The Donal Quinn Interview

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Irish singer/songwriter Donal Quinn is a very interesting man. We recently reviewed his track, ‘Don’t Say’, which is released today. Now we’ve had a chance to find out what goes into making Donal who he is. Check it out.

EP: What’s the Donal Quinn Story? How did you get into music?

DQ: I’ve always loved good songs growing up. Me and my brother used to tape a lot of songs off the radio. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I began to actively seek out music and properly get into it. I got a guitar and wrote my first song after my 21st birthday. It was called ‘I Love U But Ur Boring’.

EP: Who are your musical influences?

DQ: Any song, lyric or melody that I find myself singing for even a snatch of a second or a day has an influence on me as a songwriter and performer. I have a broad taste in music. I listen to everything. I like Paul Weller, George Michael, Arctic Monkeys & Jamiroquai. I’m influenced by Dance music also.

EP: Is there much of a scene in Drogheda or do you think you’re too close to Dublin?

DQ: There are a lot of talented musicians in Drogheda at the moment. I choose to gig in Dublin mostly as that’s where the movers and shakers of the music industry be. There are good venues with punters there to listen to your tunes. Plus, you can go on a good night out after the gig. Dublin is only 40mins approximately down the M1 from Drogheda, which is handy.

EP: Talk us through ‘Don’t Say’. Is it based on personal experience?

DQ: ‘Don’t Say’ is based on personal experience. It’s for any girl who never wrote back to me. 😉

EP: What’s your song writing process?

DQ: I always set out to write a big, ambitious & catchy club track that captures the sentiment of being at a gig or dancing in a nightclub where it’s the only place you can really let go of yourself. A way in which you can really express yourself.

I start off by getting a groove going on an acoustic guitar. I’ll go to my bank of lyrics or story ideas stored on whatsapp messages I send to myself on my phone. The melody will come when the lyrics and guitar groove are fused. I’ll gig that rough draft of a song a couple of times and the song should begin to come together nicely. I will then add bass, drums & overdubs and produce it on Logic (a music software program) so that it resembles a club anthem.

EP: Would you consider collaboration and if so, who’s your dream collab?

DQ: I would love to collaborate on an R&B chart topper with Craig David. He’d be a good laugh in the studio I reckon. This is how we do!

EP: Where do you see yourself in a year? 5 years?

DQ: I don’t make plans. I take things one day at a time or one song at a time. I’m just trying to focus on the present moment. I’m going to promote ‘Don’t Say’ and then record the next single. We’ll see what happens after that…

EP: What’s your take on the situation in the music industry at the moment and what’s your advice for anyone just getting into it?

DQ: There is no money to be made for artists in the current music industry and it is hard to get decent gigs. However, with social media and the internet, it has never been easier to get your music to an audience. Speaking from experience, Dublin radio stations such as Today Fm and 98Fm give homegrown artists the opportunity to get national radioplay. National media such as Hot Press, The Irish Daily Mirror and The Irish Daily Star are really supportive of Irish music also. My advice would for anyone just getting into the music industry would be to work hard on your songs, gig a lot, make recordings of broadcastable quality and email everyone. It helps if you enjoy playing songs that mean a lot to you also.

EP: What artists should we look out for? What music floats your boat right now?

DQ: There isn’t much new music that has grabbed my attention lately. John Legend – Get Lifted is floating my boat right now. I’ve been listening to that in the car for a couple of weeks now. His voice is addictive.

EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?

DQ: Something like “What does your typical day involve?” I would love that question. I’d talk extensively about my eating habits, my exercise routine, my choice of clothing and what I’d watch on tele and why.

‘Don’t Say’ is out today on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other digital distribution outlets. Donal is playing Sweeney’s Basement Bar, Dublin, on 28th August where he will be launching ‘Don’t Say’.

Find Donal online on Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud.

Donal Quinn - don't say

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email

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