Simon Fagan is not your typical Irish singer songwriter. Blending elements of gospel and folk with acoustic rock Simon and his band produce a big Americana sound.
2009 saw Simon tour heavily throughout Ireland and the UK, performing on no fewer then nine primetime BBC radio shows, Newstalk’s Weekend Blend and Today with Pat Kenny on RTE radio in Ireland. Fagan even ventured as far as Egypt, where he and his band not only performed sold out shows in Cairo, Sharm El Sheik, and Dahab, but were also invited to appear on national TV and Radio. He has previously opened for Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, and more recently at Laura Izibor’s sold out Tripod show in Dublin.
With a new album released this summer, Simon has been receiving accolades both in Ireland and the US. ‘Outside Looking In’ was named Album Of The Week by RTE, while individual songs have also been gaining attention. ‘Never Really Cried’ picked up Best Performance at this years International Songwriting Competition, chosen from 15,000 entries; ‘Damn Honey’ was named Song of the Month with Songwriter Universe in April and ‘Water’s Edge’ has just been selected for Paste Magazine’s August CD Sampler.
How do you describe your music to people, Simon?
I usually say, imagine Ryan Adams mixed with Ray La Montagne with a flavour of Paulo Nutini and a sprinkle of the Stones all in a pot, with a float of Tennessee Jack! If they haven't heard any of those, then the conversation is ended!!!
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
Having sang from a very early age (5) in choirs, in bands from the age of 13 and later studying music at 3rd level, it's safe to say I was always going to be involved in music one way or another. I really started to write songs properly at the age of 21; I was a bit of a late bloomer I suppose. Up until then, I was trying to carve the way as a classical trumpeter in an orchestra, but to be honest this wasn't for me! I wanted to write and perform my own material; after all, it was more fun!!!
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Hooking up with my mates, grabbing beers and guitars and lighting a fire in the woods and having a good old sing song, catch up and most importantly, a good slagging match, can't beat it!! Altho in Ireland it tends to rain a lot so that's why it's all the sweeter when its possible to do!!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
For me I'd have to say separating the whole creative and business aspects of it all. That said, you must keep on top of both, as you can't have one without the other.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My first day of school the teacher asked everyone, "What would you like to be when you grow up?" As one would expect most of the kids said the usual things like,"I wanna be a fireman" or "I wanna be a nurse" etc... When it came to me, I said "I wanna be a musician". Needless to say the entire class room started laughing!
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
For me, all my friends played in bands and played musical instruments. Needless to say, Ireland is a place rich in culture. We have a strong sense of story telling which dates back hundreds of years. An old Irish saying springs to mind, "Never let a good story get in the way of the truth!" You learn from those around you, especially in the early days, which has an impact on you later on, which I believe can be seen through the music you create and listen to.
What other artists out there do you love?
There's so much. Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Biffy Clyro, Modest Mouse, Fionn Regan, Rufus Wainwright, The Eels, Nina Simone, Tom Waits, Villagers, Elbow, Doves. I love a lot of the old Motown stuff as well, but who doesn't! Then there's Miles Davis, check out Spanish Sketches if you don't know it.
I could go on for days here...
What does your future hold?
Well I'm not psychic but I'll give it a whirl! I would like to think I'll be writing and releasing records for a very long time to come. A No.1 record would be nice while we're at it! Most importantly, I hope to be happy within myself and to feel self fulfilled in what I'm doing.