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Concert Experience

KANM Takes SXSW Part 4

March 27, 2019

At first, Roisin Donald, performing as ROE, may seem like a typical 20-year-old. She is soft-spoken and inviting. She quietly says to the audience “You can come closer, I don’t bite.” The crowd steps closer, and ROE lets loose her powerful voice. ROE’s songs communicate relatable messages of feeling lonely or knocked down. Her emotions are evident in her lyrics, and watching her perform was magical. She performs all on her own, with a guitar, drum pad, and keyboard, who she jokingly referred to as her “friends.” She performed a few of her songs, each of with made me feel like I was transported right to the situations in my life where I had felt the same way. The amount of sass and blunt honesty behind her song “Hey Thomas” got everyone hyped up as she called out the bullies of the world. Her song “Cheek, Boy” has such an upbeat sound but the lyrics are so compelling. Her song “Playground Fights” has those heartbreaking lyrics that speak to anyone who’s been through a relationship that doesn’t work out. ROE sings of serious moments in her life, but she does so in a way that makes it catchy and in a way that can connect to college kids who find themselves in similar situations.

When I spoke with ROE, I asked her about her most recent single, “Down Days.” I felt it was really well-written as it simply explained how it feels to have a bad day. ROE said, “I think everything that I write is something that’s relatable to me. I like writing things that I can share with other people, even if its the bad stuff like that.” She added, “I feel there’s so much pressure on people to look like they’re doing the best ever, just don’t show any emotion, don’t be sad or anything. And I feel like that song was kind of my way of saying you don’t have to look perfect all the time.” In the description for her video of the song she writes “It’s okay to not be okay”

When I asked ROE about recently touring with Snow Patrol she said “It was insane… at the end of it I didn’t know how to feel. Like I got home, and I was back to playing 100 cap venues. I was like ‘Okay this is where I am now.’” Obviously there are bigger plans and goals ahead of her. She said “This is my first time over here [in the U.S.] playing so I think [I’m] just kinda finding my feet and getting to know people… Doing the ground work to maybe come back later on whenever I’m ready to tour.” Ultimately she plans to release an album, and she is doing an Irish tour this April as well as playing festivals in Ireland and the UK.

ROE has a fresh and honest sound, and her lyrics hit home with the issues many college kids can understand all to well. She said it best when she told me, “I just like sharing the stories that happen to me and the people that I love and I feel like if it relates to one person in the world then it’s worth it.

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