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Susan O’Neill (AKA SON) is a talented musician, originally from Ennis, now splitting her time between Waterford and Dublin. She performs with Propellor Palms and King Kong Company, but last year, went out on her own to launch her first Solo album “Found myself Lost”.
This week, she had a catch up with our Anna, to talk about how music lifts her soul…
Can you tell us first what it is that you love about music?

I really do love just about everything about how music is and how it happens. Some of my favourite aspects of music are the impacts it can have on the human body. It can cause involuntary movement and evoke thoughts and emotions within us. I firmly believe that music can also assist in curing certain illnesses, both mental and physical, within the human body. From a day to day approach it can simply change the mood of any human being that is open to it and uses it effectively. To me, music is magic.

The first song (listen here) on your album is about dealing with anxiousness – can you tell us a bit more about that?

Well I was 23 when I experienced my first proper panic attack. A scary sensation. The anxiousness was an accumulation of many things. My health, an unbalanced diet, etc., Mostly there was a lack of awareness about my own mental health. I had many more episodes up until the age of 26. At that point I realised I needed to do something about them or they would never go away. Music was such a large part of finding the balance for me. Writing about it helped to release some of the negativity in my own mind. Furthermore, singing about it helped release the fear. During the process of writing anything personal down on paper, I do believe a slight shift happens within the brain whereby it is a little more released than it was before. In reading your own material back you get a chance to see yourself in a different light. Sometimes a good light, sometimes a harsh truthful rude awakening. Both are good, really.

What advice would you give to any young people now trying to make a career in music?

If you’re going to do it, don’t do it for anyone but yourself. A good friend of mine always says when it comes to making music “no matter how crazy it may seem at the time, always go down the rabbit hole.” Regardless of what anyone else feels or thinks, do what feels good to you. Try something off the wall. Why not? I spent the first few years in my music career designing songs to be what I thought they ‘had to be’ to get played on the radio. It took a while to discover that the real beauty lies in being different, and moreover being strong enough to put the untainted version of yourself out there, as you are.

You also write your own songs. What is that like as a process?

Writing is very therapeutic for me. I tend to piece songs together bit by bit until it’s finished, then a few months later I might come back and change it all again. My process is a little unusual, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, but writing always makes me feel good afterward.

I know that as well as being a musician, you are very passionate about environmental issues. What do you think is important for young people to know about that and how do you think they can make small changes to make a difference?

Where to even begin with this question? Environmental issues are literally everywhere at the moment. Some in particular are getting a little scary lately. Global warming, poisonous toxins and emissions released into our bodies, oceans and land. The dreaded plastic age is another massive issue that causes my heart to sink on a regular basis. It feels like anyone trying to make a positive difference is up against the uncompromising power of well, power. The best thing I can recommend, and I struggle with this still, would be to find what issues resonate with you most on a personal level and maybe try make a little difference to this avenue of your own life. Little changes really, really do make all the difference.

What would you like to say to our readers that you wish you’d known as a 15-year-old?

Do not listen to adults who tell you that these are ‘the best years of your life’. It used to scare me into thinking that everything went downhill after school. Well, it doesn’t, not if you don’t want it to 🙂

Watch Susans glorious videos on her Youtube channel.

Follow on Facebook for updates on gigs, new recording etc. https://www.facebook.com/susan.oneill.144

Here’s a nice one to get you started….