Susie-Blue, has emerged as one of Derry/Londonderry’s brightest new talents in recent months.
An early learner musically, Donaghy’s father bought her first guitar when she was seven, but it wasn’t until the family relocated to Derry/Londonderry a couple of years later that her musical education began in earnest. ‘My dad taught me the first few chords for ‘Sloop John B’ by The Beach Boys,’ Donaghy recalls fondly, ‘and after that I just ran with it and started singing, too.’
Six years later, Donaghy found herself delving into original songwriting. She found the process enlightening and restorative, and used it as an outlet to vent her troubles, express her doubts and fears, anger and pain. It became a habit. ‘I just kept writing,’ she says. ‘It was an amazing way to get out the things that were annoying me. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s true.’
The toils of teenhood sparked her interest in writing, but Donaghy was less keen on performing in public. In a bid to overcome stage fright, she decided to create a new persona for herself, taking influence from Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s hard boiled heroine, Lisbeth Salander, from his Millennium Trilogy – a favourite character of Donaghy’s.
‘I needed an alter-ego to be able to go up in front of people,’ Donaghy explains. ‘It made it much easier. And when I was thinking of starting my solo career, I turned to the person I get a lot of advice from, Jilly St John of Derry/Londonderry pop rockers Wyldling, and told her my childhood nickname was Susie Blue. She said she loved it and I trust her, so it stuck.’