Brendan O'Shea

Occupation:
Singer/song writer who describes himself as a veteran of New York City’s songwriter scene.  
 
Where in Ireland are you from and when did you move to the U.S.?
“I was born in Boston as my parents immigrated there from Kerry. They got married there and stayed for 10 years, and we moved back to Kerry when I was two years old.  I moved to New York City in 1997.”
 
You are founding member of Fairplay Collective. What is this do?
“Fairplay Collective is a group of songwriters including myself that share whatever info we think can benefit us, regarding contacts for rehearsal spaces or gigs, recording any info connected to furthering along our songwriting, recording and touring journey.  We are all fans of each other’s music which helps, and I think we all got involved because sometimes on your own the workload can be more than a handful, and what some people can bring to the table can be good for all.
“The collective also has become kind of a source for Irish musicians and beyond as a depot of information about the live venues and bars for singer/songwriters to look into. That being said, we are not a PR company or booking agency.”

As a singer/songwriter where do you draw inspiration from?
“A lot of it comes from myself, and from there it is all around.  I think you just have to be open to let it in.  Also, traveling inspires me and the folks I meet along the way, the young, the old. Everyone has a way about them.”
 
Do you think it’s more difficult to make it in the U.S. or Ireland?
“I never really signed up to that way of thinking about ‘making it’ regarding art in general.  I suppose it’s a term used on very commercial level.  Being creative and writing songs as often as I can, learning the craft, that what it’s about for me, it’s about the song.
“I think being in New York doing what I do is good in many ways as there are more venues such as coffee shops, galleries and house concerts in comparison to smaller cities. The mass population is always a good thing as there are always new people to sing your songs to each night you go out and play.”
 
Where do you currently live and what is your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

“I live in Alphabet City in Manhattan, and there’s a nice ring to the sound of my neighborhood for one, and accessibility to great restaurants and most places and things I like to do.
“I also like its history as millions of Europeans lived in the new country when they came here off the boats and coffin ships, which was some of the inspiration for my new record Songs from a Tenement.”
 
When was your last trip to Ireland?
“I was home in March for two weeks just to visit and hang out with family and friends and enjoy the sweet Kerry air! I am going back in September to tour with my new record. More information is available on my website -- http://brendanosheamusic.wordpress.com/.”

Interview by Molly Muldoon