Thornton Pianos Present “The Superior Sessions”

The Superior Sessions launched in September 2020. With gigs being cancelled and venues all across the country having to close for a large part of 2020, The Superior Sessions provided a performance space for some of the best emerging and No. 1 selling musicians currently in Ireland. Recording live with the exceptional sound of Ritmüller pianos, we have put together an album, with support from the artists to raise funds for Minding Creative Minds. It is difficult at the best of times for musicians and creatives, we have seen first hand the effect the ongoing Covid related crises have had on artists and professionals in music this year. 100% of funds raised will be donated to MCM.

The album will be released on December 18th for €6.99 or higher through bandcamp. The album will also be available on popular streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music & Youtube Music.

Artists: Nathan Mac – Jacob Koopman – Muireann – Megan Burke – Gemma Cox – Colm Gavin

MCM to open up its services to the entire music sector

Minding Creative Minds (MCM), Ireland’s first 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music community launched in June for artists, songwriters, music managers  and event sector personnel. We are now thrilled to open up Minding Creative Minds (MCM) to the entire music sector with immediate effect.   Whatever your role within the music sector, we are here for you.  For example; are you a musician, artist, songwriter, artist manager, event production crew, work in music PR, marketing, event management, music admin or live venue staff?  If you or someone you know in this sector is in need of emotional support or someone to talk with about financial, career or legal matters please log onto

Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is a 32 county and Irish overseas well-being support programme.  MCM had hoped to open its programme to the full music sector by its first anniversary in June 2021.  Being able to expand to the entire sector some nine months ahead of our original schedule is beyond our expectations and we can now offer more assistance especially at this time as our industry’s personnel is also trying to deal with additional issues directly related to Covid-19.   The fast forwarding of this expansion is only possible due to continued support from our funding partners and being chosen as a beneficiary of EPIC Working Group’s ( fundraising initiative, Songs From An Empty Room held in July and ongoing We Are The Support Act fundraising initiatives


Of this expansion founder Dave Reid said, “We are delighted to announce the expansion of Minding Creative Minds which will give all musicians and people involved in all sectors of the Irish Music Sector the opportunity to mind their mental wellbeing and be able to contact qualified counsellors and experts in different fields such as financial planning, legal and career matters enabling expert advice and helping to manage personal issues they might be facing. Working in collaboration with our partner organisations we can now provide a credible support structure for the entire sector.


Musician and mental health advocate Niall Breslin (Bressie) says, “Music has always been the world’s greatest therapist, but sometimes those that provide such therapeutic comfort to others with their music, need some help of their own, and that’s why minding creative minds is so crucial “


Successful and respected singer, songwriter Gavin James says, “I am delighted to hear Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is now able to expand its services to all musicians and all people working in the full Irish Music Sector.  Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is a first of its kind for Ireland, it’s a free 24/7 wellness, counselling, financial and legal advice service.  Please make contact if you work in the music and live event sectors and need either emotional support or practical advice.  Minding Creative Minds is here for you and contacting them is easy, just log onto for all the details.”   

The Minding Creative Minds funding partners are First Fortnight (Lead Partner), IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation), IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association), MCD Productions, RAAP (Recorded Artists, Actors & Performers), Universal Music Ireland and the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland)

There has been a substantial uptake of users during the first three months of the Minding Creative Minds programme and of those who contacted the service 40% did so seeking mental health consultation with over 26% actually having either video or telephone counselling and over 37% wanted practical advice (career guidance, financial assistance, legal assistance and life coaching) During the first three months since its launch 55% of those who have contacted the MCM are women.  47% of MCM’s users are based in Dublin, over 10% in Munster, 12%+ from Connacht, close on 5% from Ulster and there have been people contacting the service from London also.

“During these very challenging times for the Live events industry with no clear roadmap for recovery, the services offered by Minding Creative Minds will be essential to so many. We will continue to do everything we can to support this great initiative and to spread the word so that all live events personnel know they are not alone and that this free 24/7 wellness, counselling, financial and legal advice service is available to help them and give much needed support in the weeks and months ahead.  At a time when we are most disconnected we want to support those who help connect us the most.”  Kim O Callaghan MCD Project Manager & Deputy Event Controller


In a first of its kind for Ireland’s creative sector, Minding Creative Minds (MCM) is a free 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector, delivered by Spectrum Life.


  • First dedicated wellbeing support programme for the Irish Music Sector 
  • Assisting the creative community through COVID-19 challenges and beyond

MCM is a Mental Wellbeing Support Programme and will include access to the following Wellbeing services.

