CALLAN O'CONOR

Tell us about your journey into becoming a musician.

C: My journey as a musician started when I was a little girl. I would set up pots and bowls in the kitchen to play drums, steal my dad’s guitar and basically break the strings trying to learn how to play. My parents heard of a school in Austin (where, luckily, I spent my childhood) called Natural Ear. The school brought kids around the same age together, taught them how to play instruments by ear, and then set up gigs around the city playing rock music at legendary venues. Through the ages of 8-11, I sang lead and played bass with my closest friends in Austin. My family, then, moved to Orange County because of my dad’s work. I continued to play music throughout school, then said fuck it and moved to LA when I was 17. I started recording in a studio, learning the ropes and getting comfortable. Currently, I’m writing an album and singing cover remixes with a producer named Menno Beck from Norway and Jesty Beatz in LA.

What sort of music do you enjoy listening to?

C: When people ask what my favorite genre of music is, I’m always at a loss for words. I mostly listen to oldies like Sam Cooke, Etta James, Ray Charles, Elvis – the list goes on, but I really enjoy house music. I love music festivals and the energy they ignite. Stevie Wonder’s lyrics, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand” are so true. No matter who you are, I believe music brings people closer and creates peace. When you hear a song, whether it brings up a memory or is relevant to how you feel right now, you belong to a collective human emotion. We are all different but can connect in many ways. Nothing does that better than music.

Every artist looks for recognition in some shape or form. Who do you think you seek that from when it comes to validation for your work?

C: I just want people to feel something when they hear my songs and my voice. I don’t feel like I need validation from anyone. I’ve never been one to want to be “famous” or anything, but when I do release music, all I want is for people to relate and feel it in their soul.


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What inspires your art and motivation to keep creating?

C: I have a lot of people who inspire me. Growing up, Norah Jones was my idol. Recently, Billie Eilish has hit me hard. Her songs have been extremely relatable and her voice is out of this world - like an angel. Besides actual artists, being at concerts or listening to those "goosebump-chilling" songs always give me inspiration. Sometimes I listen to a song and think, “Shit, I wish I had written this.” It pushes me to become a stronger and better writer/artist.

If you could collaborate with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?

C: If I could collaborate with an artist that has passed away it would either be Sam Cooke or Amy Winehouse. (They also happen to be my go-to for karaoke.) Alive…probably Billie Eilish. Vocally she is just exceptional and I would be honored to work with her.

What sort of challenges do you face as a creative? How do you overcome those obstacles?

C: Writers block for sure (haha). I’m a very emotional person and putting so many feelings into a song is a lot harder than it seems, at least for me. I like to jot down ideas, take a break/breath and come back with a clearer head or different mind set.

What’s something no one knows about you that can only be found in this interview?

C: This is the hardest question! I feel like people always assume I grew up wealthy, being from a nice neighborhood in Austin and moving to a nice neighborhood in Orange County. I couldn’t be more thankful for my parents and how hard they’ve worked to give my sister and me the best life they possibly could, but they definitely went through some obstacles to get where they are today. I look up to them and their hustle more than anyone in the whole world. If I could describe how I feel about having them as parents, “blessed” would be an understatement.

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Photographer | Shane Rad

Raylene PereyraComment