Imelda May on working with Noel Gallagher, Bono and more: 'I know I have something to bring to the table'

·4 min read
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Imelda May performing during filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening.
Imelda May performing during filming for the Graham Norton Show (BBC)

Singer-songwriter Imelda May said she feels 'blown away' by the talent of some of the huge names she has worked with, but knows she has something to bring to the table.

The Irish musician spoke to White Wine Question Time host Kate Thornton about her childhood, her work ethic and the importance of making positive changes in life.

Her latest album 11 Past The Hour, features duets with Ronnie Wood and Noel Gallagher, and in the past she has also performed live with Lou Reed, Van Morrison, Bono and more.

May said: "Somebody's asked me before: 'Do you get blown away when you're working with certain people?'

"Of course, I guess I'm blown away by their talent and their work, but it feels right. It feels like I have something to bring to the table.

WATCH: Imelda May on her journey to success and performing with Jools Holland

"And it feels like it's aligned. You know, it feels good. Whereas if it was just something that fell into my lap...

"I know what I'm doing, to an extent. I mean, nobody knows what they're doing in life. You muddle through! 

"I know I love to work, I love to write, I love to make music. And of course there's loads the sides of the job that I have that I don't like so much but you've got to do them."

Glen Hansard, Bono and Imelda May take part in the annual Christmas Eve busk on Grafton Street, Dublin.
Glen Hansard, Bono and Imelda May take part in the annual Christmas Eve busk on Grafton Street, Dublin. (PA)

The singer and poet credited her hard work for the success she has had in her career, including her third album Mayhem going six times platinum.

She said: "If you work really hard, you take chances. I think you have to take chances as then I think you can own whether it's a failure or a success.

"All your hard work, you can admit your failings, and own your successes. 

"Where if things fall into your lap, there's a sense that you don't deserve it."

LISTEN: Imelda May talks about holidays as a kid - with a family of seven all in one car

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The pair also spoke about contestants on shows like The X Factor — which Thornton used to present — not being prepared for the world of fame they are catapulted into.

May said: "I do worry for people within those shows and competitions, because, as I've said before, I think they're wonderful TV and very they're entertaining.

"But, actually somebody I know, a little while ago, asked me should they go on one of those shows? And I said, it depends what you're wanting. 

Imelda May performs on day four of the Isle of Wight Festival 2017, at Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight. (Photo by David Jensen/PA Images via Getty Images)
Imelda May performs on day four of the Isle of Wight Festival 2017 (Getty)

"If you want to have some fun and see what happens and do that. But if you're wanting to have what a lot of people think you'll get from that, whether it's going to be 'this is it, my life is made for the rest of my life', that's not going to happen. 

"So if that's what you want, I think the work has to come into it. Because the work is continuous, as you know, you're doing it. 

"It's continuous, it's not something that you just did once and then you did well, you know. You have to love it. You have to love it and want to continuously do it."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/04/30: Imelda May at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House - 90th anniversary party at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Imelda May at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House - 90th anniversary party (Getty)

Read more: Marc Almond terrified at idea of making music with Jools Holland

The pair also spoke about May's early tours with Jools Holland, when she was also booking shows in smaller venues alongside the tour to perform to more and more people.

"I really really wanted to do it. I really wanted to do it so badly," May said.

"And I just wanted to have gigs and play my own music and have people come. So I thought: 'If I fill it and if it's sold out, it looks great sold out'. 

Imelda May and Jools Holland arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London
Imelda May and Jools Holland arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. (PA)

"Then people who didn't get the ticket might buy the ticket quicker next time and then that worked as well. So I did that on the whole tour. 

"And Jools was really nice to let me put the fliers on the seat and invite them back and, and it worked."

Hear Imelda talk about her dad's creative home DIY solutions and her hilarious family holiday stories in the new episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

WATCH: Imelda May's hilarious red carpet mishap at the Meteor Music Awards

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