Emma O'Reilly

Dramatic Pop Rock

When tendons go bad!

I feel like I wanted to post about my recent run in with tendonitis, as I’ve been chatting at it about gigs with people - who’ve all been so kind and understanding about it. 


For the last few months, the fingers in my right hand began to get really sore from too much computer usage (at least, that was the activity that made it feel sore). I knew I should go see a physio but I was behind on rent, and I was trying to move (and get a deposit together). I promised myself that after the move, on the very next payday, I would book myself into the physio and get it sorted.  I moved on the June Bank Holiday Monday (it was the only day I had free to do anything). I spent all day cleaning and my parents and friends graciously helped me get everything from point A to point B. I did a rehearsal for my YouBloom gig that night and I felt fine. 

The next morning, I work up with a very sore right hand and fingers, and the pain was extending down past my wrist. I went into work. I asked if I could go on lunch a little early to go to the physio. The verdict? Tendonitis. The move had pushed me over the edge. And over the next few days it flared up bad. As in, I-can’t-squeeze-the-brakes-on-my-bike, I-can’t-lift-up-a-cup-of-tea bad. I started texting around (on my left hand…) to see if I could get another keyboard player in to do the keys for the Youbloom gig, but at such late notice everyone was booked. I did my exercises.  I freaked out a little over the phone to my mother. I did my exercises. I rehearsed with my band for the gig, playing with just the left hand and trying to fill in the melodic gaps (which isn’t hard with good musicians, thank god). I rehearsed for other upcoming gigs. I generally didn’t have any free evenings, but when I did, I did a really good job unpacking and putting some order into my room with one hand while resting the other as much as possible. 

Thankfully it’s gone from zingy sharp pains to…a dull soreness that hangs around for some, but not all of the day. Which is definitely better. At my last physio appointment the therapist said the inflammation had gone down, and he’s hoping to put me on a maintenance plan after the next appointment. The exercises are really helping me (see blue resistance band above, ha ha!), and I’m allowed to do yoga, as long as it’s pain free. As for playing, I’m trying to be really cautious and just leave playing alone until it feels better. Also because if I play and I feel pain, something deep down inside might actually break. I’m personally happy with the decision not to play for a while,I can still sing and I have a great band so even if I need to stay away from my piano, my guitar and my uke for a while, musically I’ll be okay. 

I spoke to a friend of my sister’s at my gig last night who has just moved into the neighbourhood. He’d been chatting to my sister and she’d told him that I was very calm and logical and sort of non-emotional when I was talking to her about it. I thought it was interesting that she noted my tone and it made me think. I suppose sometimes when we feel threatened that we use the tone of how we relate the story to other people to take control of the narrative, and maybe in that way to affect our own feelings, and make our own heads safer spaces to occupy. I guess that day I was trying to tell myself, as much as my sister, that worry or being overly emotional was not necessary. Keeping my emotional head down. I’d be interested to hear about other people’s stories about similar situations.

In the meantime though, I do have some lovely gigs coming up where I get to sing lots of lovely music - and some of my own gigs where I’ll be throwing out a new song or two! Feel free to check them out here

And as always, I love to see new faces on all the social media type places, do join me. Instagram is currently my favourite! 



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Catching up!

You know you’re in trouble when your DAD calls you and gives out to you for not updating your blog (although in fairness, my Dad is pretty cool and in this case he’s also right).

I want to update you all, but not keep you all day. So here’s a rundown with some links to stuff that I’ve been doing/ am still doing, and there may be more detailed posts on the below at a later date. 


I finally produced a new EP in November. Launched the thing in lovely Bello Bar, Portobello, Dublin, with two sets: one with a string quartet and one full band set. It was awesome. I also released a video for the lead track that I’m really proud of, and I’d just love it if you could watch it if you haven’t already. 

You can buy PURGE here, stream it here, and read some reviews here (from The Last Mixed Tape), here (from GoldenPlec) and here (from Pure M Magazine). 

The Anubis Gates


In late 2013, my friend Ruth of Current Theatrics contacted me to ask me if I’d be interested in providing music for the stage adaptation for the Tim Powers cult classic sci-fi novel, The Anubis Gates. She sent me over a copy of the book and I got to work. We premiered it in the Excel Convention Centre during Loncon 3 in August last year. I did a lot of the music live on a loop pedal and there were one or two prerecorded tracks. We had two days to put the show together, half the cast were from Las Vegas, half from Ireland. It was intense, but it was an incredible experience. 

A mini-soundtrack is on its way, just getting the design right and tweaking the sound! In the meantime, you can listen to one of the recorded tracks here - it’s called Horrabin’s Hall. Enjoy!

Discovery Gospel Choir


I accidentally joined a gospel choir in around March last year, did a bunch of gigs and even got onto the Late Late show with the Hot House Flowers! I then sang on their album (funded by a great fundit campaign), and ended up conducting the choir from September to December.  They are an utterly incredible group of people, with members from literally all over the world. There’s so much to learn and to know, so many languages to sing in - it’s wonderful. The choir pretty much took over my life from September to December, so outside of the EP it was pretty much impossible for me to get anything else done! Find out a bit more about them here

I’m not conducting the main group anymore, but I’m still singing with a smaller guerrilla section of the choir and helping out with a bit of administration (looking for a gospel choir for a wedding or event? Discovery is pretty kickass. E-mail me on emma.oreilly [at] discoverygospelchoir.com). The group has so much love and good energy to share and I want to be a part of getting that out there. 

Irish Youth Chamber Choir 


In November, following another fundit campaign, I sang as a soprano 2 on the Irish Youth Chamber Choir’s debut EP, Rise up My Love. The music was directed by the brilliant Greg Beardsell and released by Ergodos. I’ve gotta say I think it’s something pretty damn special. The repertoire in it is gorgeous.  Listen to the title track here, and you can buy it and read some nice reviews here

We also did a tour. That was fun; music is fun. :D

Other stuff I did: 

Stu Daly’s new EP. Supported Steady Hands, watch here, as well as a few other gigs. Got nominated for Best Female Solo Act in the Pure M Music Awards. Sang a programme of amazing french choral music with a new choir called Dulciana in Dublin, working on another one with some gorgeous Russian music at the moment. Also been translating some poems and trying to get my Irish back up to scratch.

I’ve also got some gigs coming up - check them out here!

Awesome! I was out late last night celebrating the landmark achievement we’ve made here in Ireland by voting yes to the Marriage referendum. I was so worried for my LGBT friends during the whole campaign, and their dignity and determination was just astounding although the campaign was hard on all of them. I’m so proud of my friends (in particular the chunk of them who flew home to vote, and those who went door to dooring) and my family (in particular my dad and my sister) for mucking in to make it happen. I’m not sure we even fully realise the magnitude of what we’ve achieved. But now…I’m very sleepy and a bit sunburned because I went to Africa Day and had a blast, but forgot that suncream is important. So I’m gonna go watch something on nextflix, and pretend I don’t need sleep. 

Thanks for reading everyone! 



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