Loah is Sallay Matu Garnett, an Afro-Soul singer of Irish and Sierra Leonean origin, who grew up between Maynooth, Ireland and West Africa. As well as releasing her debut EP This Heart earlier this year – a skilful mash-up of African rhythms, classical, jazz and soul – she’s also previously collaborated with Villagers and co-wrote ‘Someone New’ from Hozier’s platinum selling debut in 2014, which earned her a BMI songwriting award.

On latest single ‘Nothing’, Loah tells a story of self-discovery and recovery after a failed relationship. “After having the repeated experience of losing myself in other people to quell the fear and longing within me for peace, I had to ask, why? This question led me on a journey,” she says via email.

Ahead of Loah’s co-headline set tomorrow with Rusangano Family at Birthdays tomorrow, we got to know her a little better.

Three words to describe my music…
Afro Art Soul

My favourite ever film is…
Shawshank Redemption

My favourite Instagram account is…
Turbante.se. My mate Thais designs headwraps and does workshops on Afro-diasporan culture and the cultural and political significance of the Crowns that are turbans! It’s class.

The best venue I’ve played is…
Mitchelstown Cave, County Tipperary, Ireland!

The song I can’t listen to is…
Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday, beautiful but so mournful.

The worst job I’ve ever had…
Weeding a giant garden complex for 6-8 hours a day one summer

My favourite meal to cook…
Jerk chicken, I make great big trays of it every few months for my entire family and all my mates

If I was in a tribute band it would be…
Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley (mixed set!)

My favourite word right now is…
Squanch! (from Rick and Morty)

If I had a superpower I’d want it to be…
Bringing about instant world peace, of course… cue pageant girl smile hiding criminal desires towards miscreant world leaders…

If I could play a gig anywhere it would be…
The moon definitely. I know it’s maybe not gonna be realistic in my lifetime but I think an interstellar show would be dope. The scientist in me gets very excited by the prospect. Failing that, since I’ve already played in a cave and I’m into the natural world for gigs I’d settle for Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

I think you should listen to…
IAMDDB. She’s from Manchester, calls her music ‘urban jazz’. She’s pure fire.

If I could see anyone play live it would be…
Prince. I never saw Prince live while he was with us and it’s one of my great musical sorrows.

Loah plays Birthdays on 14th December.