Songwriting UK — Winter 2017

(Axel Boer) #1


Having not even released a single

yet, we’re introducing Irish pop-

folk singer-songwriter Conor

Maley at a very early stage, but

the 22-year-old’s fledgling career

has come a long way in a short

space of time. This year has been

particularly exciting, as he won

the 2017 JBL EON ONE Take

songwriting competition and

  • as one of the prizes – got the

opportunity to record his song,

Lost Boy, with Grammy winning

producer Steve Levine. However,

before reaching this high point,

Conor has had to come though

some desperate lows.

Raised in Donegal, with a music

teaching father, it wasn’t a huge

surprise that Conor would pick
up an instrument as a child and,
by the age of 13 he had strummed
the chords of his first song on an
old nylon-string guitar. But life
was about to turn upside down
and songwriting would become
an important, cathartic process
for the teenager. As Conor recalls:
“When I was 16, my parents split
up and I went to Belfast. I studied
music for two years and was in a
few bands there. I was writing a lot
songs, to get over things.”
Those ‘things’ would become
much harder and even led to him
contemplating taking his own life.
“I had really bad depression for
years,” admits Conor. “It got to the
point where I was standing on a
bridge going, ‘Should I or shouldn’t
I?’ But while I was in that state, I
was writing and writing, and that

was the only thing that would take
away what I was feeling... The more
I wrote, the better I felt.”
Thankfully, Conor’s recovery
continued when he moved back
to Donegal, and kept songwriting.
“Once people heard my songs,
they’d tell me, ‘They’re fantastic,
thanks!’ That’s why I write: people
go through things and I feel my
songs give them a way to explain
how they’re feeling.”


“I had really bad depression
for years... The more I wrote,
the better I felt”
Name: Conor Maley
Age: 22
Location: Donegal, Ireland
Style: “make you think” pop-folk
Look out for: his debut EP that
should be released in early 2018

The Irish musician, who won JBL’s songwriting competition, is on the up


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