Hailing from the idyllic County Clare in Ireland, Padjo Dolan is a singer-songwriter with a unique Americana style. Influenced by the likes of Bon Jovi, Oasis and U2, he is setting out to tell a story with a big bang. We speak with Dolan about his latest release ‘Hazel Eyes’, solo projects and future plans.
OSR: Why did you decide to pursue a music career?
Dolan: As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a rockstar. Bono and the Edge have been my heroes since I was a very young chap. I have been part of many bands over the years but despite my efforts, we never got into the studio to put down some original tracks. In a way, this project represents an itch that I just had to scratch, pursuing a music career is something that I just had to do!
OSR: How does performing solo compare to being in a band?
Dolan: Being a solo artist leaves you with a lot more control over everything that is going on, that said it also leaves you with more work and the benefit of having band members opinions and inputs when writing music can be missed at times. However, I definitely enjoy knowing that I am in the driver seat and the end product is really coming straight from my own heart with minimal external influence. I am quite enjoying it so far!
OSR: What can you tell us about your track ‘Hazel Eyes’?
Dolan: ‘Hazel Eyes’ epitomises exactly who I want to be as an artist. It encapsulates everything I love about rock music; vulnerable lyrics, hooky melodies, rocking guitars, the bass even contributes a few moments of magic on this track! I was very lucky to record the track in Dublin’s Camden Studios alongside some of the best in the business: Cian Boylan, Conor Brady, Dave Hingerty, Robbie Malone and of course Donna. The experience and expertise those guys have really helped to bring the track to life and I am really happy with the finished product.
OSR: Donna Bisset performs the female vocals on ‘Hazel Eyes’. What was it like collaborating with another artist?
Dolan: Donna was great to work with on the BVs. She is a true professional and has an incredible vocal range. It was great to be able to feature Donna on the track, her BVs definitely bring the song to another level.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when recording ‘Hazel Eyes’?
Dolan: I guess the biggest challenge was waiting and exercising patience until the government permitted us to get into the studio and put down the track. It was frustrating but in hindsight, I am very lucky to have had the opportunity during the pandemic. The crew in Camden Studios really are the best in the business and it was smooth sailing once we got to work!
OSR: Which do you find more difficult – writing the lyrics or writing the melody?
Dolan: I would have to say the lyrics are more difficult. I almost always come up with a riff and a melody first on my guitar, but it can take weeks and months sometimes for the lyrics to work themselves out. It is important not to rush it I think, because the right lyric can make or break a song. Sometimes it does take a while to get into the flow but it is worth the wait when the eureka moment arrives!
OSR: What do you hope people take from your solo project?
Dolan: I hope it demonstrates to people that there is nothing stopping you from following your dream and doing what you really want. There is always a way. I had almost given up on my music dream when I had continuously failed to assemble a committed band. I came to the conclusion one day that a solo project was the way to make it happen and that I wouldn’t talk myself out of it any longer. Whatever it is you want to do, just take the leap and see where it brings you is the message I hope people take from it!
OSR: If you could spend the weekend with a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Dolan: I just recently watched the Michael Schumacher documentary and it left me with a massive smile on my face. He was a real hero of mine growing up. He really had a lust for life and didn’t waste a single moment. His positive attitude was infectious. I think I could have learned a lot from him over a weekend.
OSR: What advice would you give to emerging artists?
Dolan: I am really only an emerging artist myself but my advice would be to keep the faith! It is obviously a very hard game to crack but if be yourself and give the music everything you’ve got anything is possible! One good rock song can change the world!
OSR: What can we expect from Padjo Dolan in the future?
Dolan: I plan on releasing some more singles over the coming months but the album is nearly complete and I can’t wait to get it out into the world. Blood, sweat and a few tears have gone into it and I am really proud of the journey it represents. A huge thank you is due to Cian Boylan and Conor Brady for their guidance throughout the process. Of course, as restrictions lift and the world returns to normality I am really looking forward to playing some live shows. So please stay tuned and I will endeavour to produce some quality rocking tunes!