Roe Byrne is a young singer songwriter already making waves, ashe prepares to headline his first ever show at Sound House this weekend. Having already racked up ove ra million views for his songs on Facebook as he finished school and headed off to study music, he’s been heacvily tipped as one to watch on the Irish music scene.
Ahead of that first ever headline show and the release of the first single of 2023, entitled ‘Set Me On Fire’, I caught up with Roe to talk over the merging of music and emotion, busking as a learning curve, and how much of his prolific back catalogue will ever see the light of day…
First of all, tell me about your obvious love for Dermot Kennedy…
Ah, where do I start! My music teacher in second year, Jessica Reilly, introduced me to his music and thought I would really like it… little did she know I would absolutely fall in love with his music the second I heard it.
The lyrics he writes and humbleness that comes from him is just so admirable. The way his music can teleport you anywhere is amazing. I have huge respect for him and I can’t wait to see what else he does this year!
Does your music draw on your own experiences and emotion in a similar way to Dermot’s?
I definitely write about my own experiences, but I take a lot of inspiration from what’s around me. Story’s that other people have told me, situations that friends of mine may be in and even just the people I meet on a random day busking, they all have a story to tell, it’s just getting that message across with a catchy melody that’s the hard part!
I try not to write about negative emotions, I feel people have enough negativity in their life and use music as an escape! So I try to pick the best parts of life and try to make a sense of either nostalgia or hope with it.
I understand you write new songs on an almost daily basis. What’s your back catalogue like at this stage, and do you feel being so prolific helps you develop?
I have so many songs now, but a lot of them I would find too personal to perform or release. Maybe someday when I feel comfortable being extremely vulnerable, I might release some songs that I wrote about my own struggles but as for now, I think playing in front of people and having them judge you as a stranger is a pretty vulnerable position to put yourself in, but I absolutely live for it.
Writing consistently definitely makes it easier, it’s the same as everything, the more you do lift weights, the easier it gets.
How did music school help you work out a way forward?
Honestly, it’s been brilliant, my teachers and classmates are very supportive and understanding when it comes to having to take days off for gigs and such. It’s a very supportive community in BCFE. It’s always great to have someone to go to if I have a question about the industry, especially when you know the person you’re asking has first-hand experience & knowledge in the field you’re talking about. It’s definitely been a great help to me.
Can you point me towards a song of yours that particularly stands out to you, and tell me what it’s about?
I have a song coming out on the 13th of January, and it’s definitely one that I’m very proud of. It’s called ‘Set Me On Fire’ and honestly, I just loved making this song. It was the first time I felt I had creative control in the studio. I made this song with Brian McGrane and the whole process was just so cool!
I love the big drums in this song, and I cannot WAIT for people to hear this!
From the creative aspect of it to the sound of it, this is definitely my favourite track I’ve ever made.
What will the next few singles be, and is there a firm theme pulling them together?
I plan to have a few singles coming out this year, I suppose the main theme would be relationships. Not just romantic relationships but all kinds of relationships. I have a new song that I wrote with my friend Conor Marcus and produced with the incredible Ed Porter. It’s another one of my favourites that’s to be released this year.
Other than that I can’t really say much more!
How often do you busk, and how does it play into who you are a musician?
I busk most weekends, depending on the weather and my schedule but it absolutely changed my life. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now if I hadn’t started busking. I was always the shy kid in school, I would carry my guitar around every day and I got a bit of teasing for it but I just loved sitting in the music room at lunchtime singing.
Busking made me so confident, it gave me an outlet and an opportunity to perform in front of strangers which, is a lot easier than preforming in front of people you know. I was a total introvert before I started busking but now, all I want to do is sing to as many people as possible.
It changed my life in so many ways!
What can we expect from your Soundhouse show?
It’s going to be a great night of music, laughter & good craic! Honestly, I just want everyone there to enjoy themselves and have a good night! I can’t wait to perform my next single with a full band again, it went down really well the last time I played in The Sound House as a support act, and it’s finally near the time of release!
What are your plans for 2023 and beyond?
Writing, recording, gigging repeat! I have a lot in store for this year. It’s definitely going to be my most successful year so far, following last year’s many successes, I have huge hopes.
Roe Buyrne plays the Sound House, Dublin on January 14, tickets are available here. Latest single ‘Set Me On Fire’ is out now.