This week we caught up with Robert O’Connor, he is a Dublin-born singer-songwriter, with over 15 years of experience; his first release in 2006. His style is ever-changing, from country pop to EDM, the genre-shifting artist continues to experiment in his work. We discussed his latest album Transcendence, and in particular, the single Destination Anywhere, when asked about the single and the lyrics, if it was his intention to write a song about the pandemic, he responded, “the song was actually written a few years ago, this was my first lyrical collaboration. It was with a friend; she sent me lyrics that I really resonated with and it’s funny how the timing fell when we decided to actually release the track and how it lined up with everything happening at the moment”.
The whole album was also a collaboration with Peru-based producer Skynem GT, it was a mix of Robert’s lyrics and melodies with Skynem’s production values. We questioned the artist on how it felt to work remotely collaborating on a whole album, Robert explained, “English is not Skynem’s first language, so that was an added challenge, but I recorded pieces, sent it to him, he sent his mix back to me, and it was a back and forth from then with different touches. It’s a push and pull relationship, you push them to redefine your sound. For Destination Anywhere, I wanted it to have a late-night sound that is reminiscent of Jessie Ware or Tame Impala, but Skynem put a tropical vibe on the song, and it just worked”.
So, what’s next? “With the pandemic, the usual cycle of release and tour was cut short, so I had to reinvent the wheel”. The artist recorded a new single, however, due to the second lockdown just after Christmas, he was unable to release a video for this, so instead a deluxe version of the new album Transcendence was released.
We discussed how the music industry has evolved since Robert first started. In 2008 when he released his debut album, Distance, his label contacted him as Universal records had expressed interest in the record and wanted to expose it. However, in 2012, when releasing the EP Resistance, Robert was an independent artist and it much more of a struggle resulting in the singer taking a 6-year break from music. Now, in 2021, he is now a self- managed independent artist.
One particular point on how the industry has changed is the way we find new music, for example, Tik Tok is now a massive factor, one short viral video can shoot an artist to fame. “Labels are going straight to Tik Tok now, which is fantastic, but on the other hand, they are asking for shorter songs, around two minutes, which is a good reason to have a radio edit of your song made”. On his on Tik Tok account, he wanted to stay true to his brand, he does a mini-series of tips for self-managing artists, in hopes of connecting with and helping other artists.
You can now listen to his new album, Transcendence on all streaming platforms.