Upcoming Irish musician Johnny Bourke is set to release his debut single “Can’t Do Without” on July 3rd 2020 & has kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about his upcoming musical release.
Hey Johnny, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Johnny: Thank you for having me! My name is Johnny Bourke, I’m 25, from Tipperary, Ireland and I’m releasing my debut single “Can’t Do Without” on July 3rd. I love guitar, Netflix, pizza, and I’m a self-confessed John Mayer fan-boy.
When did you first discover your passion for music & knew that it was a career that you wanted to pursue?
Johnny: I suppose that it was always there really. I’ve been singing since a very young age, I took up guitar when I was 12, piano shortly after, studied Math and Music in University (Trinity College, Dublin) and have been gigging non-stop since I was 17. I never really put too much thought into it when I was younger as to whether it would be my job, I never knew what I wanted to do! But when I graduated and it came to the stage where it was time to “pick a career path” I had already burgeoned a rather steady workflow with music and there was nothing else I could see myself being happier doing, so I kept going and have never looked back!
Can you recall the first song you performed in front of an audience?
Johnny: In typical Irish fashion it was probably some sing-a-long at a family gathering but in terms of a significant audience I think it was “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash at the Christmas show for a drama school which I attended growing up. It was two shows and probably three or four hundred people both nights. I was 13 and I remember being star-struck by the whole production – the massive stage, the microphones, the lights, the fireworks (yes there were pyrotechnics for the dance numbers!). It was just me and my guitar and I’ll never forget the buzz I felt before, during, and after. I didn’t realise it at the time but those shows were really instrumental in setting me down a road of performing.
How would you describe your musical style to someone unfamiliar with your music?
Johnny: I suppose the most accurate description is pop rock. I have so many musical influences it would be hard to start listing them. I’m a guitar player at heart and I love song writing and the art form of putting a story to music. Others have told me the output genre should be labelled pop but I’m not thinking about that when I write or when I play. I’m just doing what feels right to me. I’m influenced by blues, funk, country, classical and pretty much anything I actively listen to.
Your debut single “Can’t Do Without” looks set to be released on July 3rd. How did the idea to record this song come together?
Johnny: It was a LONG process. I was writing and recording demos in my home studio for a long time but it was few and far between that I was getting songs that I was fully happy with. I had about 6 tracks that I knew had potential but needed some magic dust to finish them off so I sent them to some top producers that I wanted to work with. Jackson Dimiglio-Wood who worked on Illuminate with Shawn Mendes was on that list and he took a shine to a couple of the demos. I went over to London to his studio and we finished two glorious tracks. Can’t Do Without is the first one I’m putting out and I couldn’t be happier. It took about two years and three countries from the original demo I did in Tipperary to the studio in London to the final mastered mix I got back from Randy Merrill in New York.
What would you consider to be the main inspiration behind this song?
Johnny: The song is about that person that you just can’t get enough of. Every time you see them they make you want to smile. The chorus is putting your heart out on the line and telling them that you just want one chance; one word, one night, one time, and you will show them how much they mean to you. The song sounds like pure sunshine because the message is simple and strong.
What does this song personally mean to you?
Johnny: Thematic personal connections aside, the song and what it as an entity represents means everything to me. Self-doubt and reservations are demons which unfortunately every artist is subject to. Before I finished these tracks I was starting to question my choices, I was stuck in a fairly repetitive and monotonous gigging schedule and I was yet to create finished songs that I even enjoyed myself and I was beginning the descent into a dark and scary hole which unfortunately many artists are susceptible to. Thankfully when I surrounded myself with the right team who inspired and supported me I came out with this song, a song that honestly still makes me smile and sing along every time I hear it. Regardless of how the song performs “commercially” I’m proud knowing that I can create good music that I and others enjoy and having that security and confidence in yourself as a creative means everything.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Johnny: This sounds cliché but I don’t really do much other than music. As I said I’ve never considered it a job, I’m just very fortunate that my favourite thing to do also pays the bills. I workout pretty much every day, fitness is very important to me, and I enjoy watching movies and Netflix and that’s about it to be honest. I’m not completely boring though I promise!
What is one song you always keep on your playlist & why?
Johnny: I never keep songs in there indefinitely for fear I’ll overplay them. I’m slightly fanatic in that I’m constantly refreshing my Spotify playlists with new songs that are just released so I can find the good ones and really analyse them as to why they work. I’m always trying to improve as a songwriter and overall musician and the best way to do that is to study as much different music and styles as you can. I couldn’t pick just one song, maybe an album – Continuum.
If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you choose?
Johnny: John Mayer. Next.
What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Johnny: Contrary, persistent, and tall.
If you could possess any super-power, what would you choose & why?
Johnny: If I could apparate and disapparate like in Harry Potter that would be fantastic. I love travelling but I hate the actual travel part getting to and from. I just want to appear in places at my leisure.
What advice would you offer to someone looking at pursuing a career in music?
Johnny: STUDY IT. It’s a winsome story when a famous player says that they can’t read music but at the end of the day if you’re going to do any sort of groundwork before you reach the top you’re going to need to be able to speak the language. That’s no different whether you want to be a professional singer, instrumentalist, producer, or agent. Decide the path you want to pursue and then learn as much as you can about it.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
Johnny: If you made it this far thank you for reading what I have to say! Please follow me on the socials and make yourself known, one of the main reasons I love being a musician is that I get to meet so many interesting people and get to know them. Instagram is my main profile @johnnybourke but I’m on them all and don’t be shy!
Can’t Do Without is out July 3rd and if you follow me I promise to do my best to continue making good music and entertaining all you wonderful people. Thank you for having me!
You can pre-save the single by clicking here.