Originality and how falling out with my own music made me appreciate it more!

So what do Groucho Marx, a difficult drumming score and CRAZY eye-lashes have in common? Well, somehow or another their paths crossed in a small, two bedroomed house on the east coast of Ireland in 2011, when I set out to create something original! 🤔


Music ‘originality’ is highly questionable. After all, there are only 8 notes in an octave and 12 keys to choose from. On top of that there are fundamental rules about how we move around those keys and notes. So inevitably, music is repeated and copied and repeated and copied and repeated and copied…. Most music we listen to reminds us of another song or piece of music we listened to, so being TRULY original is very, very difficult.

I released ‘Moody Blues‘ in February 2011 and I was super proud of it. It did very well for me and received lots of praise and radio play, becoming a very popular choice on morning radio for its’ energy and message. However, less than 3 years later, I actually didn’t want to perform it anymore. I was a little embarrassed by it. The cynic that had begun developing in me was not, excuse the pun ‘in the mood’ for it anymore. It was a little too cheesy for my liking and it hadn’t opened any ‘serious’ doors for me. Embarrassed as I am to say it, I didn’t care for it anymore and I left it out of many if not most performances.


Fast forward 7 years and naturally life has changed me. It changes everyone year by year, experience after experience. My focus on ‘serious’ doors opening for me and being levitated into music industry fame pissed off about 2 years ago thank God, when real life came along and bit me in the butt a few times. Life softened me, despite facing some of my hardest moments and eventually I remembered to look at the whole, sweet, glorious picture.

I had become a musician who forgot the importance of being a creator. I had become a musician who depended on likes and shares and being ‘cool’. As much as I tried not to be musically driven by what people liked and what 2FM or Today FM were playing, I tried to be part of that gang. I burned out trying to fit in. Last night funnily enough, I had a dream about meeting a group of girls who I went to secondary school with. And guess what, they were the same bunch of assholes in the dream as they were in secondary school. Only, this time I was SO relieved not to be part of their gang.

Somehow or another, Groucho Marx, a crazy set of eyelashes and a nifty little drumming score were put together because I had ideas. Musical ones, lyrical ones, visual ones. And with a determination to see that vision through, ‘Moody Blues‘ came to life. Of course someone has already sung some of the lyrics and there are lots of chord progressions and melodies that have been played a million times before but the way in which those elements are presented and arranged because of the vision behind it are what make it original. Anyone can reproduce something that’s already done by changing it up a bit but originality lies in the commitment to a new way of presenting and arranging the musical content.

<I’m very proud of the song despite there being things about it that aren’t all that ‘cool’ anymore or ever maybe 😮 Because art is really just a moment in time, original because of the creator not because of the tools. Credit to Martin Quinn in Jam Studios for his incredible ability to produce and understand my mad ideas in studio and the very generous team behind the video production who survived on tea and crisp sandwiches. Finally to the beautiful venue that is Darver Castle in Co.Louth for letting us use their home and venue for our fun and games.

Thank you, chat soon x


Photo Fantasies #NALLY

So today, I had my first meeting with the photographer I am going to be working with for my re-branding images. Paul is a digital artist who I discovered on Instagram. I was immediately drawn to his work because I love the way he can take a shot of a regular image and transform it into something more fantastical and surreal.


St. Peters Tin Church at Laragh by Paul Connolly

We took a look at my Pinterest boards where I keep hundreds of images I love and discussed how we could use them to create something unique to me. The images below are two of the images that I have really been inspired by. (Image caption credits photographers, external links at bottom of article)

As I explained to Paul, I want to create something quite fantasy like, like a character version of myself. Having worked for 6 years in the music industry, I know how intense and overwhelming it can become. I just want to have fun and enjoy the visual aspects of the music projects as much as the aural. It’s so important to have a real sense of adventure and to just go with that. I don’t want to be afraid or worried about what people think. Everything about the next few releases represents freedom and empowerment to be whoever you want to be.

