We had the chance to catch up with Irish Singer-Songwriter and producer Conor Byrne for a quick Q&A. In the past year Conor signed with Budde Publishing and his first major record deal with Sony Music/RCA Germany. He is a fast rising talent in Europe and is definitely one to watch.
Your new single “Growing Pains” just got released. Can you give us a little background story on how the song came to life
Yeah Growing Pains is a special song for me. I remember when I wrote it I instantly got excited in the studio thinking damn this is definitely gonna be a single. I was on a 5 week writing trip, 3 weeks in Berlin and 2 weeks in London and I wrote Growing Pains at the end of the trip on the last day of writing with Billy Lockett, Pete Hammerton, Gavins Jones and then eventually got Paul Whalley onboard to work more on it. At its core Growing Pains is a song about relationships and how they can change over time. Sometimes we have no control over growing apart and the pain that comes with it and I wanted to channel that into a song. Everyone of my friends I played it to before it was released have said how it resonated with them differently and I love that about music and how everyone can attach their own experience to a song.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an up and coming artist in the digital age?
It’s a weird one being an artist in the current digital space, the music isn’t the only thing you need to focus on/ be good at anymore. Between Tiktok /Instagram/ live streams..etc you literally need to be constantly creating and evolving your content and honestly it’s probably the aspect I’m the worst at (creating short, highly engaging content). There’s now a very fine line between being a social influencer and being an artist ..it’s a grey area. Between writing all the time, recording and preparing for live shows I find it hard to dedicate that much time into just creating content for people to react/ engage with and right now that is so important for building fans.
Do you have some insights on running a smooth live show?
It’s been so long since I have played live due to the pandemic. I am going on tour with another Irish musician this September/October and we’re keeping the set pretty simple / acoustic. It was just too awkward organising a band/session musicians last minute and rehearsing with them during the current restrictions
You signed with Sony RCA August last year. Can you tell us how you partnered up with the major label?
It was so weird because it kind of happened in the early/middle stage of the pandemic. Everything seemed at its worst and there wasn’t much people had to be happy for or to look forward to and here was me ticking off one of my biggest life dreams ever.
I had been talking to different labels for about a year at this stage trying to figure out the right fit and which team was the most passionate about/ shared the same vision for my music.
It honestly felt so surreal. The fact signing the deal happened during a lockdown made it that bit more surreal. I still was asking myself a few weeks on if it had really happened. The day I signed it was literally me and my team just hopping on a zoom call with the label. We had a glass of champagne at 10am and then went back to being in my house after the call it didn’t feel normal whatsoever ..still doesn’t haha
Do you have a songwriting routine or ritual?
Not really it always seems to change. Sometimes I go into a writing session with some lyrics / a concept loosely put together other times I have a title and nothing else to spark off the song and then there’s times I get inspired by the music/ chords first before writing any lyrics at all. I wish I had a routine as it would make things a bit easier going in to writing haha but I think the lack of one also keeps everything fresh
Name 3 major mistakes you made and other musicians could learn from.
I spent a lot of time trying to write stuff/sound like songs and artists that were playing on radio or in the charts rather than figuring out what my sound is and what I enjoy writing.
Never judge your journey or your success off someone else’s. Everyone’s journey in music is different and it only takes from your motivation and creativity to think like that. I did it a bit at the start, always wondering why I wasn’t at a certain level when x or y was.
Have fun it’s an industry that can get way too stressful and serious at times. When you stop enjoying yourself in this industry and take it too seriously it becomes a hard road to walk.
How important are data insights for your strategic decisions?
Insights are always super helpful because otherwise you will never learn what works and what doesn’t. To see where a certain song is popular for example and where a fan base is forming helps for live shows etc. You have a better idea where to push more and focus marketing on for the following song.
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What’s next for Conor Byrne?
Right now as things are slowly starting to open up again the first thing everyone is looking at is live shows coming back, which I’m super excited about feels like I haven’t been on a stage in years!! So I’ll be seeing all you guys at shows this year I promise! We have so much new music we’re getting ready to release and that’s going to be our next focus, as for an album it’s definitely going to happen at some point but I’m not sure when exactly.
0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!