Alan Boyle

Born in Irland and now living in Australia, Alan Boyle is an amazing emerging singer-songwriter succesfully making a name for himself in the acoustic folk genre.  His talent has so far been recognized in different forms; For instance, he won the 2009 Billy Thorpe Scholarship Award by Arts QLD and the Thorpe family following the release of his second EP, Oxygen,  Following the successs of his first EP and more nominations in international music song-writing competitions, he found the inspiration and confidence to record the his first full-lenght and very anticipated album AM:FM which he is hoping will be available by the end of 2012.  For more info on this artist and tour dates, visit:
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Please introduce yourself to our audience!

Alan:  Hi folks, my name is Alan Boyle, an Irish singer-songwriter based in Brisbane, Australia.

Valerie: What fuels your passion about playing and writing music?

Alan:  To be truthful, I'm not really all that good at anything else! Music's been part of my life since I can remember...  It's like breathing, so completely essential and natural to me.  It's not easy a lot of the time and I struggle with the non-creative aspects of it as much as the creative parts but I don't know anything else that makes me feel quite so alive, or just plain useful.

Valerie: Your new album will be coming out soon.  When is it coming out, what is it called and why is this album special to you?

Alan:  The album will be call "AM:FM" and it's in two parts - I really wanted to explore a few different aspects of sound on it, sort of a bit of sonic dichotomy, etc.  I play a lot of shows solo, so when I do a band gig it's a completely different animal again. Some songs benefit from electric guitars and drums and others simply don't... So the first half of the album is sort of acoustic lo-fi and then it segues slowly into the heavier angrier stuff, and lots of shouting. I'm trying to achieve something that you can listen to at four in the morning and by the time it's over your raring to rip into the day.

I'm planning to have it out by the end of this year.... but it's like what John Lennon said about plans, right?
It's still a work in progress - I'm on my second deadline after a year and a half! I'm an indie, so it's all self-funded and that's an often frustrating stumbling block. It does mean though that it's got it's own gestation period, and doesn't seem to want to be hurried either...  I'm still writing what I think are better songs each time so perhaps it's for the best.
Valerie: What expectations do you have with this album?

Alan: I think it's about being consistent in producing good work. I mightn't get that festival slot this year, but next year I will. Or the year after, because I'll still be around, getting better at what I'm doing and reaching more people as I do it. You can make a masterpiece and have nobody but your family hear it and big you up...  It's an industry and you need help from people in certain positions to get airplay or synch and licensing opps and the first, most important thing is to be so fricking good at what you do that you can't be ignored.

Valerie: The track Shepard and the Sheep will be the second single.  It shows off your vocals really well. How did you learn to sing and how do you maintain your voice on the road.

Alan:  Thanks. I try and sing without my head getting in the way. If I think too much about what I'm doing I tense up, and it causes a lot of strain on my voice. I try to just be in the moment as much as possible.  Sounds easy, right? :) I've got terrible technique, but I don't mind bleeding over it sometimes.  Getting sleep on the road is the single most important thing - I used to be a smoker but it totally destroyed my voice. Being on a stage and reaching for a note you absolutely must have and fall from the face of it like a man off a cliff is the most ridiculous thing when you know it's down to the cigarettes you had the night before.

Valerie: You have a beautiful voice; who are your role models vocally?

I'm mostly into female singers... Billie Holiday, Fiona Apple, Beth Gibbons... Women to me express stuff better, certainly in an emotional sense so I probably try to emulate that in some way I guess.

Valerie: Tell me about two songs that are contrasting in styles on this album.

Alan: Highway Of Dreams was the first single last summer, it's in 5/8 and tells the story of an orphan born in a car accident in the sugarcane fields of Queensland. It's a ghost story, kind of haunting...  In contrast "Shepherd And The Sheep",  I'm still trying to figure out.  It's pretty angry and probably born of a lot of the frustrations involved with being in the music industry :)

Valerie: Is there a song on the album that you hold very close to your heart?  What is it about and why is that so?

Alan:  Desire would probably be my current favourite, but they're my kids and I love them all equally!

Valerie: Tell about another song that gets lots of positive fan responses...

Alan:  Oxygen is the title track of my last EP and that always gets hearts and hands moving at a show.

Valerie: What song on the album do you feel is particularly worth listening to the lyrics carefully?

Alan: I'm very proud of the lyrics on Highway Of Dreams. The first two lines of the song ran around my head for over a year, and then one day just laid themselves out for me like a sunset. That sort of stuff keeps you going, I reckon.

Valerie: What are you touring plans for this summer?

Alan:  Well, our summer in Oz is your winter, but I'll be touring nationally in Australia in a few months to support the release of the next single Shepherd And The Sheep.  I'm hoping to be back in Ireland for some dates before the holidays, all being well and eventually make it over to Canada at some point in the next year. I spent some time in Toronto a few years ago and can't wait to get back and see the rest of the country!

Valerie: Awesome!  Good luck, thank you!

Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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