From a band in Derry to the streets of Copenhagen

Niall Rainey.
Niall Rainey.

It was in the back of an ambulance in Copenhagen in 2009 that Derry man, Niall Rainey, thought he was dying.

Niall, 35, said his life flashed in front of his eyes and all of the things he failed to say to loved ones and all of his unfulfilled plans filled him with great despair and regret.

“I was at the cinema with a friend in Copenhagen when I felt a sharp pain across my chest. My friend called an ambulance. I thought I was dying. The paramedics thought I was having a heart attack and I started to think about all of the things I hadn’t done and hadn’t said to my parents, friends and family.”

Niall wasn’t suffering a heart attack. He had pulled a muscle in his chest and as he convinced himself that he was indeed dying he experienced a full blown panic attack.

“As I sat there waiting on the pavement outside the cinema in Copenhagen I phoned my ex-girlfriend. She didn’t answer the phone so I left a message telling her I loved her and that I was sorry for everything.

“I was always into playing music and one of the things I always wanted to do was write and record an album. As my life flashed before my eyes I remember thinking ‘I wish I had recorded that bloody album’,” he laughed.

Niall was born and reared in the Danesfort Crescent and Culmore Road areas of Derry. A former pupil of St. Brigid’s Primary School and St. Columb’s College, Niall would go on to study French and Spanish at Queen’s University, Belfast before moving on to Dublin where he trained as a chartered accountant. His parents are Enda and Bernie Rainey.

Niall currently lives in Copenhagen where he works as an accountant for a company called Falck. Falck is the largest international ambulance service provider in the world. Niall has worked for Falck in North America, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador as well as all over Europe.

“I don’t think there are too many chartered accountants who are singer/songwriters in their spare time,” he joked.

After his episode outside the cinema in Copenhagen Niall and his ex-girlfriend got back together, albeit for three months but more significantly, he decided he was going to record an album. In July, Niall released his debut album ‘Roll On Someday’ and the record is available to buy in Cool Discs and other local record shops. Next week, ‘Roll On Someday’ will be available to download from iTunes and Spotify.

“I still get excited when I think about the fact that I have recorded and released an album,” said Niall.

“It’s been a lot of work and thanks to my employer, they afforded me the time away from work to get the whole thing sorted. I’ve taken a bit of an extended sabbatical from work and I am just busy promoting the album - hopefully it does well.”

‘Roll On Someday’ is a remarkably personable album. Broken relationships, family, old friends and falling in love are but a few of the things Niall writes about in his songs. The Copenhagen Post wrote: “Ireland’s reputation for producing beautiful crafted folk songs remains intact with the release of ‘Roll On Someday’”.

“I know the album is not going to be everyone’s taste but that’s okay because it doesn’t mean it’s a bad piece of work - it’s something I am really proud of and if people like it, I’ll be delighted but if they don’t then that’s okay too,” he said. Relatively unknown in his hometown, Niall hinted he might return to Derry in the autumn to promote his album.

“I recorded some of the album in the Nerve Centre with a few local musicians - I am delighted that’s there a local link in there. I’ve performed on RTE and played a few gigs when I was back home a few weeks ago but that was more for friends and family - hopefully I can do a few proper concerts before the end of the year,” he added.

For more information on Niall Rainey and his debut album ‘Roll On Someday’ visit; email:; Twitter: @NiallRainey and Facebook: niallraineymusic