Mary Coughlan (born 5 May 1956, County Galway, Ireland) is an Irish jazz and folk singer and actress. She has received great acclamation in her native country, for her emotional and heartfelt jazzy musical renditions. This acclaimed Irish singer's troubled upbringing manifested itself in an erratic career path, including stints as a model and a street-sweeper. After moving to London in the mid-70s she married and began raising a family, before terminating the union and returning to Galway with her children. She began her singing career in 1984, working with Dutch musician Erik Visser (who became her long-term collaborator). The following year she made an acclaimed appearance on the "Late Late Show" in Dublin and recorded her first album, which showcased her powerful and bluesy jazz stylings and became an unexpected bestseller in her native Ireland. Despite her ongoing personal problems, Coughlan continued to reap praise for her recorded output on WEA Records. Coughlan began straightening her personal life out in the mid-90s, and signed a new recording contract with Big Cat Records. The label issued an excellent live set and her US debut "After The Fall". In June 2000 Coughlan presented a series of multimedia shows in Dublin celebrating Billie Holiday, a singer whose life story has close parallels to Coughlan's own. The release of her 2008 album, The House of Ill Repute, sparked reviews that suggested it was her best yet.