Photo: Mattias De Smet
An Irish singer-songwriter/guitarist based in Gent, Daithi has been performing full-time in music for over 25 years through many projects and collaborations. His YouTube channel ‘Songs from the Rua Room’ showcases singer-songwriters from Belgium and beyond. And we are lucky enough to have him as a guitar teacher this fall!
/ is there a person that particularly inspired you during your own musical journey?
Growing up in Ireland, I was surrounded by amazing singers and musicians so inspiration was never difficult to find. I was lucky enough to have parents who were amateur musicians. They taught me my first guitar chords and songs and set me on my musical path. I was even luckier to have a school teacher (who was also a guitar teacher) as a 9 year old who developed my chops even more and who is one of the reasons that by the time I was a teenager, I was doing my first gigs.
/ how did you end up in Gent?
After about 5 years of going back and forth between Ireland and Belgium to sing songs and having met a mooi meisje, I knew that Belgium was going to be good for me. I discovered Gent early on and felt immediately at home here. I love its musical, artistic and historical vibes. I plan to stay as long as they say I can stay!
/ how did you come up with the Rua Room idea?
The Rua Room is my YouTube Channel dedicated to singer-songwriters from Belgium and beyond. It is based out of my home studio here in Gent. The idea is not a new one as there are several of these type of channels out there and I’ve performed on a fair few myself over the years.
I decided to start it because I like the idea of giving new (and known) artists a chance to be heard and to introduce them to my own loyal fanbase out there. I’m lucky to know so many great singer-songwriters in Gent and in the industry in general. I’m getting to meet new ones all the time though this project and hear great new songs. I love that.
/ how does one become a guest in the Rua Room?
Guests at the Rua Room are usually chosen by me, either from knowing the artists work already or having been introduced to it. Sometimes a singer-songwriter will email me with samples of their work for my consideration. The only real criterium I have is that you must have written the song yourself and be able to perform it live to a high standard.
/ who was the most memorable visitor of the Rua Room to you so far?
I would have to say Davóg Rynn. One of the first Irish artists to perform in the room, Davóg is a bit like a brother from another mother. Although mainly a poet and singer, he has written some fine songs and we had a great time drinking tea and chatting about life on and off the road. Davóg, like myself, comes from a big musical background and it’s nice to see him touring up this direction more and more. Make sure to check his songs and poetry out. You won’t be disappointed!
/ if you could pick one musician (dead or alive) to record with, who would it be?
I think one of the biggest names in songwriting in the world and someone whom most of us would aspire to, would be Leonard Cohen. If I had to pick one of the many many greats to work with it would be him. I feel like he’d be the kind of man you would learn so much from, even if you never actually wrote anything with him. You could be out digging potatoes with him and you’d come back home enlightened.
/ what is to you the most common misconception amongst people who want to learn to be a musician?
I think the most common misconception is to think you can’t do it. I’m not a trained musician of any sort. I learned by watching other musicians and getting lessons and tips from them. Music, like all art, is therapeutic and you don’t have to be a master talent at it to start doing it. It has its own value to the creator and it’s worth trying, even if it’s just for yourself in your own bedroom.
/ what are your own expectations for the guitar courses you will teach at WISPER?
My main expectation is that people will come to learn and to enjoy the course. I get a lot of satisfaction when I see the progress students make, especially the ones who think they cannot do it at the start. What makes me a happy teacher, is knowing the student has as much passion about learning as I do about teaching.
Sure, it takes a lot of self-discipline and homework to really learn any instrument to a basic level. But experience tells me that the majority of those who put in the effort will give themselves a gift that will stay with them forever, a gift that never goes out of fashion and the more they put in, the more they get back.
Click here to see our current guitar courses with Daithi (beginners & advanced).