With the release of her brand new single ‘This Is Your Life’, Una Healy encourages all lost souls, struggling to find their place in the world, to stand strong in the face of their fears, and embrace the beauty of the unknown, for letting go of such crippling anxieties may just be the awakening they need to finally live the life they’ve always dreamed!
This Is Your Life (Official Music Video)
Produced, recorded and mixed by Martin Quinn, and co-written by Anna Krantz (Ed Sheeran, Maren Morris) and Healy, the beautifully uplifting and transcendent pop track sees the Irish singer-songwriter takes listeners on a deeply personal journey, through the evolution of a persons mind as, with age, they gain the knowledge and perspective to know what they want out of life.
“I originally started writing ‘This Is Your Life’ nearly 25 years ago as a teenager, just beginning my career as a singer/songwriter.” A clearly nostalgic Una says as we settle down to talk about the new single. “It’s a song all about those mistakes you make to work out who you are, and what you want out of life. Even when life may feel difficult or even hopeless at times, you have to remember that without those struggles, you may never truly know what brings you joy.”
Serving as her first solo musical release in over a year, the unveiling of the single comes as Healy continues to host the Saturday Breakfast Show on Bauer’s Country Hits radio, and work on the expansion of her successful range of shoes, the Una Healy Original Collection, which since its launch back in 2018 has won universal praise for its wide-ranging mix of styles, classic designs and affordable price points.
Almost two years on since our last chat we caught up with Una to talk new music, teenage dreams, the importance of learning to appreciating life and why she’s feeling ready to return to the dance-floor…
Una, you’re back with new music! ‘This is Your Life’ was released earlier this month and we LOVE it! It’s life-affirming, reassuring, comforting and almost like a guiding hand leading us out of the dark, and back into the light… it’s all of the things we need to hear, and feel right now!
That’s a really lovely way to describe the song, thank you very much! I think it’s been close to a year since I last released any new music, so I felt like I wanted to comeback with a song that could hopefully be of comfort to people, because I think we’re all now realising just how unpredictable and tough life can be aren’t we? ‘This Is Your Life’ is really special to me, when I originally wrote it at only 15-years-old, I obviously realised how precious life was, but I think it took for me to live more life to realise just complex it can be. Obviously the goal is to be happy right? But it’s not possible to happy all of the time, we have to suffer and we have to go through difficult times, but that doesn’t mean we’re failures or our lives are terrible, it just means there’s a lesson we need to learn in order to grow and become a better version of ourselves. At the end of the day we only have one life, and it’s so beautiful, and there’s so much to celebrate about being alive – I don’t want people to ever forget that because our time on earth is precious.
It makes us smile to think of teenage Una up in her bedroom, writing music, and daydreaming of one day becoming a popstar… if only she knew what was to come! How surreal is it for you to be revisiting and releasing some of your original compositions as a super successful, bonafide recording artist almost 15 years into your career as a musician?
My goodness it’s so funny that you say that because I was actually in my bedroom when I originally wrote ‘This Is Your Life’! I can remember so vividly lying on my bed, writing in my notepad about life and what it meant to me, and how I felt I needed to appreciate it more. I don’t quite know what inspired me to feel that way at the time, or why I chose to write such deep lyrics, but I’m glad I did because if I hadn’t then I wouldn’t have this track.
How does the finished version we hear today differ from the original?
That’s a good question! I would say in it’s original form, it was a very long song (laughs). I think it had 3 three verses, a middle 8 and maybe 2 different choruses – there was clearly a lot I was trying to say! It’s funny because of all the music I’ve written over the years, this particular song always stayed with me, and it’s a demo I’ve gone back to and revisited many times over the years, but never quite managed to get it finished. Then a few months ago I went into the studio with Anna Krantz, who is an amazing singer-songwriter, and I played her the original idea and we both felt like it was a great concept to develop and now I feel like it’s been given this wonderful new lease of life!
Does completing the song in some ways feel like you’re reconnecting with your younger self?
Yeah, it does feel a little bit like that actually, which is nice, it’s kind of like one of those full circle moment.
It’s a very mature lyric for a 15-year-old to have written, but from a performance perspective, you perhaps needed to go through certain things to get a place where you can now sing and deliver the song with real conviction…
Oh definitely! All of the things I’ve experienced in my life, good and bad, help me to become a better singer and performer – my journey hasn’t been perfect, nobodies is! I say that because I think there’s this feeling we all have within ourselves where believe our lives are a mess, but everyone else’s lives are perfect – and trust me, that’s just not the case! Nobodies life is plain sailing, all of the time – we all have our ups, our downs, our highs, our lows and our in-betweens, that’s what life is, and it’s not easy… for anybody! I know we might look at certain people and think: “oh they’ve got it easy!” but none of us know what really goes on behind closed doors, we don’t know peoples stories, we don’t know what they’re dealing with mentally, so we just have to focus on ourselves and be appreciative of the good moments we’re blessed to have, and then hopefully learn from the bad ones.
There’s no denying the sentiment of the song will resonate with people of all ages! How important is to you that you convey these sorts of universal messages in your music?
