Ríona Sally Hartman Bio
As a bi-lingual vocalist, composer and songwriter based in Ireland Ríona Sally Hartman’s music has become known for its lush vocal harmonies, acoustic softness and the surrealist stories that accompany her songs.
Songs are sung from the point of view of a cast of characters; there’s Tom Peeping who falls in love with every woman he sees but never speaks to them, there’s the Fish who’s so obsessed with Frida Kahlo it chases a spinner to wear it as an earring and then there’s Sally a very talented but frustrated fortune teller. The songs are influenced by musicians who blend pop sensibilities with contemporary jazz and classical compositional ideas such as Becca Stevens, Julie Feeney and Bjork. Lyrically her main influences are contemporary storytellers who combine surrealist and fantastical elements with astute observations on universal experiences, such as the short stories of Miranda July and Neil Gaiman.
Big Starving Thing is her debut album and was released in May 2015. Described by The Irish Times as a "finely crafted debut album...fresh and unclichéd".
As well as leading her own solo project Ríona performs as a member of many varied collaborative projects including Monster Monster, Dig A Little Deeper, The National Concert Hall’s Education and Community Outreach Band (ECO) and in Mark Lynch’s An Bóthar. She has been awarded both an Emerging Artist Bursary for the Creation of New Work in 2015 and a Professional Development Arts Grant in 2016, both from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and is a member of the Improvised Music Company’s board of directors as a representative of young, emerging Irish musicians.
Ríona has two degrees; one in Architecture and one in Jazz Performance. Whether or not the Architecture degree is in any way relevant to her singing or songwriting is up for debate.
‘A rising star on the Irish scene’
– Lyric FM
“Dubliner Ríona Sally Hartman is capable of using her voice like an instrument, but she is a writer too, interested in the observations and speculations of the poet….delicate vocal harmonies and sparse acoustic settings, fresh and uncliched, perhaps bearing most comparison with intrepid New York singers like Theo Bleckmann and Becca Stevens.”
- The Irish Times
‘A wonderfully crafted pop record with jazz and classical sensibilities’ – Le Cool Dublin
‘A poet, singer, thinker all rolled into one and I really feel Hartman is currently one of our most unique and interesting artists.’ – Remy’s Music and Film Blog