  • 24/7 Dedicated Phone Line (Phone 1800 814 244) (Calling from NI – 0800 0903677)
  • Counselling Service (Short term intervention / Up to 6 Sessions)
  • Telephone Counselling
  • Secure Video Counselling
  • Extensive Web Portal & App enabling live chat function with a counsellor

In addition to the mental health support system offered, Minding Creative Minds wishes to look at the whole individual resulting in the programme also offering access to a number of additional services structured to help users with various issues they may face such as:

  • Advice on practical, day-to-day issues that cause anxiety and stress
  • Legal Assistance for a range of issues
  • Financial Assistance & Consumer Advice
  • Career Guidance & Life Coaching
  • Support for Non-Irish Nationals & their families
  • Mediation for conflict resolution
  • “As musicians and writers, we have always been susceptible to the stresses and strains that are part and parcel of the challenging environment that we call the music industry, but never before have we faced the level of uncertainty that is now before us.  Creative people, by our nature, have a particular set of pressures that are specific to our work and our nature. This comprehensive programme is specifically designed to cater for these issues.  I have no doubt that this initiative will save lives.” –  Eleanor McEvoy, IMRO Chairperson.


“If ever there was a right time to offer support to people affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic that time is now. We at the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) are helping to fund this great Mental Health initiative ‘Minding Creative Minds’ and we hope it will assist people in the music Industry to deal with the issues of mental wellbeing.” Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of IRMA


“Musicians and members of the creative sector, with their particular professional pressures and community standing, are likely to be experiencing both good and bad days – there may be moments of clarity alongside moments when it all feels too much. ‘Minding Creative Minds’ is here to provide you with the support you need at the time you need it. Launching on June 1st, ‘Minding Creative Minds’ is an independent, confidential, complimentary mental health support that is accessible to members of the music sector and their dependants across Ireland, at any time of the day or night. We hope that knowing this support is here for you gives you some solace on both the good and bad days which may lie ahead” Emelina Ellis, Clinical Lead Spectrum Life


Minding Creative Minds would also like to thank the following individuals who were part of the advisory panel assembled to help make this programme a reality; Ken Allen, Manager of James Vincent McMorrow & IRMA Board Member, Lynne Best, Board Member Oh Yeah  Music Centre, Belfast, Bressie, Artist & Co-Founder A Lust for Life,  Louize Carroll, Artist & Occupational Psychologist, Emma Matthews, Board Member First Fortnight, Alan McEvoy, Music & Entertainment Accountant, Eleanor McEvoy, Artist / Chairperson of IMRO, Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist, Kim O’ Callaghan (MCD and EPIC Working Group), Emma Olohan, Fundraising & Sponsorship Executive, Willie Ryan, Music & Media Lawyer Aoife Ruth, Psychotherapist, Educator & Researcher, Gary Sheehan, Head of Programming NCH, Ann Marie Shields, Head of Careers, Industry & Events BIMM College, Jack Williamson, Founder & CEO Music And You.

MCM – As featured on Songs From an Empty Room

Minding Creative Minds is delighted to have been chosen alongside the Association of Irish Stage Technicians ( as one of the industry initiatives who will be supported through the Songs From An Empty Room which appeared on RTE2 on Saturday July 25th.  Songs from an Empty Room was programmed by EPIC Working Group

Twenty (20) Irish bands and artists reunited with their production crew doing what they do best in a unique night of performances from The Olympia Theatre Dublin, Cyprus Avenue in Cork, Dolan’s Pub Limerick, INEC Arena at Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney and Róisín Dubh Pub Galway 


Featuring performances from              

Aimee, Gavin James, James Vincent McMorrow, Mother DJs, Noel Hogan (The Cranberries), Picture This, Soule, The Academic, The Blizzards, The Coronas, Lyra, Jafaris, Denise Chaila Lisa McHugh, Sorcha Richardson, The Stunning, Fia Moon 


The event was simulcast on RTE 2 Television, RTE 2FM and the RTE Player. #SongsFromAnEmptyRoom #WeAreTheSupportAct and funds raised by supporters donating €4 by texting  SONGS to 50300 together with making donations to a still active GoFundMe page.


Minding Creative Minds would like to thank everyone who was involved in this fantastic live event especially the artists and crew and is extremely thankful to the public who donated.


Special thanks to the following for your very kind donations

The Blizzards
Eoghan McDermott

Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown

Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown“Throughout the pandemic and generally in times when the world gets tough on people music and musicians can often be the greatest therapists. Unknowingly they support and guide many of us through these difficult times but right now musicians and their vast team of crew from sound engineers to stage managers need help more than most with their entire industry unable to work. It’s because of this I am delighted to have “The Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown” release support the Irish Live Event Industry Crew through two great initiatives – Minding Creative Minds and the AIST (Association of Irish Stage Technicians) Hardship Fund. I am encouraging anyone who enjoys The Lockdown Ukulele Project to go to the ‘We Are The Support Act’ Go Fund Me Page and donate what they can.” – Niall Breslin

As we continue to grapple with social distancing and the changes that 2020 has thrown at us, it is more important than ever to know how to take care of one’s mental health; whether that’s listening to a favourite band, playing a musical instrument, getting outside, or taking a few moments to meditate. For Where is My Mind? host and presenter Niall Breslin, the positive influence that music can have on one’s mental health propelled him to create a special lockdown initiative: the ‘Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown’. To coincide with the release of the ‘Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown’ track, research was commissioned to look at the potential benefits that playing an instrument can have on the soul. It found that 89% of UK adults who regularly play an instrument feel it positively affects their mental health: more than half of us (56%) felt relaxed, 48% felt satisfaction, 43% felt peaceful and just over a third suggested playing music gives them a sense of purpose in life. To bring this to life, as well as to give listeners the tools they need to create music of their own, Breslin and his team bought more than 400 ukuleles and gifted them to individuals currently working on coping with their mental health. The budding musicians set off to hone their new skill, learning to play the song “ Home ” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros . After a few weeks of practice, the ukulele players came together — albeit at a distance— for a chance to record themselves on a brand new track and special music video set to coincide with a Where Is My Mind? podcast episode on the topic of music and mental health.

