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Swell Season's Marketa Irglova Makes Solo Debut

Singer also talks 'Once' Broadway show: 'It's becoming more real with each passing day'

August 2, 2011 5:05 PM ET
Swell Season's Marketa Irglova Makes Solo Debut

Marketa Irglova, one-half of Oscar-winning duo the Swell Season, says her solo debut Anar is like a time capsule of her first year in New York, where she moved from Ireland in June 2010. "I think Anar is always gonna take me back to that year, or half a year, of writing the songs and walking around Manhattan and going to Upper West Side, to the apartment where I’d sit in the piano and hanging out in Brooklyn with my friends, where I used to go to this ice place to play the piano," she tells Rolling Stone.

The album, which comes out October 11th, was produced by Irglova and her husband of one month, Tim Iseler. "He works as an engineer and monitor engineer with bands on tour and as a musician, so he was very encouraging about me making the record in the first place," she says.

The 23-year-old Irglova's decision to branch out on her own musically was inspired by a combination of a Swell Season hiatus and relocating to New York. "I started writing the songs when I moved to New York," she recalls. "I didn’t really have anything to do; the Swell Season weren’t touring and I was kind of looking into a year off. And I realized if I wanted to continue making music I just had to create the circumstances for myself. So I just started writing more intensely and in a more committed way than I ever had before."

Her work with Glen Hansard is still active in her mind, though, and Irglova says that as soon as Hansard is done with his other projects she's excited to work with him again. The perfect setting for the Swell Season to reconvene would come when the Broadway version of their hit film, Once, hits the stage. While Irglova hasn't been involved thus far, she can't wait to see what the theatrical version looks like.

"I think it’s amazing that they’re doing it. I’m so excited to see what they’ve done with it," she says. "When I first heard of it, it was kind of nice as an idea, but part of me was thinking it was probably not gonna happen. And now it’s becoming more real with every day that passes and soon it’s going to be on Broadway."

Is there any chance that Irglova might pull a Billie Joe Armstrong, who made occasional forays into Broadway to guest in the stage version of American Idiot? "Oh yeah, I think that would be awesome," she says. "Honestly that thought hadn’t even occurred to me until you just said it now, but I would of course totally embrace the opportunity of having such an experience."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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