Photo Credit: Rah Foard
No matter the stage, those born with an innate gift love to be at the center of it. Growing up Siobhán O’Brien wanted nothing more than to be an acrobat in the circus, but coming from a family where music was as common as breathing she flip flopped on that dream as soon as a guitar was put in her hand.
“Once I started playing guitar there was no other way I would be anything else.”
After that she found herself inspired by great American singer-songwriters who were storytellers at their core. Moved by what she heard, she made the biggest move of her life in 2016 and headed to the US. While others would’ve been terrified to do so, especially that year, it’s worked out well and where we start this exchange.
Kendra: You decided to move to the US in 2016. Not our best year and it hasn’t been since. Hopefully, the music scene you found has treated you well and made the move worth it. Speaking of, how did you decide where to settle after spending your life in Ireland?
Siobhán O’Brien: Everyone has been very supportive. It was chance, I got instant work in the local Irish bars through a great woman called Patty Simpson, I don’t think I would’ve been able to survive long in the states had I been anywhere else that I would’ve had to get the gigs myself. It takes so long to get an establishment to even look at you. I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay. Plus my friend of 17 years lived in the area and I was able to stay with her…Thanks, Metta and Tony.
Kendra: ‘You Can’t Run Out of Love’ showcases your journey and adventures since the big move, but how do you feel it showcases your overall growth from your 1996 debut?
Siobhán O’Brien: Great question – I feel like I was 18 leaving home for the first time and I finally did all the growing up I should’ve done when I was 18. We need time to ourselves to figure stuff out. It has been a HUGE learning curve. I have gone from strength to strength. Confidence is a huge factor, learning how to navigate everything on your own is a big wake up call and you learn to rely on yourself which gives you the confidence to show up for yourself all the time. I feel like Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway,’ I just had to make that raft…and get off that island to find my audience. Musically I hope I’ve grown, but a lot of my essence is constant.
Kendra: Adventures and your move are showcased, but you also noted women being something this album focuses on as well. In almost every industry, music especially, women have to fight harder for what’s rightfully theirs. Who are some women in music you feel have made your industry a better, safer space for women since you started?
Siobhán O’Brien: Joan Baez, she makes a point of hiring women on her touring team, Brandi Carlile has moved mountains for women, even helping out Tanya Tucker to bring her back into the arena again after an already amazing career. Patti Smith is a cracker, very inspiring to look up to her as she is very centered and balanced. Buffy Sainte-Marie has always been a fighting spirit for me. She blazed through the barriers of being a Native American. What a sad thing to say in 2020.
Kendra: Now for a little game, we love to play here; Cover, Duet, Tour. When it comes to Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, and Brandi Carlile – which one would you want to cover, a duet with, and then simply tour with?
Siobhán O’Brien: Ha!, Well I already cover all these great women, so I’d love to duet with Brandi Carlile, and tour with the sage Joni, what you could learn from that woman? WOW! Even though she doesn’t tour anymore.
Kendra: Other than the shows you already have on the books in the new year, what’s 2020 have in store for you?
Siobhán O’Brien: Well, I hope more growth in every direction. I would love to get the perfect booking agent for me.