- 19 Dec 22
20-year-old Irish singer-songwriter, Joseph O’Sullivan, discusses his superb debut single ‘Sunshine’.
When did you start making music?
When I started my first job in November 2020. I had a tonne of free time where I’d sit and listen to my favourite songs on repeat, trying to write my own lyrics on receipt paper, while coming up with melodies in my head. Most of them were awful, but otherwise it was good practice. It was summer 2021 when I started throwing the ideas into a DAW and building songs.
Why did you choose ‘Sunshine’ as your debut release?
I held onto ‘Sunshine’ for almost six months before I actually released it. I was scared of what people might think and how it sounded in general. I listened to the track myself for so long that I had started hating everything about it. I thought it might’ve been too personal to be my first release, but when I started playing it to friends, I fell back in love with it. I want people to feel how personal I can be - that’s why it’s my debut.
What made you go down the self-producing route?
It took a while before I understood that if I don’t put in the work, nothing will get done. If I wanted to make music my job, I was going to have to put the effort in and stop waiting for something to happen. I like how self-producing or producing with a friend, all your ideas can flow. Seán Mulligan (co-producer and one of my closest friends) really helped a lot by throwing ideas my way for ‘Sunshine’. It wouldn’t be what it is without him.
What are the inspirations behind the song?
‘Sunshine’ is a cry for help, but also like an angry diary entry, it’s about silly decisions. It pretty much feels like I was talking to myself while I was writing it. I find it funny because I hate the word sunshine, but we tried to make it sound so pleasing.
Which artists influence you?
Phoebe Bridgers is definitely a person who influences me and influenced this song. Her concise storytelling is something I admire. I also listen to Moses Sumney and his debut album, Aromanticism, daily. I love the airiness he puts into some of his vocal phrases. When we were recording harmonies for ‘Sunshine’, Seán told me that one take “sounded like Moses Sumney.” That take stayed in the final version.
Have you taken things you learnt from BIMM into your songwriting?
Yes, definitely! BIMM taught me to express myself without fear, and I really feel that’s showing in the music I’m writing now.
• ‘SUNSHINE’ is out now.
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