Owen McKavanagh

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with Owen McKavanagh to find out more...

Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I am from Belfast, NI. I’ve been involved in choirs from no age, both in school and outside of it. I branched out into musical theatre around age 8 and then moved into classical music at age 11. This eclectic mix of singing experience leads to my sound that I use in my songwriting today.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Growing up, even though I was born in 2000, I was exposed to music of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Artists such as Billy Joel, Elton John and Freddie Mercury have led to significant impacts on my singing career. Currently, I still retain all of those past influences as well as some more contemporary musicians, such as; Lewis Capaldi, Bruno Mars and Brendon Urie. I also draw a lot of inspiration from Musical Theatre in my music which I find lead to it being more emotive.

How would you describe your sound?
I describe my sound as TJ Pop - That is Theatre-Jazz Pop. Due to my mix of influences I like to not limit myself to one area of influence so I draw a little bit from everywhere. While some people frown upon musical theatre singers, I have chosen to just embrace it as a part of my sound.

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What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest single is entitled “Free as a Bird” and it is based on the struggle of letting go of past pain. I personally struggle with this and I felt that it was an issue that needed addressed in out current culture of ignoring Mental Health problems. The lyrics build upon how while it isn’t easy to let it go, you will build yourself back up slowly and be more free than you were before.

What’s your local music scene like?
Belfast’s music scene is fully of amazingly talented artists. I feel privileged to perform in venues that I share with other amazingly talented people. There is such a variety of singer/songwriters as well as acoustic musicians and some truly unique acts like the String Ninjas (who I recommend checking out!)

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I am currently discussing plans for a music video for “Free as a Bird” with a local production company. I also plan to get back in the studio for another release around Christmas Time 2019 so keep the calendars marked for that! As far as festivals and events go, I am lined up to play in Dalriada Festival here in Northern Ireland as well as hopefully performing at Harmony Live in Holywood. It’s been a great year so far and I am excited for the rest of it to play out!

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Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Elton John! Would be a true dream come true to play a piano duet of Tiny Dancer with him. Probably played on a red piano… With matching suits… maybe some big sunglasses too…

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Nothing beats the time a drunk man in a bar sat right next to the piano and sang “Let it Be” entirely out of tune. I barely sang as I was so busy laughing. I am also no stranger to a sneeze in the middle of a performance, but I always just make it out like a beat drop and it's fine!

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I have 9 ¾ fingers but that doesn’t make me a wizard!

You can find out more about Owen via Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter or YouTube.