It’s the anthem of feel-good football that champions female empowerment and should be a huge hit with fans of the Northern Ireland senior women’s team this summer.
Leading the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final in July, an artist from Belfast, who has been playing football since the age of five, recorded and released the official song of the Irish team from the North – Girl Got Game.
Jessica Hammond, who started her music career at 14 on Disney’s My Camp Rock alongside Demi Lovato, currently plays for Bangor Ladies and as a youngster played for Glentoran.
The former The Voice UK contestant was therefore delighted when her label Paragon Records asked her to write and record the official anthem for the Northern Ireland senior women’s team, describing it as a “privilege and a privilege. honor”.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Jessica, who has worked with great producers and songwriters including Amy Wadge (Thinking Out Loud/Ed Sheeran), said: ‘I grew up playing football for Glentoran, but I reached an age where my mother said I had to choose between football and music.
“I chose music as a career, but continued to play football as a hobby for Bangor Ladies, so being able to combine my two great passions has been a dream come true.
“I feel like I’ve come full circle with my track and it’s a privilege and an honor to have been asked to do so.
“I hope this brings all the fans together and if I hear them sing my song, I know I’ll be so proud to have found this hook.”
A highly skilled producer in her own right, Jessica self-produces all of her own releases alongside longtime collaborator Matty Graham from their base at Black Studios in Belfast.
The catchy and infectious two-minute pop track focuses on the message of female empowerment in sport and features plenty of green and white army lyrics singing along for good measure.
“I wanted to write something that would appeal to the young generation of up-and-coming footballers,” Jessica said.
“The Northern Ireland women’s senior team paved the way for local football here and I wanted my track to be pretty cool and edgy with a lead hook that everyone in the stadiums could sing along to.
“The mood is uplifting and motivating, and I wrote lyrics using football terminology like ‘always ready to attack’ and ‘keep your eyes on the ball’.
“But it’s really a double whammy because the terminology is vague enough to be relatable outside of the game and to be a feel-good song for all women, even outside of sports.”
Jessica, whose growing Spotify following is 225,000 listeners a month and more than three million streams, admitted she cried tears watching the women’s team advance to the final.
And she said she was thrilled when several team members reached out to her via social media to tell her they loved Girl Got Game and were already learning about it.
“Some of the girls sent a message me on Instagram to say they loved the track and were so grateful for my support, but I’m grateful to have had this opportunity,” Jessica said.
“I was so moved to see the team go through. I was in tears. I know how much it meant to them and to me, it’s just an absolute honor to be a part of it all, d a little way.
Jessica said she deliberately went for a fast vibe to open the track, to promote energy and positivity.
“It’s a really fast start, not quite a Nicki Minaj rap but fast enough to get the crowd moving,” she said.
“I really hope it will be of interest to fans this summer, and not just female fans. That would be awesome.”
Angela Platt, Director of Women’s Football for the Irish FA, said: “This summer we will see levels of interest and excitement for our women’s and women’s football at an all-time high.
“Our team made history by qualifying for the Euros and I’m delighted that Jessica’s soundtrack is supporting our team every step of the way.”
The song, released by Paragon Records, is now available on all digital download sites.