The next stage is to discuss the shoot ideas with the make-up artist, work out costs and finalise a date and I will post regular updates on how each part of the process is coming along! Finally, during the process of sifting through Pinterest for images that stand out to me, I was delighted to discover the work of a lady called ‘Mary Katrantzou‘. She is a Greek designer with absolutely stunning creations. I’m off now to have a proper browse through her work! Chat soon folks and thanks for being part of the adventures!!

Photographer Links:

Paul Connolly Digital Artist

Huainan Li Behance

Garjan Atwood

Getting lost in the music of Colm Mac Con Iomaire…

Every so often I find something magical in the world of music and it’s important to me to share it on my blog. This time, it’s an absolutely stunning piece of music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire called ‘Emer’s Dream’ – I discovered it when I received a list of music for a wedding I am playing at in two weeks time. It literally stopped me in my tracks and as I said in previous posts like this, that only happens occasionally. When it does, I know I’ve found something incredible. Colm is the violinist from the hugely successful Irish band The Frames but his musical heritage goes so much deeper, with roots in traditional Irish tunes, classical music and he has a innate respect for stillness and awareness of self, which really translates in his music. Of course after listening in awe to ‘Emer’s Dream’, I delved deeper into the music of Colm Mac Con Iomaire and found so much more of it to be equally mesmerising.

Time for me to stop typing and for you to go and explore. Find a space to switch off and get lost in the magic.

Colm’s Music Links


Quite literally ‘Unearthed’ – #sRated #nafianna #irishmusic

If you have ever been to a gig where your feet and legs start to take on lives of their own, tapping and moving uncontrollably, a little like Michael Flately has just morphed his way into your lower half then you will understand the absolute energy that kicked in at the launch of Irish band Na Fianna ‘s new album #Unearthed.

Thanks to Hotpress I was lucky enough to get an invite for myself and a guest to attend the launch last Wednesday night at the Opium Rooms, Wexford Street. It started off at 6pm with outside entertainment by The Hit Machine Drummers – they were unreal. Talk about getting the energy levels going. Anyways, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from the evening and even though I had heard of Na Fianna, I didn’t really know what I was going to experience.

What I did experience was well beyond my expectations. These guys are on the pulse when it comes to bringing those classic Irish songs that must never be lost to a whole other level. They look just as good as they sound and have a great selection of instruments and vocals between them. Their  original stuff was really great too but hearing songs like ‘Step it out Mary’  done with such class and cleverness is where they will excel against any bands that are out there getting gigs, jamming out the big ballads and old favourites. There’s an edge to how they do it and as someone who loves playing trad piano with a twist and writing songs that include classical and trad fusions, I really appreciated the way they presented the songs.

If I was to call it, I’d say they are going to be huge all over the world. Keep an eye and ear out for them. It’s great to see old Irish music being pumped up and energised the way they do it! They release their album #Unearthed today. Here’s the link if you would like to go get it! Unearthed Album Link

‘Dance With Me’ in Greece!! #sRated

Dance With Me in Greece!

Dance With Me in Greece!

Every so often I hear of couples who have chosen ‘Dance With Me’ for their wedding ceremony or reception. This week, I know of a couple who got married in Greece and chose it as a song for their ceremony. Things like that blow my mind a little. It’s a song I wrote in 2009 and officially released it in 2011. It did very well on it’s release getting lots of airplay on stations throughout Ireland as well as getting a live interview on The Morning Show on TV3 and a slot on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1. A lot of the appeal was that Ireland was pretty much in a depressed state and there is a lot of love and hope in the song.. “through the darkness we’ll find our way back into the light.”

Dance With Me Official Music Video

The song is very personal to me and it’s lovely to be able to share it in a way that it becomes a very special part of another person’s life and especially on a day as important and significant as a wedding day. I am really honoured that it has this way of fitting into other people’s lives, sometimes without me knowing. That’s why I love writing so much. The songs can live out there forever floating around, doing their thing!

