The years have been good to Paddy Casey. The Dublin singer-songwriter is little different from the fresh-faced 24-year-old in the cover photo of his 1999 debut album Amen (So Be it).
His daughter Saoirse, who lives with him in the house in Kildare where he recorded his latest album, is about the same age he was then. She inherited the talent of her father but also that of her mother, singer Sinéad Martin, and followed both in the music industry.
Saoirse has an album (the underrated Lunaria) under her belt and although her indie-folk style is far removed from her father’s, she didn’t mind lending honeyed vocals to the songs on ‘Turn This Ship Around’, his father’s first album in nearly nine years.
“Yes, Saoirse is on it but also her violinist, her boyfriend at the time and about twenty other people,” he told me during a Zoom call from his home studio.
‘I remember I was putting a piano or something on a song, “Falling To Pieces”, and I could hear it in the other room, sing little melodies to it, and I just said, ” Get in here! ” Seriously, I just told her, “Sing what you feel. I like his voice. I don’t know where she got it from, even though her mother was a great singer.
Neither Paddy nor Sinéad, who separated when their daughter was a child, had the slightest apprehension that she would follow in their footsteps.
“I don’t think being in music is a terrible place – it’s a great way to make a living,” says Paddy.
“Saoirse has a great attitude about it. She does what she does. She doesn’t compromise. I could tell her, “That’s a great chorus, you should repeat it,” she would say, “No, that’s how I want it.” She doesn’t work like I work. She has a vision for a song and she sticks to it.
Paddy Casey had multi-platinum success in Ireland with his first three albums while signing with major label Sony. Its first independent release, The Secret Life Of… in 2012, did not have the same success as the other three and, with the exception of a few singles releases and a Best Of collection in 2014, it has remained very silent until his return with a double album, which, in a rare case for such an ambitious endeavor, maintains a high standard throughout.
“If I had been to Sony or any other major, I wouldn’t have had to release a double album – they would have told me to go and F myself,” he said politely.
“A lot of people have said to me, ‘Nobody wants to hear an album. People just wanna [individual] Songs “. That’s what kids do and they’re so good at making these great recordings of their songs in their rooms. I’m from when you were making albums. You don’t have to have it. label of approval from a record company now. You can do it yourself. ‘
The lack of live work has meant that Paddy’s income has been hit like most other musicians over the past 18 months, but he is hopeful that he will return to tour soon. He used his time very productively. “I have a lot of things to come and I hope the dates I have in the journal will stay where they are,” he says.
“I don’t know how long everyone can afford to wait. Fortunately, I don’t have four or five children. The musicians weren’t really taken care of. Even this PUP… A lot of people didn’t get it because they don’t make money the same way… They’ll play four or five gigs a month and that will be their life. One size did not fit all.
“I’m like everyone else, I panicked for about a month and thought to myself, ‘Should I do something else? Then I thought, “Keep doing what you’re doing and wait and see.” I wrote like crazy. I started to learn the piano. I wrote a musical, which is mental for me! It’s a show in its own right. I don’t have the whole script… I wrote the script and the music. I know what I want to happen all along. It’s called Space Adventure 444. It’s kind of a plot-sci-fi love story.
“There was actually something very liberating about COVID. A lot of people have had a year off that they would never have taken in their lives. There was nothing to miss; everyone was in the same shit.
- Paddy Casey’s Turn This Ship Around is now available. Click on here for shows.