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Got A Song? Send It To Tom!
Call it the anti-X Factor. Radio host and Something Happens singer Tom Dunne wants unsung artists to send him their best song. The winner will receive a valuable ‘leg-up’...
Colm O Hare, 07 Jun 2012
Tom Dunne is on a mission. The Newstalk mid-morning show host is looking for Ireland’s best unsigned singer-songwriter. The competition is open to entrants of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the country. The only condition is that you aren’t signed to a record label.
“It’s a really simple idea,” explains the popular broadcaster and Something Happens frontman. “Just send us one song - that’s important. I remember when I was doing Pet Sounds over on Today FM, people with very little experience would send you in 12 tracks. And the only decent song might be track 11. So, just one, please!”
The competition is intended as an antidote to the TV talent shows that have dominated the airwaves in recent years.
“It’s really all about trying to see what’s out there and offering a bit of a leg up to someone with talent,” he explains. “The idea came about from a conversation we had amongst ourselves. Music is my main passion in life as everyone knows and I haven’t done anything like this for ages.”
With the closing-date approaching he’s been impressed by the calibre of the entrants.
“It’s been surprisingly good, much better than I expected,” he enthuses. “The first thing I noticed is that home recording has gone through the roof in terms of quality. It’s much more sophisticated than in my day. There are more males than females entering which you might expect. The one that’s impressed me most so far is from a female performer.
“It’s indefinable to me what makes a great song,” he continues. “Sometimes you can hear something that impresses you straight away and you don’t really know why. Sometimes it can be an attitude, I’m looking for a song, not a singer. If we get a great singer along with it, it’s a bonus.”
Has he noticed a trend among entrants for a particular musical style or influence – say a Bob Dylan, Tom Waits or Jeff Buckley approach? Or perhaps a new Glen Hansard or Damien Rice?
“No, in fact it’s the complete opposite,” he says. “It’s all getting very disparate in terms of styles. I don’t know whether it’s because of illegal downloads where people can literally get their hands on anything they want. It’s very hard to see any kind of trend emerging. People are trying every type of song, from R ‘n’ B to pop to folk. That’s the thing - they can do whatever they want. The only rule is to send one song.”