The recording features 400 budding Irish ukulele players, professional musicians, choir singers, Niall’s band The Blizzards , and some special Irish artists as guests. The lockdown track will drop on the Where is My Mind? podcast on Monday 27th July. The episode itself goes behind the scenes to follow the creation of the world’s first ever “Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown” band – with the episode providing the tools listeners need to learn an instrument at home and explaining the healing power of music. Dublin residents Emma Cooke and her dad both took part in the ‘Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown’: the pair were socially isolating together as Emma had been classified as high risk due to her ongoing chemotherapy, leading to feelings of anxiousness and concern about what lay ahead.

Emma Cooke, ‘Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown’ band member commented, “To keep myself strong and sane, I practiced yoga, mindfulness and continued with my hobbies. Learning the ukulele was such a challenge, but like anything you just have to stick with it, follow the advice and stay focused. Not thinking about the news or being attached to social media was hugely satisfying and gave me a sense of purpose. I will definitely continue playing, and would encourage anyone who finds themself in isolation, and facing challenges with their mental health to do the same. ”

Niall Breslin, musician, mindfulness expert and host of Spotify exclusive Where Is My Mind? said, “Music is an incredible unifier. I knew that sharing a musical journey would lift people’s spirits in a way that so little else could in the context of what was going on in the world. Now when I listen to the song we created, all together – all the voices, the whistles, the strumming, the singing, the energy – the love just comes right through the music. All of us, in our homes, all dealing with one of the scariest times in our lives; we all came together, we all came home, through this song.”

With 75% of those polled saying they specifically play their chosen instrument as a way of unwinding or de-stressing, when asked when most likely to play their chosen instrument, over half of (54%) said after a stressful day at work, 34% when worrying about money and 30% most likely to play when stressing about an upcoming event. The ‘Lockdown Ukulele Rockdown’ episode will mark the final episode of Season 2 of Where Is My Mind which has seen Niall and his guests explore different coping skills for the ever-changing, always-on, challenging world we’re now living in; from nature, to laughter, to love. The podcast won creative podcast of the year at the British Podcast Awards earlier this month.

A support-system for the Irish Music Sector – and beyond…

Last month saw the long-awaited launch of a free 24/7 mental wellbeing programme for Ireland’s musicians, songwriters, artist managers and event production crew – spanning the full length and breadth of the island – and enabling support for estimated 20,000 people in the process.


It’s the first phase of what will hopefully in time – if proven successful and the necessary financial supports provided – become a service rolled out to the entirety of Ireland’s globally renowned creative communities including (but not limited to) theatre, film and visual artists. The launch of the service, due initially in late summer this year, was brought forward in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic that’s had such a devastating impact across the music sector. Live work has been decimated, and as such income for many independent artists and their crews have stopped without notice – alongside clarity as to what the future holds for many careers in the process.

The service, crucially free to those who use it, covers access to a range of wellbeing services including a 24/7 dedicated phone line, in-person / telephone / video counselling, and an extensive web portal and app – enabling live chat function to ensure that the service is accessible from every region of the country. In addition to mental health support, the service can be utilised as a practical day-to-day resource – including legal assistance, financial & career guidance, consumer advice, life coaching, support for non-Irish nationals and their families, and mediation towards conflict resolution. As an all-inclusive service, it aims to be both preventative and reactive in its approach to supporting users.


It’s the brainchild of David Reid, co-founder & organiser of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize, and also involved with First Fortnight – a national charity that has been challenging mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action since 2010. Last year First Fortnight conducted a comprehensive survey amongst the music & creative community in relation to mental health and the responses were stark. 91% of respondents said that they had experienced anxiety, depression, or mental ill-health. 95% agreed there was a need for a dedicated mental wellbeing support programme for members of the Irish Music & Creative Community. Further proof, if necessary, of the importance of the service for communities we have historically held in such high regard.


Artists have come on board immediately, most recently with high-profile support from Kodaline – who highlighted MCM as their chosen charity as part of their recent Other Voices #Courage2020 live streamed performance – alongside notable praise of the service from James Vincent McMorrowFlynn,
VillagersTRUE TIDES and All Tvinns – to name but a few. Widespread heavyweight support has also been backed up by funding from notable Irish Music Industry bodies – including from IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation), Universal Music IrelandRAAP (Recorded Artists, Actors & Performers), The BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland), and IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Association) to ensure its survival.


The service ultimately aims to provide support for those who need it most – and become a permanent fixture in the support-system for the creative community that Ireland so desperately deserves.