The voice of generation Z

07/04/2022 · By Rafa Cervera
Irenegarry is one of the most anticipated up-and-coming young voices at the next edition of Mad Cool Festival
Irenegarry is one of the most anticipated up-and-coming young voices at the next edition of Mad Cool Festival. © Adriana Roslin

Crystal clear melodies, catchy choruses, and an irresistible voice. The music of Irenegarry sounds spontaneous and fresh, two must-haves to win the hearts of the young (and not so young). Her singles already have millions of streams and she’s appeared in the prestigious ‘NME’ magazine. Her performance at Mad Cool Festival —on Saturday the 9th of July— promises to be a turning point in her career.

Like thousands of young people, Irene Garrido (Elda, 1999) moved to Madrid six years ago to study. During this time, as well as finishing Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, this young 23-year-old has had time to turn into one of the up-and-coming talents on the Spanish music scene. This is no coincidence; she herself admits “you could see it coming” since she started playing guitar at the age of eight. But Irenegarry, which is her stage name, was born during lockdown, when her friends encouraged her to post a cover of Lana del Rey online and it ended up becoming viral. Now she’s recording in England with the producer of young stars, she’s on the NME 100, the prestigious music magazine’s list of essential emerging artists for 2022, and in July, we’ll see her play in Madrid as part of Mad Cool Festival’s line-up.

We’re talking about Irene Garrido, the person behind Irenegarry.
What I love the most in the world is music, and now I spend most of my time on it, I guess I’ll have to find another hobby (laughs). If I’m not playing or listening to music, what I most enjoy doing is spending time with my friends on a terrace with a glass of wine, and literally putting the world to rights. And reading. I love reading.

When did you realise you wanted to work in music? When does Irene Garrido become Irenegarry?
Irenegarry emerged exactly when I decided to record myself. I wasn’t sure what the project I was starting was exactly, or if it was solid even. I’m quite impulsive and my friends insisted, so one day I started uploading music. I didn’t think it’d be something I’d be able to live off for some time... Although really, I’ve been making music since I was eight. I guess you could sort of see it coming!

“Pressure comes more from proving to myself that this is really going somewhere and that I have the skills to do what I do”

How did your version of Lana del Rey, Puto normando, come about?
I wrote that version when Lana del Rey’s album first came out. I sent it to my best friend and told him: “I don’t think this rhymes that well, I’d love to record it in Spanish.” I translated the whole thing as literally as possible, but I didn’t record it until the lockdown imposed by the pandemic hit.

Did you imagine that a demo recorded as a WhatsApp voice note could have such a significant impact?
Not at all. Some friends that work in the music industry told me that it was a terrible idea, but I thought it was much worse to produce a song that was what it was: a 1-minute WhatsApp audio made for my friends.

From that moment, you turn into this viral phenomenon and become an emerging artist and people expect great things from you. Is all this a lot of pressure?
I don’t know. It’d be understandable if it were, right? But I think the pressure comes more from proving to myself that this is really going somewhere and that I have the skills to do what I do, that it’s not just luck and that’s it. The rest doesn't really overwhelm me so much because I’m still going to make music, no matter what happens.

The British magazine NME included you in their list of new talents for 2022, something unusual for Spanish music.
It was really cool! I loved seeing myself alongside people I admire so much. I’m incredibly grateful.

On the subject of talent, what is it for you?
There are many ways of understanding talent, I think. What I’m most interested in is related to each person’s ability to trust their intuition. The confidence of someone who you see doing their thing and think: “they’re in their lane”. I personally romanticise genius a lot... Which is tricky because that alone isn’t enough.

In July you’ll perform at Mad Cool and share the stage with big talents, who would you like to collaborate with if you had the chance?
Oof, that’s a tough question, but I’ll say Hope Tala, Phoebe Bridgers, Bikôkô… Many people really.

Mad Cool is a festival with a massive audience, how will you face going onstage in front of thousands of people? Are you nervous?
I’m both nervous and excited! I’ll prepare as much as possible and try to trust the work I’ve done these last few months. I think it’s the only thing I can do.

We’re going through turbulent times (pandemic, war, recession), how does this affect you as a song writer?
Sometimes writing or making music feels ridiculous knowing what’s happening in the world. But I think it’s normal. I literally write about what happens to me every day, about thoughts I have.

Would you say that feminism is an important part of what you do? Is it implicit in your music?
Feminism is indeed a part of who I am. Many of the decisions I’ve taken in my life have been motivated by political convictions related to gender.

“I’m dying to record an album, it’s part of my musical education, although I know the process will drive me to despair”

Which are the women who most inspire your talent, both within and outside of music?
My mother and grandmother, my AMORE friends and Hanna Grande, Hinds, Mélody Prochet, Issy Wood, Lava Larue, Samantha Hudson, Anne Carson, Marta Ochoa... And that’s just going over my conversations in the last few days. Girl power!

Last summer you went to London to record with producer Jamal Hadaway. How did this artistic relationship come about?
Jamal used to work with Hope Tala. I found him through her music. I wrote to him and sent him my demos, and everything was easy from there.

When will we hear Irenegarry’s first record? And on this topic, is recording an album still important to young musicians?
I’d love to know... Hopefully soon! Right now, I’ll stick with my little EP, which will be out in a few months. I think that nothing is indispensable in itself, but I think it’s interesting for any musician, young or old, to face a big challenge like an album. I think it’s part of a musician’s musical education to do something like this and at least I’m dying to do it, although I know the process will drive me to despair.