Paddy Dennehy is one of those singer-songwriter types whose key asset becomes obvious almost right from the off. What a voice. Gravelly and distinctive vocally, Dennehy has a poetic and poignant feel to his music, accentuated by smart lyrics and off-beat subject matter.
It’s taken years to get to the launch of his debut album, ‘Little Light’ which is due this June. The writing process has been particularly excruciating, according to the Cork-based artist, which makes the beautiful fluidity of it all feel that much more special: the singles seem almost off-the-cuff at times, but contain brilliant repeat-play depth.
I caught up with Paddy ahead of the launch…
I understand the album is the culmination of quite a long period of songwriting. Can you tell me how it came to be?
Some of the songs on this album are seven or eight years old for me now. I recorded an album about five years ago but thought it was absolute muck and binned it! I kept gigging but just didn’t release much until I felt I had a strong enough collection of songs.
This album really came along bit by bit. There was no great ‘gold rush’ of good songs. It was just a case of sitting at the piano and chipping out little bits of songs until I found a snippet I could stand over. Then going back the next day and eventually finding some line of melody, a lyric or chord progression to add to the little bit I had.
There seems to be quite a bit of self-examination in your lyrics. Do you like to explore yourself in your songwriting?
I’m not sure if I like it, to be honest. I know I like the feeling of finishing what I think is a good song but I don’t enjoy the self-examination really. I have thought about why so many of the songs are like that and it feels like I’m trying to explain myself to myself. Everyone has things they are proud of and things that aren’t so proud of. We all have good traits and bad. I think writing maybe helps me understand why I am the way I am.