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In Focus: John Gribbin, lead singer of Building Pictures - SEE VIDEO

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What is your Irish background?
“I am originally from Castledawson in South Derry but recently moved to New York to pursue a career in music. I am currently living in Brooklyn.”

How did your band end up in New York?
“In 2009 I came over to New York for some meetings with music industry people.  I ended up staying in New York for a couple of months, and I made loads of great friends. I now have an entertainment attorney on board in the city. His name is Barry and he is a great lad. I'm just settling into life in Brooklyn at the minute and looking forward to playing some shows.”

Who are your musical influences?
“I listen to all types of music as long as it is good. Growing up I would have been into everything from early U2 and Cranberries, to metallica and then on to more acoustic acts likes Damien Rice and Nick Drake. So I suppose it is very difficult to pinpoint my biggest influences, but I suppose anything which has a good melody is something I draw on -- even a bit of Rihanna from time to time.”
 
How does the music scene here compare to Ireland?

“I think the scene back home is very strong at the minute. There are so many great bands.  The Glasgowbury Festival is an example of the strength of local music. Held every year in Derry, it has grown to a level where 4,000 people flocked to the Sperrin Mountains last summer to see local bands performing over the course of a day. It’s amazing!

“I really haven't been here long enough to know that much about the New York scene. However, from the bands I've seen live since I got here I can tell you the competition is quite crazy!”
 
What do you miss about Derry?
“My family and friends, and also the people in general. It is very difficult to explain what the people are like around South Derry, but anyone from my part of the world will understand. I am living with a fellow South Derry man so sometimes I forget I am away at all!

“I miss Joey my dog from time to time. He's a legend. Also, sitting down with my dad to watch a couple of football games on a Sunday is also something I miss. It’s just not the same in the Irish bars over here.”
 
What is your ultimate goal as a musician?

“Tough question! I suppose I just want to write and perform songs that I am proud of, and if I can continue to make progress as I have done in the past few years then I will be happy. Sure this time next year I’ll be walking though the front door of Madison Square Garden and seeing my name up in lights!
“In the meantime, we will be playing at Arlene's Grocery (95 Stanton Street in the Lower East Side) on February 23 from 9pm. For more information check out www.buildingpictures.info.”

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