Declan J Donovan – 10 Questions with TotalNtertainment.
22-year-old Declan J Donovan has a keen ear for a melody. The young singer-songwriter from Harlow has quickly carved out an audience for his direct approach: straight-to-the-point pop songs built out of simple ideas. His music paints time-worn experiences with broad brushstrokes, reflecting a musical vision that’s easy to relate to. Still early into his career, he’s enjoyed a rapid ascent to recognition, aided by a sharp instinct for a softly-sung hit.
His quick rise to prominence has been sparked by one of the first songs he ever wrote. ‘Fallen So Young’, written for his brother’s wedding, was performed in lieu of a best man’s speech. Probing love-lorn romance, youth and identity, it was a debut that – like all of Donovan’s music – wore its heart on its sleeve. He hadn’t planned for it to go any further, but when he uploaded the demo six months later, the response took him by surprise.
1 Thanks for your time. You put out Tangerine Skies last week and have another new song coming out shortly. Keeping busy then ?
Thanks for having me! I’ve been keeping so busy the whole of lockdown, I thought I’d find it hard to be creative but songs are coming to me more than ever! And I get to do it all from my bed so there’s also many naps inbetween the creative process haha
2. How has the lockdown affected your plans and what are your plans going forward ?
I think the lockdown has just put all of my touring and recording plans on hold! But I’ve started recording at home so at least I can get vocals recorded for new songs when they’re needed!
There’s gonna be a lot of music this year from me as I’ve got so much more free time to write
3. You mentioned isolation boredom kicking in on twitter and looked for Netflix series to watch. What’s on your watchlist at the moment ?
I’m about to start watching After Life I’ve heard it’s incredible! I obviously watched Tiger King along with the whole world and that’s probably the highlight of lockdown so far!
4. Other than Netflix and writing new material, are there any things that you’re really bad at (DIY, cooking) that you’re spending your time improving ?
I think it’s a good time to get fit, I said I’d start working out but haven’t yet haha. But I did buy a digital piano so I’ve been learning that over the last month!
5. Going back to the start, you’ve had quite a busy couple of years, from something that started with a song you wrote for your brother’s wedding. What were your ambitions back then ?
I think at the beginning I had no ambitions as I always thought this job was impossible to make anything out of! I was pretty content playing in local pubs and bars and writing songs in my bedroom. But when it all started to happen i couldn’t believe it! I think I’m still in shock that it’s happening 5 years on haha
6. You released a song earlier this year called “Fighting With Myself”, what advice would you give somebody struggling with isolation and their own mental health at the moment ?
I think I’ve learned to focus on the things I’m grateful for and try not to compare myself to others. Everyone’s always got their own personal struggles. But if you’re feeling sad or anxious just talk to a friend, as easy as it is to say, that’s the thing that’s helped me the most right now.
7. Given that you’ve done your own DIY tours in the past and seeing how creative musicians are being to promote themselves, do you think we’ll see a big change in the music industry and how it operates when we come out of lockdown ?
I feel like lockdown has completely moved everything digital. Right now the only we we can expose our music to new people is through social media. It’s quite sad as social media is the cause for so many mental health problems with young people and now that everything has moved online us singers are forced to compare ourselves to everyone else in our genre of music as it’s now all about how big your Social numbers are.
8. What is the one change you hope to see in people and daily life when life returns to normal ?
I’m loving how the focus is now on giving. People are being so much more empathetic to other people’s struggles and it’s amazing. In a world where our government has ignored the people (including the NHS) it’s amazing to see everyone get together to help others. So I hope the focus stays on the working class and our health service when this is over.
9. Just for fun: If you could be locked up with your biggest celebrity crush who would you want to be locked up with and why ?
Oh wow. I dunno if meeting someone for the first time by being told we’re getting locked up together would be the best first impression but could turn romantic I suppose haha. I don’t really get celebrity crushes but Rita Ora is unreal so let’s go with her.
10. Finally, thanks for your time. What is the first thing you’re going to do when lockdown restrictions are lifted ?
First thing I’m gonna do is see my nephews! And probably get a McDonald’s, never craved a Big Mac so much in my life!
Cheers guys x
New song ‘Tangerine Skies’ out now, find out more at declanjdonovan.com