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Hayes signed to the French independent record label, Source Records in 2001, and issued the 4.35am EP and the Work to a Calm EP before releasing her debut album, Night on my Side, in 2002. In 2002 she won Best Female Singer at the Hot Press Awards. The album was nominated for the 2003 Mercury Prize but lost out to Ms. Dynamite's, A Little Deeper. After touring Night on my Side Hayes took two years out from the music industry; "All I do know is that I didn't want to listen to music at all. I stopped listening to the radio. It was like I'd overdosed on music".

In late 2005 Hayes returned with her second album, The Roads Don't Love You, and picked up the Best Irish Female Artist award at the 2006 Meteor Ireland Music Awards, shortly before completing a small tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Shortly after this she left EMI-Virgin. Hayes co-wrote the song "Hazy" with Adam uritz for the Counting Crows' live album, New Amsterdam.. Duritz then referenced her in the song "Washington Square/a>&", from the March 2008 Counting Crows release, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings - in the context of talking about his travelings (specifically, "wander[ing] the highways, from Dublin to Berkley"), the song's speaker says that he has "heard the songbirds of Ballyporeen".

On 14 August 2006 Hayes announced, via her MySpace profile, that she had begun work on her third album in the Black Box Studios in France/a>, to be produced by her former guitarist, David Odlum.. Hayes posted demo/a> versions of a few of the songs on MySpace during recording, including "Out of Our Hands", "Home", and "This Is What You Do".

Hayes' third album The Hollow of Morning was released on 2 May 2008 in Ireland, and debuted at number 12 in the Irish Albums Chart.. Following this she signed a recording contract/a> with the US record label, Second Motion where The Hollow of Morning was released in the US on 30 September 2008. Second Motion works with Daniel Lanois, Adam Franklin of Swervedriver, Brian Vander Ark and others.

Whilst on her 2008 UK tour,, Hayes announced that she planned to release an acoustic album by the end of 2008. Hayes also confirmed that she will start recording her fourth album in August 2008.

In January 2009 it was announced that Hayes had been nominated for Best Irish Female, at the 2009 Meteor Ireland Music Awards, which took place on 17 March 2009 in Dublin. She lost out to Imelda May. On 13 February 2009 she released her new music video for the song "Home" on Myspace; the track was from her 2008 release The Hollow of Morning. On 19 February 2009 she performed at the Oscar Wilde party in Los Angeles, California. The annual event takes place days before the Oscars, and celebrates the best of Irish popular culture.

On 22 February 2009 it was stated that her new EP Oliver will be available for purchase on 9 March. However, it was subsequently announced on Myspace on 9 March that the EP's release had been delayed. A new track called 'Ghost' appeared on Myspace the same day.

On 13 March 2009 Oliver was released on i-Tunes.

OOn 14 April 2009 it was announced on her myspace blog that she's writing songs for a new album.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY - "The sweetly pained vocals sound darn similar to Beth Orton's".