Every once in a while it’s nice to give them a little push again and find ways to gain some momentum for a few weeks or months. Over the next few weeks, I am going to dedicate some time to this song to see what I can achieve with it. I’ll keep you posted on what I find, things that work, things that don’t and make an #sRated report on what I managed to do!

#sRated Photoshoot – Magic in the Making!


Last Wednesday, I filled my car with props, clothes, accessories and all sorts of bits and pieces, spent about an hour putting the hairdo together and hit the road to Sligo! It was a long morning of preparation after a few weeks spent putting Pinterest boards together, sourcing a photographer and makeup artist, etc etc. I decided early this year that I wanted to update my visuals and start to define my brand as such in line with new music and a new #sRated approach! When I found Suzy McCanny Photography, I was immediately like YES, this is the vibe I’m going for. Loved all of her work – check it out here, incredible! Suzy McCanny Photography so I got in touch with her and shared my Pinterest board

and we took it from there! She reccommended Michelle Anderson Make Up Artist to me and again I was blown away by her work. So creative… MAMU So after that, I hit the N53 on a glorious afternoon with a few ham sandwiches and arrived in Sligo at Suzy’s studios at 4pm. It was a great few hours, getting the make up applied is always relaxing and fun to see it coming together!

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Afterwards we discussed what shots we would focus on achieving and got to it. Suzy had also made a beautiful backdrop (picture at top of post ) out of old music sheets, which looked so effective even just by itself. I’ve been in a couple of photo shoots before and it’s all about the pose and positioning of your body. Being small, Suzy gave me tips and pose suggestions that helped elongate my body! Some of them feel totally weird and uncomfortable but end up looking great on camera! After approximately 300 photos, we finished up and had a quick flick through them and chatted about how some of them might look when they have been put through the next creative process! That’s where the magic happens and I can’t wait to pick out my favourites and get to work on them with Suzy.


The Picnic’s Off… Roll With It!!

On a weekend that I had marked so deliberately in the diary with huge capital letters and a yellow highlighter pen with the words ELECTRIC PICNIC, I instead find myself on a bus to Dublin for an appointment at the passport office. The only experience of EP that I’m getting today is the Twitter and Facebook updates!!

Flashback to last May when I was jumping around with the news that I was finally going to EP after all the years of hoping to get there. Not only was I going to it, but I was going as a performer. I told all my friends and followers and even the local newspaper wrote about it. It didn’t bother me either that I would be performing as a musician within a band ‘Conor Quinn and The White Chalk’ (see previous blog posts) rather than as a solo artist. A weekend pass to Electric Picnic and an opportunity to perform is a great one whatever role you play when you are there.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have worked hard for the last few years getting my own music out there and I have learned that you should grab opportunities that come along with both hands. When the opportunity came along to be part of an exciting new band, I grabbed it because I heard the music, I met the people and I wanted to give it a go. It was also good to take myself out of my comfort zone and my own music style and see what I could learn. However, things didn’t work out for me despite many months of rehearsals and travelling the road to Mullingar from Dundalk and at the beginning of August I made a very difficult decision to leave the band.

The purpose of this post is not sour grapes or bitterness but rather to highlight the fact that the music industry is incredibly shallow and fickle and as Liam Gallagher once said, “you gotta roll with it”. It is an industry fuelled by music and filled with ego. Being soft and delicate in your approach to it is the wrong way to go about it but sometimes there are some things that don’t feel right and you just have to cut your losses. It’s a fact about the industry I work in that I really don’t mind. It doesn’t put me off working in it once I know that’s how it is.. I don’t regret anything either about my time in the band, although a little disappointed not to be at the festival. I tried something different and put a lot of faith and work into it but in the end it wasn’t for me. So for this weekend only the picnic’s off!! In the meantime, the songs are coming out of my every pore and I’m feeling very creative. There are two more single releases on their way from me before the end of the year. Any of you at EP, have a drink on me and enjoy the buzz x

“I think the second you feel you’ve gotten somewhere, you’re nowhere.” Michael Goldstone, VP A&R, Epic Records