FM Meets: Shobsy

"I am an Irish solo artist interested in bringing classic sounds/songwriting into a modern context."
24 February 2022

By Frank Bell

Dublin export Shobsy debuts his exhilarating new single ‘Vanity’ – a dynamic portrayal of self-obsession in the 21st century. Coalescing contemporary soundscapes with classic pop melodies of the 80s, Shobsy has been hotly tipped for his compelling vocals and is rapidly becoming a leading artist to watch in Ireland. ‘Vanity’ hits the ground running with riveting falsetto and pulsing synths that mimic the modern-day sonics of The Weeknd with the nostalgic adrenaline rush of 80s icons like A-ha and Bronski Beat. 

We wanted to know more so asked him a few questions. Get to know him below.  

For anyone who is unfamiliar with you and your music, how would you describe yourself and your sound in a few words? 

I am an Irish solo artist interested in bringing classic sounds/songwriting into a modern context. The sound has a mix of 80’s synths with shades of modern R&B. It’s designed to sound big, exciting, and unapologetic.

Tell us a bit more about your new single ‘Vanity’.

‘Vanity’ is a song I wrote in response to our growing reliance on social media as a society. It is an incredible tool but has the potential to make us very ugly if not used correctly. Vanity is a song about when it gets ugly and the character of the song falls deeply into a state of self-obsession and paranoia.

What about the incredible music video that comes attached with the song?! Where did the idea for this visual emerge from?

Thank you! The video came about through a collaboration with my best friend Adam O’Regan (Director and guitarist of Soda Blonde). He had the amazing idea of reflecting the song’s theme of self-obsession and greed through the story of Dorian Gray and the aging painting. It shows that the character of the video seems on the outside to be young and vibrant but is in fact internally ugly and monstrous.

We must address the fact that this is your debut single, which is huge! How much preparation goes into releasing your debut track?

I had forgotten how much work goes in! There are so many aspects, from mixing/mastering the track to making a music video. And then the forming of a social media campaign. Writing the song is nearly the easiest part!

Did you always know that “Vanity” would be the track that re-introduces you to the world?
It has always stood out, though there are other songs that I’m so buzzed to get out there into the world! All coming soon!

We say the word “re-introduces” because you were in fact a member of rock group State Lights before you were branded off to do your own thing – what do you think the main difference is from being in a band to going it solo?

I loved my time in State Lights. I definitely miss the carrying of the load that comes with being in a group, which is both practical and emotional. But the freedom to get totally lost on my own in songwriting and sound is certainly an interesting new aspect.

Going solo has brought a new synth-pop sound out of yourself – was this always the direction you planned to go in sound-wise?

I actually had no plan when I started recording the project about a year ago. I said to myself I would follow my nose and see what comes out. It just so happened that it was very synth lead. I want the music to naturally shift and take on different styles as it wants to, In a similar way to heroes of mine like David Bowie.

In “Vanity” we can hear clear references to the likes of A-ha and Bronski Beat – which other artists do you draw your influences from?

Modern artists like The Weeknd and Christine and the Queens have influenced me massively.

As “Vanity” is your debut track as a solo artist, what else is there in store for the rest of the year?

I play my first headline show in acclaimed venue Whelans in Dublin on the same day as Vanity’s release (Feb 25th). It has sold out and I can’t wait!

Finally, who is on your playlist right now?

I’ve been blasting out The Weeknd new album Dawn FM ever since it was released. I’m currently on tour with my friend’s band Soda Blonde from Ireland and have been blasting that out too!