It’s very important. As a songwriter I like to tell stories that everybody can identity with, and hopefully relate to. I don’t ever like to get so personal to the point where people feel like they’re reading a page out of my diary because I think that’s when some of magic gets lost, and there becomes too much of a conversation surrounding who or what I might be singing about. Like you say, there always has to be that sort of universal feeling to a song, so that anybody listening can then apply it to their own lives, and as a result feel not so alone.
You’re also really bringing proper musical structure back to pop music which we love!
Ahh I love that you say that! Yeah, I mean just like we were saying about the lyrics and the overall message of the song being quite universal and everlasting, I like to think musically there are elements in the melodies, and backing track of the song itself that feel quite timeless too. I worked with an amazing producer here in Ireland called Martin Quinn, and we really spent quite a bit of time trying to perfect the overall presentation of the track so that the music, separate from the lyrics, could tell a story of its own. So the song opens with a sort of heaviness to it, that reflects the suffering and uncertainly we all experience when things don’t feel to be going our way. But then as the track builds, and the orchestration becomes fuller and the melodies lighter, we arrive in this celebratory place that just exudes positivity, and mirrors that peaceful state of mind we sit comfortably in when life is good and we appreciate all of our blessings.
Nobodies journey is perfect – we all have our ups, our downs, our highs, our lows and our in-betweens, that’s what life is, and it’s not easy… for anybody!
Una on learning to accept the unpredictability of modern life.
It’s been a minute since you’ve put out any new music, how did you feel in the build up to the singles release?
Do you know what, I actually felt ok! And I think that’s because my outlook on things has changed quite a lot, and I no longer worry about things beyond my control. So I wasn’t thinking about the charts, I wasn’t thinking about streaming numbers, I was simply wanting to put this song out into the world for no other reason than the fact that I felt like it might be of help to anybody out there who’s either struggling or feeling like they’ve lost all hope. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always feel some sort of nervous energy, I know that’s never going to change (laughs), but for me, at this stage in my career, I just want my music touch people, that’s all I hope for now, and if it does that then I’ll be happy.
Good music will always find its way to people…
Exactly! In todays market you just can’t predict when a song is going to take off – I mean look at the success of Kate Bush and “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” after it was played in that episode of Stranger Things! Wasn’t it like number one in the UK for a few weeks, 30+ years after it was first released? Isn’t that mad?! It’s so different to how it was when we first started out in The Saturdays! Back then we’d put a single out and be watching the iTunes charts all day, everyday, the week it was released, constantly refreshing our feeds to see if it had gone up or down the charts because in those days it was all about where your song debuted in the charts; like you had to get that spot in the top 10 or it might be over! I don’t think there’s that pressure on artists anymore which is nice… I also think it gives artists the freedom to be a bit more creative and experimental!
Is being more “creative and experimental” something you look forward to being when working on new material in the future?
Most definitely! One of the most exciting things about doing what I do, is being able to experiment and try new things musically. One of the main reasons why my first solo album ‘The Waiting Game’ had such a country feel to it was because after doing dance/pop for so many years in the band, I felt ready for a complete change, and because I was fortunate enough to be in the position to have the creative freedom to do whatever I wanted, I decided to go back to my roots as a singer/songwriter and explore that style and sound again. Moving forward I think I’d quite like to make some real dance tunes – and maybe even try doing some pop tracks again! It might be quite fun to see what a solo Una Healy pop record sounds like… basically I just want to do it all (laughs).
Isn’t that what life’s all about – having fun and trying new things?
I think so – I’m all about trying new things and exploring different paths right now! I know it’s not always easy for people to go outside of their comfort zone, but it’s amazing the things you can learn and discover when you do! Take presenting for example, I was so nervous the first time I tried it, but now I have my Saturday Breakfast Show on Bauer’s Country Hits radio, and I absolutely love it! But had I never put myself out there and given it a go in the first place, I would have never known because up until that point I’d just assumed my main, and maybe only passion in life was music.
What advice would you give to anybody who’s struggling to find both their passion, and their place in the world?
Wow, ok so I don’t think there’s any real or easy answer to this question because everybody’s lives and situations are different. For me, I think it’s really important to enjoy what you do, so finding out what you love in life is key. And I guess from there it’s all about trying to find the right place, and an environment that you feel comfortable being in. One thing that I would like to say on this topic, because I think it’s important, is that you’re never too stuck in a situation to get yourself out of it! When I was younger a lot of the people who went off to university felt that whatever they’d studied in those 3 / 4 years, was what they then had to then do forever, and I just don’t think that’s the case! There’s no shame in ever saying “this isn’t working for me anymore, I want to try something else.” It doesn’t matter what age you are, or what anyone else around is doing, YOU have to be happy with the choices you’re making, and it’s ok to try lots of different things before deciding on the one thing that works for you.
As the song says: “This is your life, get it wrong and get it right, it’s yours to make beautiful mistakes, it’s a river let it flow but just don’t let it go…”
Exactly! No one else can live your life but you – you are the one that’s in control, don’t ever forget that!
“This Is Your Life” is available to download / stream on all major digital platforms now