The Choice Music Awards is an annual celebration of the best Irish albums. We delve a little deeper to discover the story behind the album artwork chosen by some of the contenders and its relationship to the music in question.
Maija Sofia discusses her inspirations and her collaborations with photographer Jilly McGrath while Emer Kiely talks us through the design process for Sofia’s debut album Bath Time.
Maija Sofia: I knew I wanted the cover to be quite minimal but to also be evocative somehow. I love the really simple album covers of the 60s/70s folk revival stuff that’s often just a photograph with a border and a title. I reached out to the brilliant photographer Jilly McGrath who shoots exclusively on film and she brought me to a gorgeous country estate in Wicklow (thanks to the lovely Emmett family).
I essentially spent the day dressing up – sometimes in Jilly’s grandmother’s dresses – and posing in strange places. It was an abandoned, semi-derelict swimming pool that made the cover in the end. I wanted to have an image that was slightly strange and maybe difficult to place time-wise, to try and reflect the atmosphere of the songs, and I think Jilly really got that and her ideas were perfect. For the graphic design, I was contacted by the designer Emer Kiely over instagram.
Emer Kiely: Maija had a clear sense of what she wanted the artwork to look like from the start, so the only alterations we have is where the font or the layout of the image was changed. Maija knew she wanted to frame the image within the artwork, & so I just went through the photo’s Jilly had taken of Maija & went from there.
The process for the final cover was just me sending Maija a few different variations of the artwork & then she picked which one she liked best, and that was it. I wish I had an amazing story behind the process where an idea came to me in a dream or something, but Maija had such a strong idea of what she wanted the artwork to look like that in total it took me maybe 40 minutes from start to finish to come up with the final version.
Words: Jack O’Higgins
Images: Jilly McGrath