Tuesday 25 September 2018

'Don't do reality TV' - Eurovision's Ryan O'Shaughnessy has advice for aspiring singer songwriters

Ryan O'Shaughnessy at the Altice Arena for the Eurovision second semi-final last night. PIC: Andres Poveda
Ryan O'Shaughnessy at the Altice Arena for the Eurovision second semi-final last night. PIC: Andres Poveda

Sean O'Grady and Aoife Kelly

Ryan O'Shaughnessy has admitted he would not encourage aspiring singers to follow in his footsteps and try out for reality TV shows.

The Skerries man (25) found fame when he appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2012 and represented Ireland in the Eurovision this year.

But he's not so sure shows such as that are a good path to a long career.

"I would advise people not to do it. As a talent, you have a lot more to give than just being a snippet on a TV show," he told The Herald.

Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy performs 'Together' in the Eurovision in Lisbon on Saturday night.
Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy performs 'Together' in the Eurovision in Lisbon on Saturday night.

"I find with a lot of The X Factor singers, there are some amazing singers, but do you hear of any of them afterwards?

"There's only one or two that push hard and might make a career out of it," he said.

Ryan reckons the entertainment industry is a difficult one to survive in and it requires a lot of hard work to persevere.

"There is no easy way in the entertainment industry. You really have to graft and work hard if you want to do anything.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy from Ireland celebrates after securing a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final (Armando Franca/AP)
Ryan O’Shaughnessy from Ireland celebrates after securing a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final (Armando Franca/AP)

"There are no handouts and I find with these shows, there's a little bit of a handout. There's a stage, there's a platform, do it. But you didn't work that hard to get there. It's an interesting one," he said.

Despite his feelings on talent shows now, Ryan does not have any regrets about taking part in Britain's Got Talent.

"I have little or no regrets when it comes to my career. I've done alright out of it.

"But from my experience of it, I wouldn't be advising people to go and do it," he said.

Ryan O'Shaughnessy launching Coca-Cola HBC #YouthEmpowered 2018
Ryan O'Shaughnessy launching Coca-Cola HBC #YouthEmpowered 2018

Ryan has just been announced as the ambassador for the Coca-Cola Hellenic #YouthEmpowered programme which aims to support those aged 18-30 across Ireland and Northern Ireland who are not in education, employment or training by providing the skills and confidence to make their goals a reality. 

This year it includes a free Digital Hub which offers a range of e-learning courses to equip learners with essential skills to succeed.

"Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know.  So the project also allows people who might not know people in the industry they want to get into to get some mentors in that field," he told Independent.ie.

"My role is to be there to help anyone with any questions of queries and I can hopefully find them a mentor.  I’ll be helping out directly in the area of music and I can also pass people on to people better at business or technology or whatever their area of interest."

Having started out in acting - he spent seven years on RTE's Fair City - Ryan decided he wanted a career in music, and doggedly pursued his goal.  He encourages other young people to take a leaf out of his book.

"If you can go out and network and meet people you will end up going forward with projects.  You’re not going to do it sitting at home sending out emails," he says.

"You have to be proactive and introduce yourself. If someone laughs at you, so be it.  If you put out your hand to say hi and they turn up their nose, so be it.  Learn from these mistakes.  If you never try you never know."

Just a month after finishing 16th in the Eurovision final, Ryan is already working on his new single, Civil War, and running songwriting camps for other writers, producers and artists.

He's also still promoting his album, Back to Square One, which released late 2016.  Rather than release another he's concentrating on singles.

"It's all about pushing individual songs," he says. "The way the industry has gone it's very hard to hold people's attention for longer than three minutes.  It's quite sad but it's just the way it is and you have to roll with it.

"With singles you have to really focus and get your story across with a quick narrative.  But there's something lovely about an album.  It's a like a long induced euphoria, not like a little quick fix like a single.  I'll definitely do another album at some stage, just not right now."

Young people can register for free life and business skills training courses online at www.youthempowered.ie

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