Derry musician Cara Quinn chats with Derry News about her latest single, musical aspirations and gigs post-pandemic

Derry musician Cara Quinn is set to graduate with her Masters of Music degree from Ulster University this summer as she officially releases her debut single, Pretty Promises.

Cara, originally from Newtownstewart, moved to Derry aged 19 to study her undergraduate music studies in Ulster, performing gigs across the city while studying.

The 22-year-old singer/songwriter has been writing music since she was a teenager and still gigs with original music.

Cara started writing her own music when she first picked up her guitar in her late teens and she has never looked back.

Drawing musical inspiration from Bon Iver, Lizzie McAlpine, James Bay and Dermot Kennedy, Cara writes her own songs based on her life and experiences.

Although music is not common in her family, Cara and her brother, Calum, are both pursuing their musical dreams. Cara wrote one of her favorite and most personal songs about her, Big Little Brother.

Cara hopes to continue recording and releasing her own music and concerts across the country to build her career and support her music.

With the incredible support of Maggie’s Farm Collective, which helps local musicians launch their music careers, Cara recorded and released her own music while studying.

Cara is set to graduate with a Masters of Music degree from Ulster University this summer

Speaking to Derry News, Cara said she would be forever grateful to Maggie’s Farm and the music community in Derry, “Derry is such a tight-knit and supportive music community for those just starting out,” she said .

“I hadn’t played before coming to Derry for college, but I’ve loved every minute of gigging since, Derry is the best place for musicians as we build our careers.

“I’ve been so lucky to still perform with my own music, it means a lot to me. It’s given me the experience and knowledge I need to grow as an original artist.

“I’ve noticed my confidence growing, both on stage and in my music, over the past few years, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in the next few years.”

When the pandemic hit, many musicians struggled to get their music out there because they couldn’t perform, including Cara. She has taken part in several virtual concerts but says nothing beats the feeling of returning to the stage.

Cara continued: “The virtual concert was a huge help for musicians during lockdown and in many ways musicians reached more people because it was online, but nothing beats the reaction and the crowd support during a performance.

“Performing live was a daunting idea at first a few years ago, but now I love it, I couldn’t wait to get back on stage after the pandemic.”

Cara is currently working on and recording an EP, branching out into writing and recording in the studio. She hopes to release three new songs in the coming months.

Cara’s recent single, her first official release, Pretty Promises, received a great response on Spotify, with Cara’s monthly listeners continuing to grow. Cara wrote the song for a short film produced by Magee’s film arts students. It was the first song she wrote that was not based on her own life.

Cara usually writes songs about her family, her childhood, her life in Derry and everything in between. Cara said she knew she wanted to write more about life as she continued her musical and personal journey: “All I can hope for is to continue to discover myself as an artist and achieve as much listeners as possible.

“I hope people love my music as much as I love creating it. This is the very beginning of my career, I don’t have high expectations, but I’m excited to see where this journey will take me.”

Cara recently supported the Lost Brothers on their last show and aims to pursue more opportunities like this as she continues to perform across town and beyond.

You can listen to Cara’s latest single, Pretty Promises, on Spotify.

You can also follow and support Cara and her music via her Instagram: @caraquinnmusic