By Mike O’Cull www.mikeocull.com
Phoebe O’Grady is a young, exciting, and outspoken vocalist currently emerging from Ireland whose music combines classic pop architecture with direct, often confrontational lyrics. Her debut single, “When You Were the Apple,” is a brilliant piece of melodic, radio-worthy pop with a hard and explicit lyrical approach that pulls no punches. Just 22 years old, O’Grady has an artistic fearlessness uncommon for her age and clearly revels in her authenticity. Her single drops August 7th, 2020 on the Big Blue Ball label and is expected to bring a lot of attention her way. Phoebe was gracious enough to jet on over to the Mike O’Cull Music company headquarters a while back and gets us all caught up on what she’s doing. Here’s the best of our conversation.
You have your debut single “When You Were the Apple” coming out soon. Tell me all about it!
It’s about one of those relationships that just go on and on to nowhere. Then one day the reality sinks in and one of the partners snaps. Life is too short to be anything but feeling good......and too many people seem to just stick in relationships (even dangerous, destructive ones) because they’ve got used to it. I say to hell with that. If it’s not right, move on. Relationships, job, friends, home life. Don’t stand for something that isn’t making you feel better and be healthier.
You use much harsher language in the song compared to most pop singers, which is refreshingly real. Do you feel that’s a risky decision or a blast of personal authenticity?
It’s just me. I was born and raised in a part of Ireland where it’s just normal conversation. I’ve always been amused by how people get offended by these words. Especially when you have a telly program that is full of violence and then they “bleep out” the “naughty words!” We need to get over it!
In the song, it’s appropriate. The person in the relationship can’t stand the lies anymore....their partner just talks crap and expects them to believe it. So they snap, tell them what they think and get out. So probably more authenticity than being risky and certainly not being sensationalist.
How did you get started in music?
Used to sing and play in church choirs and garage bands. Ever since I was young I’ve always been in awe of people that make great music. They were my heroes. Music that can take you somewhere else. Put you in a story and make you believe it. I love it and I love to be surrounded by it. So I suppose it was always likely I would record something at some point......
Who or what inspires you to be a recording artist?
Just an absolute love of music and a fascination with what you can do when you are with talented people in a studio. It’s a beautiful form of art.
Has the pandemic had any impact on your music?
Probably made it more downbeat. Maybe a little darker? Certainly like everyone it’s been a challenge to live with the massive changes to life almost overnight. Thankfully we still have amazing doctors and nurses to help us through this. In Ireland, I think our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and government have done a good job of getting things under control and reducing deaths. Very grateful.
Do you have a message to communicate with your songs?
I write based on what I am feeling, in the hope that I can connect with those who feel the same. It’s probably naive and less business-minded than music is these days, but it’s all I know to do.
What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been obsessing about a California artist called Moxi. I always have Thin Lizzy somewhere nearby. And I just love Alessia Cara at the moment. My music taste is as eclectic as my personality. So work that one out!
What comes next for you?
Well, I’ve recorded a couple of other songs during lockdown. One is a jazzy pop type track that is probably best for albums and live. Then I recorded one that could be a bit of a big ballad. So hoping to release them at some point. In the meantime, I’m just hoping someone out there listens to and likes WYWTA when it’s out on August 7!