This week marked the tragic death of Limerick, Irish and The Cranberries star Dolores O’Riordan. It came as a great shock to her family and friends, the people of Ireland and world music, as the lead singer had passed away at the age of just 46. In her relatively short time on this Earth, Dolores made a massive impact on those in her life, as well as Irish and world music. Below we will take a look at 4 things that made Dolores O’Riordan really cool.
1. Conquering Her Shyness.
Dolores O’Riordan was not always the charismatic lead singer of 90’s rock sensation The Cranberries. She first had to addition for the role of lead singer. When the boys in the band quickly realised her amazing singing voice, and after she took some of their melodies and wrote her own lyrics on top, they were smart enough to know they had to bring her on board. But what quickly became apparent was that Dolores was quite uncomfortable on stage in the spotlight. In the very early days, she would often be looking all over the stage, anywhere but the crowd, sometimes even turning her back to them. Despite this, a producer saw the raw potential of this young Limerick band, and The Cranberries were quickly signed up. During their time in the studio, Dolores worked hard at conquering her natural shyness. By the time the first album was released, Dolores was able to look at the crowd straight in the eye while naturally moving around on stage. A rock star was born.
2. Helped Change Perceptions Of Female Lead Signers.
After the release of their first album, ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’, The Cranberries had a meteoric rise to top. They were not only massive in Ireland and the UK, but they were one of few bands from this side of the water to “make it” in America at the time. This was inflamed by the release of their second album, ‘No Need To Argue’, only a year later in 1994. With this huge surge in popularity, which the band handled very well, came the fame and followers. This was a time just before The Spice Girls and the rise of ‘Girl Power’, when female lead singers and solo artists were still expected to be sweet innocent angels. But Dolores O’Riordan wasn’t going to be pigeonholed, instead she adopted the more grungey, thrashy style of the time that was typically reserved for male bands such as Nirvana. Dolores wasn’t a princess, she was a rock star, and undoubtedly inspired many young women out there.
3. Sang In Her Accent.
Now I’m not someone who religiously believes that you have to sing in your own accent, but I think it’s cool as f**k when people do. Up until the point in time of The Cranberries hitting the scene, a lot of Irish and British acts down through the years adopted American accents on their vocals. Now sometimes this happens to singers as they elongate their vowels, sometimes it suits the style of music better, but when you hear a native accent in song it hits you like a literal breath of fresh air. This was happening over in Manchester with bands like The Stone Roses and Oasis belting out tunes in their harsh northern vocals, but it rarely happened elsewhere, least of all Ireland. So when Dolores O’Riordan made a name for herself as an amazing singer, both here and in America, in her native Limerick accent, it was inspiring. It is known that a couple of people “in the business” had tried to convince Dolores to drop her accent. This is a common story for Irish acts as many producers and record labels believe the Irish accent is too harsh. But, Dolores made no apologies and instead embraced her unique voice. The fact that even today, a lot of popular Irish acts can be said to sound very “samey”, is testament to just have brave and f**king cool Dolores was to embrace her native accent.
4. A Great All Round Musician.
We know that Dolores was a great singer, but let’s not forget that she was also a lyricist and rhythm guitar player. Songs like Zombie, Linger, and Dreams are not only popular because of their beautiful melodies, but also their touching and releatable lyrics. The range of the lyrics in them 3 songs alone, Zombie being politically charged, the heartbreak of Linger and the vulnerability and love of Dreams shows a great diversity in understanding and talent. If that wasn’t enough, Dolores was also a rhythm guitarist, and a good one at that. Not only did she play live with the band, but during their break between 2003 and 2009 she was often seen just her and her acoustic guitar.
There you have it, 4 really cool things that I think demonstrate the strength, talent and inspiring nature of Dolores O’Riordan. Have you got anything to add? Feel free to comment below or leave a suggestion for a blog topic!
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