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Interview With 'Callaghan'

Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a singer-songwriter, originally from Lincolnshire, who moved to the USA in 2010 to record my first album. I’ve lived in Atlanta, Nashville, and now I’m based in LA. I play piano and guitar but singing is my real passion.

Has this always been the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?

I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else other than sing, write songs and perform them. I’m incredibly fortunate that I get to make my living from my passion, and I think that part of what drives me to keep going even when it gets difficult is the fact that I have no plan b, and nothing else I want to spend my life doing, so I have to make it work!

Your new EP 'The Other Side' is due for release on June 30th can you tell us about it and why our readers should check it out?

These songs are perhaps more personal than ever, with the lyrics touching on subjects such as the loss of a family member in "I Don’t Know How To Lose You", or the experience of being in the UK for the EU referendum and the USA during the recent elections in “The Other Side". Songs like “Surrender” offer raw emotion while “Solid Ground” is an uplifting anthem.

I would describe my new EP as “Cinematic Pop”. I recorded my first two albums in Atlanta and Nashville. The second one definitely had some country influences on it, as you’d expect from Nashville. My new record was recorded in LA and has taken my sound further towards Pop, but still kept the honest emotion of the singer-songwriter. Having the opportunity to work with producers who are at the pinnacle of the film music industry gave me the opportunity to explore a sound that my songwriting has always leaned towards, creating tracks which I hope will draw you in, paint pictures in your mind and stir your emotions.

Where do you draw your inspiration lyrically and musically from?

I write about things I have experienced and stories people have told me. I’m really drawn to what unites all of us as humans and the way we all see the world differently depending on our experience.

The music I grew up with was Elton John, Carole King, James Taylor - a lot of the big song-writers. I’ve also always been drawn to a lot of the power-house vocalists and performers such as Freddie Mercury, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson. People who are just spell-binding performers. More recently I’ve been influenced a lot by Coldplay, Bear’s Den and Tom Chaplin. I took a lot of inspiration from them during the time I was in the studio for this project.

What do you believe is your greatest achievement to date and why?

Being able to make a living as a full-time singer-songwriter. In 2010 I took a leap of faith and left London to record my album in Atlanta. Making my living from music is something I had always dreamed of doing and that was the key moment when it became a reality. Seven years later I’ve been able to tour all across the USA and UK, record and release several albums and EPs, and hear my music on the radio. It’s not an achievement I can claim as all my own though because thousands of people helped me get to this point; from Shawn Mullins who agreed to produce my first album to everyone who’s bought a CD, shared my music, come to a show or given me a place to stay. As an independent artist I couldn’t have got anywhere without the support of many generous, music loving people.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

I recorded my first album with US grammy-nominee Shawn Mullins. I was a huge fan of his growing up and his album “Soul’s Core” which came out in the late 90’s was one of the reasons I wanted to become a songwriter myself. He ended up producing my first album in Atlanta, which is what made me make the move over to live in the US back in 2010. It’s always strange meeting someone who you have looked up to for so long and I remember being completely overwhelmed meeting and getting to work with him. Luckily he is one of warmest and most sincere people I’ve ever met and I learnt so much from recording, writing and touring with him. I owe him a lot for giving me my start in the US and it’s something I’ll never forget.

What do you enjoy most about touring?

I love performing and it’s the one thing that really drives me. Although touring can be exhausting with long drives from place to place, particularly across the US, and sleeping in a different bed every night, there’s nothing more exhilarating than standing in front of a room full of people and sharing songs with them. I can get to a place during a show where I’m completely unaware of myself or where I am, and just lost in the music and emotion of the song. It’s a real shared experience with the audience, and I then get to chat with people at the end of night, hear their stories and what the music means to them. I absolutely love songwriting and spending time in the studio, but music is created to be shared with people and I think I’d be really lost without being able to tour and play live shows.

If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

I play piano and guitar and am usually joined by one or two other musicians, but we keep quite a stripped back, acoustic vibe to the live shows rather than trying to re-create the full production on the records. I always aim to take the listeners on a journey throughout the show, with songs to tap their feet to, some to make them cry, as well as lots of stories and laughs. I want people to forget where they are for a couple of hours and just get immersed in the music.

I perform songs from my previous albums, some brand new songs from my upcoming record, as well as a couple of songs by other artists that have particularly inspired or influenced me over the years.

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?

Coldplay. I’m such a big fan of their songwriting and music and how much they experiment with different production on every record. Collaborating with them would be an absolute dream, plus if I was touring with them I’d get to watch their show every night which I think is one of the best live shows from any band around at the moment.

You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

I’ve just spent a week at the Chris Difford Songwriting Retreat which is sponsored by the Buddy Holly Education Foundation. I have always been a big fan of Buddy Holly’s and all the songwriters were talking about what Buddy might say if he were alive today and came along to the retreat. To think of the impact he made on music by his early 20’s, it’s completely mind-blowing.

'The Other Side' EP will be released on June 30th.

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