Sinéad Lohan was born in County Cork, Ireland, and was first exposed to music in a decidedly 20th century manner: via the media. "I used to love watching 'Top Of The Pops,'" she admits. "I felt older when I listened to music and I could always tell the real stuff. It stirs emotions in me when I hear people sing with that spirit. I try to do that now. You give it all you have and feel you've nothing left, but you still find a way to take it further. That's where I want to go." At the age of 13, she began to write poems "full of mixed-up metaphors" and preferred the music of Sting and Paul Weller to traditional Irish jigs and reels.
A year after leaving school, she enrolled in a music business course. "Initially, it covered a lot of the business side," she remembers, "so there was no call to sing or write at all -- and I honestly didn't know how I could. Then one day we all had to sing a song we'd written and I thought, 'right, if they all laugh, I'll pretend it's not my song.'" Needless to say, they didn't laugh. In fact, the reaction to Sinéad's first "performance" was so positive that she soon began to perform regularly at The Lobby, a "small, but intimate, upstairs room" of a pub in Cork. She'd started writing songs at the age of 17 and spent two-and-a-half years recording them with her musical partner, guitarist Declan Sinnott (Horslips/Moving Heart) in his back-garden studio. She made her first impact on the Irish music scene with "Sailing By," a single from the Woman's Heart 2 collection.