A Letterkenny artist is hoping to celebrate the feminine spirit on the Eurovision stage this summer as she competes to represent Ireland.
Leila Jane Keeney, a native of the Cathedral town, is one of six semi-finalists in the battle to be Ireland’s Eurovision entry.
Leila Jane is breaking through genre barriers once again with her new single, ‘Wild’, which she will perform on RTE’s The Late Late Show Eurosong contest on 3rd February. Also competing in the semi-final is Bunbeg singer-songwriter Andrew Carr, aka ADGY, with his dance tune Too Good for Your Love.
Leila is the daughter of artist Christy Keeney and Sarah Keeney, based in New Mills.
Starting as a folky blues busker in Dublin, Leila Jane has evolved into indie pop and now ‘Wild’ goes further into the pop realm with its serious dance anthem vibes. The aim was to create a song that can make you cry and dance at the same time.
The opportunity came in 2022 when Leila Jane was contacted by Liis Hainla, an Estonian songwriter who had stumbled across the video of her singing ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ on Dublin City Today’s YouTube Channel.
Liis had been looking for an artist to collaborate with for a Eurovision Song Contest entry and was entranced by Leila’s distinctive voice. Together they took their song to Finnish producer Arto Ruotsala and British songwriter Aaron Sibley and made their dreams a reality!
Leila Jane has been described as One to Watch by Late Date’s Cathal Murray. Imelda May believed Leila’s music had a unique sense of heart and therefore chose her to be the recipient of the ‘Imelda May Scholarship’ at BIMM Institute Dublin, where she graduated with a first class honours music degree.
Leila has been singing and fronting her own bands ever since her teen years in Letterkenny. She went on to play at festivals such as Electric Picnic, Glastonbury, Body & Soul and The Brooklyn Americana Music Festival. As well as being a captivating singer and performer, Leila Jane is an accomplished songwriter, having won first place in the solo category of the Ballyshannon Folk & Trad Festival, runner up in the Christie Hennessy song competition and recently released her fourth EP Revolve Evolve which received high praise from the likes of HotPress, The Last Mixed Tape, Nialler9, Radio Nova, Golden Plec, iRadio, Ones To Watch and many more.
Now she has teamed up with Estonian/ Finnish/ British composers Liis Hainla, Arto Ruotsala and Aaron Sibley to create the song ‘Wild’ which is a radical testament to feminine power.
All Eurovision songs need a strong message and ‘Wild’ is an empowering song about the strength of a woman’s spirit. After releasing songs such as ‘Woman Blues’ and ‘Dance With Me’, it only seems natural that Leila Jane would be the artist to take on such an authentically driven theme.
For example, the song begins with the word ‘’no’’ to imply that women should know their worth and say ‘’no’’ more often instead of trying to please everyone around them. The ‘’bell jar’’ lyric is a reference to Sylvia Plath and feminism, which embraces autonomy as opposed to being held back and kept ‘’safe’’ by someone. ‘Wild’ takes the listener through a journey of self-acceptance and courage in the catchiest and soul-satisfying way.
Listen to Wild here: https://www.rte.ie/video/id/4277/