Getting Ready with Elaine Mai and MuRli – interview

Elaine Mai and MuRli were brought together as part of the Jameson Connects campaign, who challenged these two singular artists to create a song that would be performed live for the very first time at All Together Now, one of the highlights of Ireland’s festival calendar. The outcome was the upbeat and inspiring song ‘Ready’, with MuRli’s stunning vocals and Mai’s incredible production resulting in something truly special.

The track was created from a guitar sample by MuRli that Mai expanded on to produce the rest of the music. Once MuRli added the lyrics and vocals, the track was ready to be performed exclusively to the crowds at All Together Now on the final night of the festival.

‘Ready’ draws on a number of influences as well as the unique artistic styles of Elaine Mai and MuRli. This dancefloor filler is propelled forward by Mai’s catchy synth lines and MuRli’s unmistakable vocals and lyrics: an uplifting and empowering synthpop banger that compels the listener.

Thematically, the track draws on the reality of aspiring for greater things in spite of the cards one’s been dealt. At times you can only work with what’s in front of you, the rest is out of your control so there’s no better time than the now! When you can think about it, you are ready. ‘Ready’ is your new antidote to procrastination.

Hey guys! Thanks for talking to us… where in the world do we find you today?

Elaine: Hey, thanks for having us! I’m in Dublin right now. There’s definitely an Autumn chill in the air, but it’s nice. I’m not a hot weather person, so that suits me just fine.

MuRli: Hi and thank you for chatting to us! I am at home in Limerick listening to the new Lil Silva album which is doing me all the good so far.

When did you first fall in love with music?

Elaine: I can’t really remember a time that I didn’t love music, but I think when I started singing in a choir as a kid it was the first time I can remember the passion I would have for music really growing in me. We competed in competitions here in Ireland and it was a serious buzz. I loved that everyone had a part to play and that when it all came together it sounded incredible.

MuRli: Yeah, just like Elaine, I feel like I’ve always loved music but if I have to pinpoint a moment in my life when I felt immersed into it the most I would say when I was like 10 and myself and a few friends started a little dance group together and we would be listening to songs on repeat trying to come up with a choreography or watch music videos to learn different moves. At that moment, music was pretty much part of everything I did, whether it was allowed or not.

What have been some of the proudest moments of your career to date?

Elaine: Releasing my debut album ‘Home’ last year and having both the album and lead single ‘No Forever (feat. MayKay)’ nominated for the Choice Music Prize album and song of the year was so amazing. It had always been a goal of mine and it felt like a huge achievement.

MuRli: I’ve always dreamed of starting a label with my mates where we can put out all our crazy ideas and seeing that dream come to life slowly over the last couple of years, fills me with life and hope. I’m very proud of what we have achieved as narolane even at this early stage. There are many highlights but what almost brings me to tears is seeing myself in all of these places, stages and rooms and realising I’m here because of the music I make, that is quite something.

Had you ever crossed paths before you were brought together for Ready?

Elaine: We didn’t know each other, but I absolutely knew of MuRli and his music. He’s built a serious reputation for himself and I jumped at the opportunity to work with him. I’m actually really glad it happened in the way it did because it felt really easy and laid back and we really vibed off each other from the start.

MuRli: Thank you for the kind words Elaine, but equality I was familiar with Elaine’s work and I knew how well respected she was in industry but we had never actually interacted until this project.What do you feel you each bring to the new collaboration? Were there any specific things you both wanted to achieve with the record?

Elaine: I wanted it to incorporate both of our styles and represent our individual sounds coming together. I think you can hear that it’s an Elaine Mai and MuRli record and I love that. For my part, I used the synth and beats to emphasize a sample MuRli had created, then he then added the melody, lyrics, and vocals and it all just worked which was a buzz.

MuRli: Yes! We purposely never discussed a style or direction prior to getting in the studio. We just went with it, confident that whatever we each feel inspired to do would work and that’s exactly what happened. I initially thought I was going to rap, but in the end I didn’t and I’m very satisfied with what I ended up doing with it.

Did you spend a lot of time together in the studio, or was it mostly done remotely?

Elaine: We had one jam session together and the rest was remote. Voicenotes, emails, and files back and over and we got there really easily. That allowed us to focus on our performance at the All Together Now festival in Ireland. Here, we played the track live for the very first time to a festival audience and it was so much fun!

MuRli: That’s right!

You must have played the record out quite a few times now, but do you think that first performance will always be special?

Elaine: Absolutely. The track didn’t exist just a few weeks before that, so it was a serious buzz to perform something brand new, with a brilliant artist at a class festival for the first time!

MuRli: I think so, because it would always be the only time we would have felt that. We weren’t exactly sure if the song was finished or not. I wasn’t too familiar with the lyrics just yet and we hadn’t had time to rehearse it either so there were many factors at play that made that performance very memorable and it was also maybe the moment we knew for sure that we had a great track.

What else should we be looking out for from you this year? Will you be working on new music together?

Elaine: I have a few more live dates and then I’ll be mainly focusing on writing new music, so stay tuned!

MuRli: It’s been a busy year so I’m looking forward to some downtime and then getting back in the studio early next year. In the meantime though, I do have a collaborative project with narolane, coming out soon. That’s myself, Denise Chaila and God Knows and friends. It’s heavy!

Finally – what, for you, is the best house record ever made?

Elaine: What a question! To avoid any controversy I’ll just go for my personal fave – Your Love by Frankie Knuckles. I’ve had so many amazing nights out where this tune was played and it gets me every time.

MuRli: Hahahaaaa I’m gonna go with Chic ‘Good Times’ because of how great it still sounds today and how impactful a record it is. I think because it’s so well known it may be ironically underrated a bit but I think it’s a stunner!

Ready is out now – listen & buy