Ten Minutes with Dublin singer-songwriter Karl McConnon

Ten Minutes with Dublin singer-songwriter Karl McConnon

Karl McConnon, an indie rocker hailing from Dublin, is back with his latest single release Heaven Has Gained Another Angel released at the end of March.

With a musical journey spanning over fifteen years, Karl draws inspiration from his Dublin roots, and infuses eclectic influences from his life's adventures into his music. 

His latest single offers a poignant exploration of universal themes of loss and resilience.

Karl McConnon (image by Ray Keogh)

What are you up to?

Well after a hectic March, it’s now April and I’m diving back into the studio to breathe life into some fresh tracks I've been tinkering with.

Which piece of music always sends a shiver down your spine?

Nirvana's tunes do it for me. They're like an emotional rollercoaster in the form of music – heavy, depressing, yet incredibly meaningful. Their music is like a dark cloud with a silver lining, always a profound experience.

Who would be in your ideal band?

Imagine this: Dave Grohl smashing the drums, Flea grooving on bass, and Dimebag Darrell shredding the guitar. A line-up that would make the heavens rock! To spice it even further you can add Rick Wright on the synth, an instrument that became integral to my sound.

How did you get started in music?

My musical journey started at 12 with a guitar and a heart full of emotions. After my mother passed, the guitar became my solace and voice. I cut my teeth performing at the local youth centere then took my tunes to the streets of Dublin. Learning from the streets and the diverse music I encountered, I dove into music theory and performance in college. From busking to pub gigs, music wasn't just my passion; it became my livelihood.

What are your Irish roots?

I'm a Dubliner through and through, but my roots stretch back to the charming fields of Co. Wexford.

What’s on your smartphone playlist at the minute?

My playlist is like a musical salad – a bit of everything! From the hypnotic beats of Middle Eastern melodies to the nostalgic 90s dance techno, sprinkled with a dash of Killswitch Engage and a hint of bluegrass. It's a whirlwind of genres that somehow harmonise in my ears.

Football or art galleries?

Football, hands down! And I wear the proud hat of a GAA dad, cheering on the sidelines for my son.

Opera or vaudeville?

Opera – there's something about those soaring arias that just gets to me.

What song being played at a party would make you leave immediately?

Taylor Swift's tracks have this mysterious power to send me packing. Can't put my finger on why though.

What is your favourite place in Ireland?

Galway holds a special place in my heart. The Spanish Arch isn't just a landmark; it's a treasure trove of memories, including the magical day I got married.

What would be your motto?

"What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve" by Napoleon Hill. It's like a mantra for the soul, reminding us of the power of belief.

Mozart or Martin Hayes?

Mozart for me. His Turkish March is the lullaby that sends my son to dreamland.

Which living person do you most admire?

My wife and sons – they're the stars in my sky, guiding me through life's journey.

Who will you thank in your Grammy award acceptance speech?

I'd start with my wife, the beacon of my life, and then my in-laws, always there, rain or shine. A shoutout to my sister Sarah for tolerating me forever, and Joan Hynes and Jay  (my music teacher and guitar teacher) who orchestrated my music path. A big thanks to Yahav and Mor Massasa for their couch during my album recording days, Record Replay Productions, and Ray Keogh for bringing out my camera confidence.

If you weren’t a musician what other job would you be really good at?

Sales. I've got a knack for connecting with people, understanding them, and that adrenaline rush from making a great sale is unbeatable.

What's the worst piece of advice you've been given this year?

"Would you not get a grown-up job?" they said. As if making music isn't the most grown-up thing I've ever done.

Have you a favourite line from a song?

"All this pain is an illusion," from Tool's Parabola. It's like a poetic truth bomb wrapped in melody.

In terms of inanimate objects, what is your most precious possession?

My Fox and Wolfe custom piano. It's not just a musical instrument; it's a piece of art, unique and irreplaceable.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

I'm nestled right between the bustling heart of Dublin city and the serene Phoenix Park. It's the perfect blend of urban excitement and countryside calm.

...and the worst?

The weather – it's like Mother Nature's mood swings.

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?

Never take anything for granted. Losing my mom young taught me that life is a precious gift.

What gives you the greatest laugh?

A mix of South Park, the classic charm of dad jokes, and the wit of Dave McSavage. They're like a comedic trifecta that never fails to crack me up.

What do you believe in?

I believe in God, the profound wisdom of the Old Testament, and the inherent goodness in people's hearts. While I am not a religious man, I have a deep connection to it and it's faith that keeps my compass pointing true.

What do you consider the greatest work of art?

Dante's Inferno, with its epic journey through the afterlife, and Michelangelo's masterpieces that breathe life into stone and paint. They're like windows into the human soul.

Who/what is the greatest love of your life?

My family. They're the melody to my life's songs, the harmony in my day-to-day symphony. They turn every moment into a masterpiece.