03 Oct 2022

Offaly singer a massive hit as guest on Tommy Tiernan Show

Offaly singer a massive hit as guest on Tommy Tiernan Show

Presenter Tommy Tiernan having the craic with Longford's Felicia Olusanya (FeliSpeaks) and Tullamore's Tolü Makay

Tullamore singer Tolu Makay and Longford artist Felicia Olusanya (FeliSpeaks) proved to be a massive hit with viewers of the hugely popular Tommy Tiernan Show on RTÉ One on Saturday night.

Twitter and social media platforms lit up with praise from people who were bowled over by the pair's talent, energy and enthusiasm, and many were calling for the state broadcaster to give them their own chat show!

Nicola Coughlan of Derry Girls and Bridgerton fame tweeted: "You two are just absolute sunshine, my mum is a midlander and she’s delighted with herself seeing two of the midlands own being brilliant on the telly!"

Longford's Síona Cahill tweeted that they were "the breath of fresh joy and gorgeousness and art that we all need. The conversation flowed so well and so joyfully that I could have watched the chats all night."

Doireann Garrihy tweeted that she 'obsessed with the craic Felicia and Tolu are having'. 

Tolü Makay shot to prominence recently with her incredible cover of the Saw Doctors classic, N17, accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. 

FeliSpeaks, was born in Ogun State in southwestern Nigeria. She and her mother moved to Longford in 2003, when she was eight years old. She attended Maynooth University, where she studied English and sociology. 

Her poem "For Our Mothers” is on the 2021–2023 Leaving Certificate English curriculum.

Show presenter Tommy Tiernan asked FeliSpeaks to recite her poem and she did, prompting Maïa Dunphy to hail it as 'breathtaking', while Róis Ní Fhloinn said the poem was 'amazing' and 'apt' on the eve of Mother's Day. 

Watch FeliSpeaks reciting her poem "For Our Mothers"

FeliSpeaks told Tommy Tiernan: "I think in our community, we're good examples. What I love about the Black Irish community, in the older generation specifically, beforehand they don't tell you to go for poetry and singing.

"They say, 'Go and read your medical books, go and be a lawyer now. This is going to bring you money'. But now that we've gone out of our way to do the non-conventional thing and we look like we're doing good at mum is proud."

She also spoke of what being Black and Irish means. "We're both born in Nigeria and moved here as children. I suppose I'm Nigerian-born but Ireland formed a lot of our personalities. There's just quirks and jokes that we straddle both fences on. You're nearly too black to be Irish but too Irish to be Nigerian."

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