NEW YORK (AP) — Marteka Irglova's Oscar-winning music from the movie "Once" is again center stage, this time with the Broadway adaptation of the film. "Once" the Broadway musical has been a critical success and has 11 Tony nominations, including best musical, going into Sunday's awards.
But Irglova has moved on from the film that gave her that first taste of success, and fame. Last year, she released her first musical project apart from Glen Hansard, her musical partner (and former boyfriend) in "Once" and their group, The Swell Season.
Her solo album, "Anar," viewed by many critics as her musical coming of age, explored different soundscapes as she worked with Persian percussionist Aida Shahghasemi. As she was working on the album, she also toured as a background singer with Samuel Beam, better known as Iron & Wine.
Still, she's excited about the success of "Once," seeing it as another example of not only her work flourishing, but also music in general.
"Making something and sending it out into the world and then people not only responding to it but adopting it for their own and making a separate thing for it, that's beautiful," said the 24-year-old. "It just shows you how much you can affect other people ... the butterfly effect of everything you put out into the world."
The Associated Press: Was there ever a time when you wondered if music was going to be your thing?
Irglova: Music has always been a part of me and art in general. I love visual art as well. ... I never grew up with the idea that it would be a career for me one day, and I was never sure of what I wanted to do, and then out of a hobby it slowly became something I did more seriously with Glen. Now I absolutely feel very strongly that music is my purpose. I don't know what's in the stars for me in the future and whether I'll still feel like this is my purpose 10 years from now, but I think at the moment, I can think of very few things as satisfying as this.
AP: How did that prepare you for being on the road by yourself with Iron & Wine?
Irglova: The more different circumstances you can get, the more learning you can gather from it, and being more or less the center of attention with Glen and then going to backing vocalist in the background, no one is there to see you, they're there to see Sam Beam and you're just a voice. That was really, really great for me because it reminded me of singing in a choir. And I used to love that very much, and part of what I love about it is there's something about voices coming together in harmony that resonates with me in a very strong way.
AP: Musically, your album takes a departure. Was it important for you to have a different type of sound?
Irglova: It's not like it was intentional, that I was looking for a departure from what I had done before. It's more that what I had done before was very much a collaboration of two people in terms of writing the songs, and also it was a man and a woman, now it's two girls. ... It's very, very feminine as a result, which is probably the main difference.
AP: There was a documentary last year about your life with The Swell Season. What are your thoughts on that?
Irglova: The film crew made decisions mainly in the editing room of what scenes they were going to put into the documentary, and I feel like their choices were based on whatever they decided they wanted to make the documentary about, which I guess was about the struggle of Glen and I — struggle with success or the struggle with the new situation we were dealing with. And I feel like that's a little bit of a shame, because it tells a story, but it's not the whole story. There's huge gaps missing I always tend to focus on the positive rather than the negative. And I feel, this film, it does focus on the negative, which is OK because it tells a story of its own, and I may be too close to it to really judge it properly and unbiasedly ... but watching it is kind of a saddening experience for me.
AP: The Swell Season is taking a break, but do you see it as an extended break?
Irglova: Oh, I see Glen and I making another record for sure and touring. It's more just when. Like right now, Glen is making a solo record ... I don't know what course he wants to take with that and when is it going to be that we all get into the studio together, but I'm sure that it's not the end of The Swell Season.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody is the AP's music editor. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/nekesamumbi