Robert O'Connor is playing the long game.
“I don’t care for passing trends”, says the Dublin-born singer/songwriter: “I’m here to make classic songs that make you feel something – and when you listen to them again in ten years’ time, they still pack the same punch”.
Robert spent the entirety of 2018 rebuilding his brand after a five year absence from the music scene. He worked as a journalist and social media manager during this period, acquiring a skill set he believes is valuable to him today as a self-managed artist.
“The life of an independent artist is a busy one. I’m writing the songs, then once they’re recorded the real work starts – hustling for radio play, trying to entice bloggers and journalists to write about you, keeping all of your social media up-to-date and making yourself essentially look like you have a team – when really it’s just you. Ultimately, I’m a sales man, and I’m also the product”.
As well as receiving radio support with his singles “You Found Me”, “No Second Chances” and “Real Good Fight”, there has been critical acclaim in abundance. Caesar Live’n’Loud said “No Second Chances” has “all it takes to become an instant classic”, while Reyt Good Magazine called “You Found Me” a “great pop song with solid instrumentation and a powerful chorus”.
Robert's first release of 2020, “Older ‘20” saw him collaborate with EDM artist Skynem GT for the second time, after the Peruvian producer won a remix contest run by Robert to remix his single “Real Good Fight” last summer.
Speaking about the collaboration, Robert said: “We connected in a way that we knew there was more to explore beyond one remix. Skynem GT’s EDM sonic palette and my country storytelling lyric and vocal are an unlikely fit, but we’re lucky as artists that right now we live in an era of genre-bending”. The track proved a slow-burn hit, landing on Spotify playlists and receiving steady radio play, as well as strong reviews. Indie Buddie said: “Older '20 is a wholesome, passionate track backed sublimely by lush intricate electronics”.
Now the pair have announced a new single "Over (Before It's Begun)", a summery sad-banger, which Robert says is lyrically a prequel to "Older '20": "It's about the same relationship, the one you build-up in your head of being "it", and then you get stuck in the friend zone!" Discussing his decision to work again with the Peruvian producer, Robert said: “During the global pandemic, I took the opportunity to look back through my catalogue and release a bunch of reissues and remasters. When I listened to “Over”, I felt it was a song that had never reached its full potential – the lyric and melody is one of my favourites I’ve written, but the production fell short”.
A restrained synth breakdown leads to a lively second verse that houses some tongue-in-cheek lyrics from Robert: “Cause I was sold on you, on the very first view/If you’d been on auction, I’d bid out of reach for you”. If there was any doubt that Robert’s lyrics reflect his real life, take into consideration that the singer works by day selling houses. His approach to songwriting has been commended by critics, with Room Full of Music calling his lyrics “captivating”, and Pop, Rinse, Repeat hailing his work “Honest songwriting the world needs a lot more of”.
Speaking of his commercial expectations of his music, Robert reveals: “Positive reviews are great, radio play is always welcome, because of course you want your music to be heard and enjoyed, but to me the most important thing is legacy – to be able to look back through your output with pride and see growth, experimentation and integrity – success will come and go, but great music lasts forever”.