For Erica Cody, music is always something that she wanted to do.
The 25-year-old is the co-presenter of the new RTE music show The Main Stage, which kicks off on Friday night.
The Dubliner told Chic that she knew she wanted to be a singer from a young age — and now, it’s taking her into “a brand new era for me”.
Read more: Erica Cody says learning how to dance on DWTS helped her manage her anxiety
She said, “I knew being a singer was what I’d always wanted to do. I’d always been songwriting from a really young age and it just progressed and evolved from there — and now, here I am.”
The Gratitude singer told how she has “so many early musical memories” from over the years to choose from — as she opened up about how songwriting has always been cathartic for her.
Erica recalled thinking if music was something she could do as a career, it would be a “bonus” — but that she would “always be doing [music] for a reason”.
She explained, “Music is something that I always just did and so it’s hard to recount all the way back.
“I do remember that when I was writing songs, it just feels really cathartic for me. I was like, ‘if this is something that I can make a career, that’s just a bonus — but I’ll always be doing it for a reason’. And that’s always been because it’s been cathartic for me.
“When I noticed that it was hitting people in a different way as well, it was just a great payoff. I felt like I got the best of both worlds.”
And while there have been many musicians and performers who have inspired her, Erica said that there was one in particular who is “one of the main reasons why I started music”.
She said of her musical inspirations, “Stevie Wonder, absolutely. And Lauryn Hill, SWV, Beyoncé, Rihanna — the list can just go on and on.
“But I’d definitely say Stevie Wonder, he’s one of the main reasons why I started music.”
It’s been a busy few months for the singer-songwriter, following the release of her latest EP Love & Light in October 2021.
Erica said, “I did Dancing With The Stars off the back of releasing that EP — and it’s kind of been all go, go, go. Then this show, The Main Stage, came up and we haven’t really stopped since.
“My first headline show back after restrictions were lifted was in April — it was amazing. It was great to see people back out again. I think that people have a lot of catching up to do, especially with music — there’s a lot of tours and shows that we need to catch up on.
“It’s great to be back — and we can really do what we do best again.”
Erica added that “life is great now”,
She added, “I’m really grateful — I’m very content, and I’m just very happy to be where I’m at now with my life and my career.”
Erica will next be seen on-screen as one of the co-presenters of The Main Stage, which begins on RTE One this Friday night.
And, for the Back to Basics hitmaker, it’s something that is “quite special” to be a part of.
She said, “I say it all the time as a black Irish woman — representation is everything. It’s hopefully breaking down more barriers, and showing that there’s room for everyone in the industry and that we are progressing.
“That was pretty cool to find out and a fact that I’ve just learned. I’m still wrapping my head around it — it’s quite special.”
Erica opened up about how she got involved in the program — and how she and Danny O’Reilly “jumped at the opportunity” after being approached by producers.
She explained, “Obviously, I’m a musician and that’s my trade — that’s what I do. The producers reached out to me and were just like, ‘we’ve got this idea with you and Danny, and we’d love you to be a part of it’.
“The two of us just jumped at the opportunity and the rest is history, you know?”
The Baldoyle native added that it was “super exciting” to have the show finally hit screens this week — and opened up about the differences between taking to the stage as a performer and her hosting role.
She said, “It’s the same but different. I just bring my experience of being a performer into the show, because obviously we have a crowd there — we have an audience that has to be entertained.
“That’s our job, to bring them into our home and make them feel comfortable but also to have a good time. That’s the main objective of The Main Stage.
“I just love to have fun and that’s what the show is all about. It has a Top for the Pops kind of vibe to it — and we keep reminding people that like, look, we know you’re on TV, but you’re also at a gig as well. So just do what you would do naturally if you were at a show; nothing is too much. It’s been amazing.”
Described as a “musical mash up with a modern twist”, The Main Stage promises plenty of incredible live performances and interviews, as well as plenty of craic.
A celebration of Irish artists from the worlds of Rock, Folk, Trad and RnB, the Friday night program will be a delight for music fans.
And with plenty of incredible performances in store throughout the six-part series, Erica opened up about how they could “fill up five seasons of the show” with the talent they had seen.
The Love & Light singer also shared how the wealth of talent around the country means it would be impossible to pick just one dream act to appear on the show.
She said, “I don’t know if I want to give that away just yet! There’s so much talent out there, obviously, that we had been thinking of — particularly as we wanted to do a balance of established acts, and highlighting up-and-coming or emerging acts as well. That was really important to us.
“I think that after the list of people we’ve seen, we could fill up five seasons of the show. It’s hard to pick because there’s just so much talent out there, and I feel like I’d be leaving someone out if I had to name just one.”
Erica told how it was particularly important to be able to highlight new talent alongside the established acts on the program — and noted how vital it is that “homegrown talent needs to be nurtured from the grassroots up”.
She explained, “That was one of the things, I think, that was really important to us during the show — to showcase what talents we have coming up and what we’ve been enjoying over the years.
“I think it’s really important to give the emerging artists in Ireland that platform because, a lot of the time, it takes artists going and breaking the likes of the US or the UK and then coming back for the public to get behind them.
“And that homegrown talent, it needs to be nurtured from the grassroots up — and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the show. So far so good, I hope.”
And while the year may only be halfway through, it’s been packed with some memorable moments for the Dubliner — including two “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities, which she is “really grateful” for.
Erica opened up about the highlights of 2022 so far — and how while the year began on “such a high”, things can only continue to get better and better from here on out.
Particularly with some of the things she has in the pipeline for after the show.
She continued, “I would definitely have to say Dancing With The Stars and The Main Stage would be highlights — but the year’s not over yet. We’re only halfway through. This year has just started on such a high that I feel like it can only get better from here.
“And that’s especially with some of the things I’ve got lined up for after the show. I’m dropping new music and it’s probably the most fun music I’ve made yet, which I’m really excited for.
“But I think that definitely The Main Stage and Dancing With The Stars were my two highlights thus far. They have just been absolutely incredible to be a part of — and it’s not every day that you get to do a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like that. I’m just really grateful.”
Erica said that her new single is going to be arriving this summer “and it’s going to be coming very soon”. She added that fans can expect “lots of fun” from her new music — as she told how the last few months have led her to take her music to a whole new level.
She said, “I feel like it’s a brand new era for me — I feel like I’ve been living my best life over the last couple of months, and I’m really trying to portray that with my music while still also getting across what I’m trying to say.
“I feel like I’ve managed to find that balance, which is just really cool. I’m just going to the beat of my own drum and I’m enjoying the process of it all.”
The Main Stage begins at 9.30pm on July 1 on RTE One.
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