and Whelan’s Ones to Watch in January and releasing my new single ‘Wasted.Patient.Thinking.’ on the 26th (also my birthday), I’m playing at Output Belfast in February, I’ve got my first Irish Tour in the works, there’s going to be a MASSIVE release later this year and there are a lot of festivals (which I can’t say too much about) that I’ll be playing at in 2018. This year there is so much cool stuff happening that I can’t talk about yet, but 2018 will definitely be a busy one!


“She has the potential to be huge…” (Lōwli)
“I keep coming back to her voice. It’s beautiful...” (Sarah O’Gorman)
“I saw ROE last year at HWCH, so cool to see a young woman take hold of the stage for herself.” (Laoise)