Interview by Barry Egan
Ryan Sheridan created his first album in four.
To be at one with his thoughts and his muse (and possibly his trademark cap too), he rented a cottage in Glencolmcille — “way up in the Donegal mountains”.
Hiding himself away from the world to write the brilliant album — The Day You Live Forever — that would announce the Monaghan viber to the world, he had the fridge full of coffee and Buckfast wine for the writing ordeal that awaited him.
“I mostly had the music. Apart from one song, Jigsaw, which I had already written, I wrote all the lyrics up there in four days in 2011.
“It’s been five years since The Day You Live Forever,” he says, meaning his debut album. “I think I’ve grown up a lot in those five years.
“I wasn’t really thinking of writing the album until it all kicked off for me. It was like, ‘You’ve got a record deal now.’
“There was pressure to get the album done. So I didn’t have a back catalogue of songs but I felt confident in what I wanted to do, musically. I’ve changed a lot since then.”
The star, who is playing the 2fm Xmas Ball 2015 in aid of ISPCC at the 3Arena in Dublin on December 23, with Hozier, Gavin James, The Riptide Movement and many more is down to earth, even normal.
Most writers or singers when asked if they had a vision when they started off will regale you with some prosaic nonsense that they cogged off William Blake. Ryan Sheridan is clearly different.
“I didn’t have a vision at all,” he says. “I honestly didn’t. I just wanted to find a sound,” he continues, “a niche, a sound that was for me.”
How does song-writing work for him? Where do the songs come from?
“It can happen loads of different ways for me,” he answers.
“I have an iPhone that is full of whistling or little tunes of me singing,” he smiles.
“There are all sorts of ways it can happen. The music comes first with me — mostly.
“And other times, a song can happen and be finished within an hour, but usually it is the music first. I sit and listen to the music and record the demos and sit down and write the song.”
The new single I’m alive from his album Here And Now is about, he says, “what’s going on now”.
“Everybody’s working now. Everybody’s working class now. That is the way it is. Everybody is working day and night. Trying to live. That’s what the song is about.”
This is encapsulated by Ryan’s working life too: he has just come back from a tour of Europe and prior to that — with a three-day break at home with his wife Susan and their two-year-old baby Toby — a tour of China.
“It is tough going away, but it is the bigger picture of Toby’s future,” Ryan says meaning touring internationally in order to pay for his young son’s future.
“With all the money you’re making” I ask him, “could you not just fly out Toby and your wife out on your private jet to China?”
“The private jet was broke at the time,” smiles Ryan, who lives in Kinsealy with Toby and Susan.
The day he came in to record the Windmill Lane Sessions for Independent.ie his mojo was very definitely working, however. . . ”
“In fact, it was in overdrive. The cap-wearing troubadour’s rendition of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game was nothing short of beautiful.
“It is a great song. A massive riff. I’ll give it a good go and see — hopefully it works.”
You can now also watch Independent.ie’s Windmill Lane Sessions on TG4. Ryan Sheridan plays the Academy in Dublin on January 30 and Roisin Dubh in Galway on December 18.
Windmill Lane Sessions: The creative wisdom of the Young Folk