Interview: Johnny Bourke

Irish singer-songwriter Johnny Bourke released his debut single  ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July. Aine Cronin-McCartney caught up with the singer to chat about lockdown, musical influences and plans for the future.

You released your debut single ‘Can’t Do Without’ on Friday 3rd July, how has the reaction been so far?

It’s been amazing! I’m so glad to finally share this with the world and the reaction so far from far and wide has just been one of pure support and has warmed my heart. People are great.

For those maybe not familiar with your sound how would you describe it?

It’s a fairly unique blend of pop, blues, and R&B. I’m heavily influenced by all of these different genres and I’ve spent a long time honing a sound which I felt was right for me!

Who would you say your musical influences have been growing up?


Every time I’m asked this question I give different answers because there are so many in my head but today let’s go for John Mayer, John Frusciante, and Bruce Springsteen.

After spending years honing your craft as a session musician what made you want to start releasing your own original music?

It felt like the next step. I have been lucky to be very busy as a musician thus far so I never really had ample opportunity to explore my own music until I made time for it in the last few years. Now I’m at a stage where this is what I want to devote all my time to.

How has the process of releasing your debut single been?

It’s been a lot to be honest. The thing about working for yourself and promoting yourself is that no one is really giving you limits. You can spend as much or as little time as you want and I definitely found it hard to shut off, there was constant guilt that I should be hustling. There still is. I’ve learned a lot from this experience but yes I’m quite burned out at this stage if I’m being honest haha.

How has lockdown affected you as a musician?

Funnily enough lockdown almost suited me for reasons related to the previous answer, because all my live work was cancelled it left me ample time to work on promoting the single. I’ve just recently broken a writer’s block I had for a couple of months so it’s nice to get back to making music.

Prior to lockdown how had your plans for 2020 been shaping up in terms of live performance?

Amazingly and obviously now obliterated. I got a good run at the start of the year around Australia and New Zealand but was looking forward to coming home and playing this new material later in the year. I’m not worried, things could be a lot worse, I think perspective is important. 2021 will be a big year.

What artists/releases have you been enjoying recently? Both Irish and further afield.

Alex Tierney just dropped an amazing single, Dillon Ward has a really sick vibe to his music and is really unique. Bigger names I think Niall Horan is absolutely killing it and I’ve surprised myself by recently becoming a Justin Bieber fan, his new stuff really speaks to me.

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020?

I’ll be dropping more music soon and you can be sure that when live music is back and feasible you will catch me on stage!

-Aine Cronin-McCartney

Author: Aine Cronin-McCartney

Freelance Presenter BBC Introducing // New Music Journalist Blogger // Vlogger

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