Written and recorded during lockdown, Tadhg Daly’s “Still Not Made It” touches on the struggle of “making it” in the music industry moving from frustration to fear to hope. He sings about his fears and anxiety as an artist and not yet having a strong mark.
Piano keys punctuate the lyrics in the opening of “Still Not Made It,” emphasizing and drawing out each word. It makes the already low pace feel even slower. Drums then add more energy to the song, creating a sea of noise but not enough to drown out the power of Daly’s lyrics. As Daly sings about not feeling successful enough, wondering if he should give up, the drums increase the pace and push the song and Daly’s career forward; Daly is going to stop now.
Daly’s voice is full of longing and sadness but also hope. He questions his own place but at the same time understands where those sentiments of not being good enough or successful enough come from. His awareness creates a knowingness of hope, that there is success and happiness for him on his terms, not on society's notions of success and age. The hope uplifts his song, creating a positive and happy side.
The vulnerability Daly conveys in his song provides his listeners with a deeper connection and understanding. His chorus is full of lines like “Should I give it up?”, “Am I good enough?”, and “Am I missing much?”. Especially nowadays with social media and obsessions with celebrities, it’s easy to get lost in believing the grass is greener on the other side. However, that is not the case. “Still Not Made It” highlights the struggles Daly has gone through and goes through. These struggles are not just unique to him, rather everyone may feel out of place or unsuccessful. The questions he poses, everyone thinks at one point or another. I think that’s why his chorus felt so powerful and hit so hard. I could understand that feeling of questioning oneself; though I can never understand how it personally affects Daly, I can connect with it.
Another line that was equally relatable was “I can fake a smile but only for a while.” The duality of happiness and sadness, because you are only pretending, stand out. The need one feels to be happy and/or hide their sadness creates a stronger feeling of sorrow.
Throughout “Still Not Made It”, Daly sings: “If I burn up in flames, don’t put me out, put me out no.” At one point, he repeats the last two parts over and over again, conveying that he put himself on this track and is going to finish what he started. He wants or almost needs to do this for himself no matter how challenging or damaging the process may be. The song ends with the same line which solidifies Daly’s choice and desire.
Daly says “The idea of "making it" is something I worry about constantly but is also something that I think is a totally false narrative. So much pressure is put on people (especially creatives) [...] Constantly hearing people from back home saying "I really hope you make it" is just such a weird feeling to me like I don't even really know what that means when I'm supposed to have made it.”
Furthermore, there is currently so much praise for young artists, creating an atmosphere where it feels one must succeed at a really young age. However, that notion is false and damaging. In his song, Daly sings “twentyseven and i can’t turn back home now.” He says, “I decided to use my age specifically in the lyrics as a bit of a stand against the idea that you’re too old to make it past your early twenties.. something that I regularly panic about.”
Tadhg Daly is a Jersey born Irish singer songwriter. Daly grew up in a family of musicians and actors, finding his connection to music after having broken his leg playing football. His newfound love and connection to music was not understood by his friends. Daly struggled with depression and addiction throughout his youth after dropping out of school due to bullying. Now after years of recovery and growth, Daly is creating and sharing his music. His recently released EP Forever Young “tell[s] his own unique tale of overcoming adversity and battling personal demons, all of which have led him towards a career in music as he looks to present himself in a raw and more intimate guise.”
Of his EP, Daly says: “Although this is my debut EP and in many ways the first chapter of my music career, it really feels like closing the door on a lot of negativity, trauma and insecurities I’ve carried with me for years and I really hope it can give some other people a sense of peace when they listen to the record."
Written by Anne Friedman