IF YOU'RE a fan of traditional Irish music but searching for something with a unique twist, look no further.
Two artists who moved to London to break out of their comfort zone found just what they were looking for when they blended their respective genres of Irish trad and American gospel to create something completely different: rebel pop.
Lisa, a singer and 7-time All Ireland Champion harp and banjo player from Hollymount, Co Mayo, already has a large following for her individual music, having shared the stage with the likes of Gavin James and Sinéad O'Connor.
And Dejay, a singer/songwriter from Bristol in the UK, has led an impressive career as a session musician, touring bass player and music producer who has worked with a number of artists in the UK.
The two have now combined their talents to create MOM, and are making waves across all genres as their newest single, the incredibly catchy Come By Me, sweeps the globe.
‘Church meets trad’ is a fairly unique genre-- how did your collaboration come about?
MOM: "MOM came to be one sunny June day 2016 at Battersea Park Studios, London; we had both, independently, moved to London that same week.
"We met, we clicked, we immediately began making music together. We then spent the next 3 months locked away in a small 6x10ft room, with one mic, one laptop, no sound-proofing and not a clue in the world!
"It could not have been more organic. We simply brought our own individual musical upbringings and tastes to the table, mixed in our shared desire to create something worthwhile for the Pop realm and we ended up with MOM.
"We hope that our music will prove that we, as a people, may have been wrong about some things-- we also plan to convince everybody that banjo is sexy af!"
While Irish trad and American gospel may not be the most common of collaborations, MOM say the two genres have more similarities than people realise.
MOM: "Both traditions have seen and survived many an attempt of oppression, and both Irish traditional music and Gospel music is music made to move you you.
"Both genres live and thrive in the community more than in any one individual, and both hold the utmost respect for what has gone before them-- plus Irish trad and Gospel gives their respective musicians such a great foundation in musical understanding, ability and performance so you can easily branch into any other style of music!"
MOM's newest single, Come By Me, was released on 12 June and has been shooting up the charts, having been picked up by BBC Introducing and topping the RTÉ Radio 1 Recommends List-- some achievement considering the debut track was developed and released while the pair were 800 miles apart.
MOM: "We had started making plans to release Come By Me just before lockdown.
"As other artists may have had to push back dates and releases, we decided to embrace the lockdown and use it as an opportunity to get as many people into MOM as possible. We couldn’t have imagined the social climate of the world would change so dramatically during the build-up to the release-- it's been an interesting experience for both of us."
But what do the fans think?
MOM: "[The reaction has been] incredible, we have been riding cloud 9!
"Even more meaningful to us are the lovely messages we are getting. People seem to really love the song. Many have said that they are even finding some solace in it through this difficult time.
"We’ve also received dozens upon dozens of videos with people dancing to the song. We love that it makes people dance-- MOM fans are the best!
The release of Come By Me has resulted in the MOM fanbase growing by over eleven times the size and the duo signing a distribution deal with Canadian music label BaselineMUSIC, thanks to the major buzz the fans were creating.
MOM: "[Because of the distribution deal] we had to reschedule the release for 2 weeks later than initially planned. We apologised to the fans but they were all so supportive, right up until release day when many of them posted a 'worth the wait' message along with the song."
Speaking of 'worth the wait', what are you most looking forward to doing when lockdown is over?
MOM: "Meeting all the wonderful people who have grown to love MOM during Lockdown! It's a monumental time in history so we will cherish these memories forever.
"And the moment the banjo starts playing the riff to Come By Me for the first time live should be a special moment!"
While the pandemic has ensured there are no gigs to look forward to for the time being, Lisa and Dejay are planning to get on the road as soon as possible, with an Irish tour coming "as soon as lockdown lifts", and the UK and US next on the list.