Talking jazz, Gregory Porter and jazz with the Irish singer
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR US WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH YOU AND YOUR MUSIC AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
I’m Bobby Mc, a 26 year old Jazz artist from Ireland. I’ve been a full time musician for just under 4 years working with my band and putting on theatre shows and gigs. We’ve played at events and festivals all over the country including The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival and The Taste of Dublin. We’ve also worked with a lot of Corporate Agents, performing events for companies such as Facebook, Google, Jameson, PayPal etc.... I’ve got two theatre shows, the first is called ‘Bobby Mc’s Speakeasy’, it’s a show full of swing and jazz classics with a bar on stage and guest singers all backed by a 7 piece live band. The other show is called ‘Take me to the alley - A night of Gregory Porter’ with Bobby Mc. It’s a show I created because of the admiration and love I have for Gregory’s music. Backed by some of the best musicians in Ireland and beyond, we play my favourite tracks from his catalogue with some stories thrown in. I have performed both shows numerous times across venues in Ireland.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
My debut single is ‘Try a Little Tenderness’. I have released it with the independent record label, ‘The Animal Farm’. It was produced by Mat Leppanen and features Ville Leppanen on guitar as well as Irish piano virtuoso Podge Kilbride. The single was recorded completely remotely. The creative team were never in the same room and recorded separately and interacted by phone and email. The aim for us as a creative team was to make the song our own but also stay true to the song as it was written. We went for a basic arrangement for the verse and focused on a clean, clear vocal and then finished the song with a big band section.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
I wanted to pick a track to launch my career that would define me as an artist. It’s a song that most people know without necessarily associating it with an artist. That was a big plus for me. I felt the melody would work with my vocal range and tone. We wanted to get across a warm meaningful vocal but also put my own style on the track.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
It’s very easy on the ear with a lovely warmth to the recording, very accessible to all.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
Gregory Porter’s third album ‘Liquid Spirit’ changed my life. When I heard it, I assumed it had been released 40 years previously but then I found out it was released in 2013. I didn’t think people could make melodic vocal jazz anymore and have success with it. I was very wrong. Watching the climb he has had in his career with the style of voice he has also was so inspiring.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
I don’t have a music video yet for my first single but my brother is an original artist known as JJ Bloom. He released his debut single ‘Always you’ last year and it has a cool music video set in a roller rink.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
I’m a massive football and theatre fan. I would either be coaching or playing football or in a theatre seeing a musical or play.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I don’t actually get nervous about performing. I get a little worked up on the day of a big performance but it’s usually external things I worry about and not the actual performing part. How I deal with that is just by getting very organised and making sure that I give myself about 2 hours before every gig to let my body relax. When I was 14 and playing the artful dodger in a production of ‘Oliver’, I told my mam that I was shaking at the side of the stage and she asked me was I nervous and I said no, I couldn’t wait to get on.
HOW DID YOU FORM THE BAND?
I formed the band back in 2017. I had been gigging for 4 years as a solo act at that point. I got two friends of mine to play drums and guitar with me. They knew a bass player who then joined the band. I put out ads for a piano and sax player and found two guys and that was it. Unfortunately on the night of our first gig, my Sax player cancelled so we got a last minute stand in who became my Sax player for two years and also did my charts. I have a group of piano players that play with me and since COVID, I’m playing with different musicians too.
HOW DO YOU WRITE?
I write original work by just playing the piano every day. I play all sorts of things and whatever I repeat each day, I start to work on that piece and develop it. The lyrics come later but I prefer to collaborate on lyrics. In relation to doing covers like my debut single, it’s much more of a collaborative process. I have an idea of what I want the track to sound like and then I work with my producers and co creators on the final sound.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Artists that perform music in a similar style to me. Hearing other people bringing their ideas to a record inspires me to do the same. I’m in love with melodies. I don’t care what style of music it is, I always listen to the melodies. I’m inspired to write melodies that I would like to hear in other people’s music.
WHAT IS NEXT?
I will be releasing my second single in April 2021. I hope to have some shows booked for the end of 2021 and definitely 2022.
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.