Interview | Sorcha Richardson unfurls a new chapter with ‘First Prize Bravery’

Photo by: Cáit Fahey

A musician’s debut album will always be special. For Dublin-born indie folk singer-songwriter Sorcha Richardson‘s full-length debut to be released 8 November, First Prize Bravery represents the start and end of a new chapter of her/your life.

Sorcha moved to New York City to expand her musical horizons. In the end, she moved back to Dublin. Home will always be where the heart is, and music will always start from your hearat. After teasing the world will EPs and random single releases over the last few years, First Prize Bravery is a more complete testament to Sorcha’s sharp, emotional lyrics and soothing melodies.

A few years ago, you scrapped an entire EP and started over. You mentioned you weren’t excited for people to hear it. What goes into making a decision of that magnitude? In an era when releasing music has rarely been easier, why not simply put it on Soundcloud or YouTube to see how people react?

I just felt a lot of relief when I decided to scrap the EP. There is so much noise on the internet these days that it feels kind of weird to me to add to it just for the sake of it. I don’t ever want [to] put music out just to see if other people like it, especially if I’m not excited about it myself. There [are] some songs I put on Soundcloud years ago (and later took down) that people still ask me to play at shows, and I don’t think those songs are very good. Things have a way of living forever—once you make them public. I’d rather not release anything than put out music I’m not proud of.

You recently moved back to Ireland. What were some of the pros and cons of moving to New York [City] when you did? If you had to do it all over again, would it still be NYC or would you have moved somewhere else?

I would definitely move to New York again. I think it was the best thing I ever did, and the second best that I ever did was leave when I knew it was time to go. I love that city. [I love] my friends there so much, but I knew it was time to go somewhere new. The major pros were that I got to meet people who had lived completely different lives [than] me, and it gave me a sense of how much bigger the world [was] than my life in Dublin up to that point.

The biggest con was that I missed out on some important days in the lives of the people I left behind, but that’s just something that comes when you split your life between two cities I guess.

How does it feel to release your full-length debut album?

It feels kind of surreal. It’s such a milestone I always hoped to get to, and there were so many times in the past year that it felt like the day would never come. Now it’s a few weeks away, it’s hard to calibrate how I got here. But, I’m just really excited for people to hear it and play more of these songs live.

How would you describe First Prize Bravery?

[It’s] a collection of stories about my last days in New York and my first months back in Dublin. [It’s about] my attempt to capture all the days and nights I didn’t want to forget—before my life changed quite significantly.

Now that your album is getting released, can you talk more about the fun shows and collaborations you have in the pipeline?

I’m about to go on a UK tour with Honeyblood, and we’re playing some cities I’ve never been to before.  Then, we go to London for Mirrors Festival. After the album is released, we’re doing a small Irish tour in November.

I think in that other interview I was referring mainly to the song (“No One Is Any Fun”) I did with James Vincent McMorrow for All Tvvins‘ album Just to Exist. Conor [Adams and I] have been talking about doing more writing. I’ve been working on some stuff with some other friends, but who knows what will happen with any of that so it’s probably better left unsaid for now.

You mention how incredible collaboration is in your music, but a lot of your writing starts with you making music in your bedroom. How do you balance the writing and producing process?

I like writing alone a lot because it just feels safe. Sometimes, it means I can spend as long as I want rewriting lyrics, which can kill the creativity a [bit] if you do that in a session with other people. It’s just a different process.

Collaborating with other writers is when I feel like I learn the most because everyone has different instincts and habits, and I find it very exciting to be pushed out of my comfort zone in that way.

But I think for the album, I found a really good producer and collaborator in Alex Casnoff. He is probably my favourite producer to work with, and we’ve developed very healthy and exciting way of making music together over the years. I like handing over the reins to him at certain points because he makes me more excited about the songs I’ve written.

Words/Photos: Tan The Man (@dorksandlosers)

Press Photo: Cáit Fahey