Arts & Culture

Imelda May Bringing 'Mayhem' to UK Campus


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2011) Imelda May will bring her own brand of "mayhem" with her rockabilly sound to the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8.

Born in the Liberties area of Dublin, Ireland, Imelda May is the youngest of five siblings. As the baby of the family, she soaked up the various music influences her older brothers and sisters were listening to, which she heard constantly through the walls of their two-bedroom house. There was folk, pop and even Elvis. May began performing in clubs when she was 16 years old and had the honor of being occasionally barred from the shows at Dublin’s Bruxelles Club for being underage. After 15 years of performing in other people’s bands, she finally took the plunge and set up her own band in 2006.

May's band recorded their debut album, "Love Tattoo," independently and only expected to sell a few hundred copies at gigs, but one performance on Jools Holland's show later and the album sold triple platinum in Ireland. Her second and current album, "Mayhem," released last year on Decca Records has May’s trademark rockabilly sound, but its lyrics are firmly set in the here and now.  

"I’m always observing people, so my songs are an amalgamation of my own life and watching the craziness outside my window," says the rocker. "The title track came to me after leaving a gig at 3 a.m. and seeing two guys having a fight and a girl standing there crying. Mayhem!"

"Mayhem" landed May on top of the Billboard New Artist Chart and the title track continues to take off on radio’s AAA Chart. On the strength of her latest album, May has recently appeared on "Conan" and is scheduled to perform on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" later this fall.

May has achieved triple-platinum status in her native Ireland and gold status in the United Kingdom, where "Mayhem" reached number seven on the charts and remained in the Top 10 for two weeks. America is already well acquainted with Imelda through her performances with Jeff Beck, including appearances on the 2010 Grammy Awards and a PBS Concert Special.

On "Mayhem," May wrote 13 out of the 14 tracks including the title song. Performing with a fusion of surf guitars, blues and rockabilly, her accomplished band includes husband Darrel Higham on guitars, Al Gare on double-bass, Dave Priseman on trumpet and Steve Rushton on drums. The band has shared stages with Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, David Gilmore, Shane Macgowan, Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Wanda Jackson, Paul Brady, Jamie Cullum and Meatloaf.

To check out videos featuring Imelda May, visit her website at

A part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts around 400 artistic, cultural and educational events annually for the university community, Lexington community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Tickets for the Imelda May concert range from $22 to $32 depending on seat location. A purchasing fee will be added to the transaction. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Singletary Center ticket office at (859) 257-4929, visiting online at, or in person at the venue.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or