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

Single Review: CeeV- Lonely Night

Co. Down based singer CeeV’s latest release is an emotive attempt at expressing all those familiar feelings of missing home through modern pop sensibilities.

Currently based in Newry, CeeV first started to cut her teeth in music while studying at BIMM in Manchester. Although initially lacking the confidence to perform in front of others CeeV finally plucked up the courage and starting releasing music on SoundCloud. After amassing over 30,000 plays, CeeV began performing her own songs and slowly started building a loyal following.

After finishing her studies, CeeV travelled to Ottawa, Canada and determined to improve her craft performed in every venue possible. Now back at home CeeV has been finally releasing her songs to the world with her first release in over a year. The straightforward pop tune accompanied with soulful vocals proves to be a successful combination on ‘Lonely Night’. Along with the new track, CeeV has also provided followers with a striking lyric video.

Speaking about the song CeeV explains “The song’s about sleeplessness, overthinking, nights out, basically tired eyes but a racing mind.”

Aine Cronin-McCartney

Single Review: Emma Horan- Feeling

NI artist Emma Horan has revealed her effortless new track ‘Feeling’ which shows a more pop inspired side to the emerging star.

Recently graduating with an MA in Commercial Songwriting the Lurgan native’s latest single has seen the singer continue to adopt a mainstream pop aesthetic. Following on from Find You’ released earlier this year, Horan has continued to work with Belfast producer Jonny Fitch to create this intimately chill track.

A fresh out of the oven summer banger with silky smooth vocals Feeling’ is an ambitious attempt to achieve pop perfection. Along with a seductively slick chorus wrapped in twinkling vocals, Horan manages to elevate the song while still remaining elusive. Released just over a week ago ‘Feeling’ has already gained recognition from a number of key influencers and achieved strong support from Irish radio. Horan is continuing to work on new music with Jonny Fitch due for release later this year.

By Aine Cronin-McCartney
Listen to ‘Feeling’ below.

Single Review: Conor Marcus- ‘No More Broken Hearts’

Fast rising star Conor Marcus excels on new track ‘No More Broken Hearts’, as he takes us through a journey of loss and acceptance. The young performer who is regarded as one of Northern Ireland’s most promising young singer/songwriters follows his previous release ‘Hold Me Close Again’ with another emotive pop focused single.

Writing his own material since he was nine years old, it wasn’t until inspiration struck at 12 with ‘The Girl I Met’ that Conor acknowledged his song-writing ability. A year later, he performed the song on ITV’s The Voice Kids UK during the blind auditions, where along with his mentor Danny Jones from McFly he went on to reach the semi-finals.

Having already conquered so many achievements Conor is also currently the youngest participant of the renowned ‘Scratch My Progress’ programme. All of which has helped him build a fervent following as he continues to reach new heights of success.

‘No More Broken Hearts’ signals a more mature approach to song-writing as Conor makes moves into new ambitious themes and music. With each of Conor’s releases comes an indication that this is a newcomer to be taken seriously. A breezy moving melody combined with a charming vocal that is supported by animated pop beats helps give the track a cool and effortless vibe.  

Speaking about the track, Conor said; “This song is about dealing with the loss of someone close to you. It was inspired by the passing of my granny, many years before I was born, when my mother was just 15. I’ve been working on the song for a long time and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.”

You can check Conor Marcus’s new track ‘No More Broken Hearts’ here.

Single Review: Jessica Hammond-Ugly

Northern Irish singer-songwriter and producer Jessica Hammond’s debut single ‘Ugly’ is a savvy, confident pop hit with a cool charm. Working alongside co-producer Matty Graham the pair have created a lively summer earworm filled with modern sensibilities.   

The presence of exciting and slick production elements has anchored the song as an irresistible holiday nightclub groove. Throughout the track Hammond reflects about falling in love with someone that does not possess the best characteristics, a relatively relatable concept.  

Hammond’s sound presents all the makings of a contemporary emerging pop artist with their finger on the pulse. A track to enjoy and dance to through isolation, Hammond’s debut helps to position her as one to watch with ‘Ugly’ sure to appeal to a wide demographic.

Aine Cronin-McCartney