Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from and where did music start for you?
I was Born in Cork City in Ireland and grew up in a small Irish town called Millstreet. I live in London now and I’ve lived here for a long time. I came here as a young actor to do a play on the West End. I’ve been an actor all my life, mostly in the theatre but sometimes in tv and films too. I enjoy all of it. I’m a latecomer to the music scene even though I always wanted to be involved in music…our paths didn’t quite cross until 2015 when I made my debut recording, a cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, to coincide with the marriage equality referendum in Ireland. I have been recording music and playing live ever since.
If I were to use the phrase “for fans of”, who would you most liken yourself to?
I don’t mean to sound like I have delusions of grandeur, but many many people say I remind them of David Bowie, so its not me saying it…but I get it and he is a huge hero of mine so…hell yes, David Bowie. People tend to compare unknown artists to known artists and that’s fine and its fun. One of the comments on my YouTube channel said “If Alan Rickman and David Bowie had a baby…” which I think is hilarious but also very sharp and witty. I just love the idea of Alan Rickman and David Bowie having a baby together. But of my musical influences are mostly women in fact.
You recently released your latest single Give Me Light. What does this song mean to you?
The song is a free expression of love and desire between two men. In that sense it’s a love song. As a gay man and a gay artist, of course it means the world to me to be able to do that…I don’t hear nearly enough of that on the radio…but all that aside, I love the song. Pop music has always been a huge part of my life and lockdowns have reconnected me that passion.
Is this a hint at more new music on the way?
Absolutely. I have written two songs during these lockdowns and they are already in production with two different producers. The Wings Of Your Love is a blockbuster, movie-theme-tune kind of vibe. Its a big love song (again) and is produced by Jimmy Pinol who produced Give Me Light. Sound wise we might be entering David Bowie meets Elton John territory….but it’s early days. The other song is called Turn It Around and is produced by Herman Stephens who wrote and produced some of my tunes and plays bass in my band. That song is about telling a friend or loved one that you believe in them.
Do you have any help with the writing, recording and producing of your music?
I don’t see how this is something that can be done alone. Yes, yes and yes. First of all I write lyrics, not really music, so my own songs are co-writes. There are many people behind my music and my videos and I’m grateful to all of them. I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of making music on my computer at home in my bedroom. I’m old school in that sense.
Where do you look to find inspiration? What is something you have found inspiration in that you never thought would be inspirational?
My grandmother inspired me…and my aunt who became a school principal in 1950s Ireland and lived an independent single life. I’m inspired by women because they have to put up with so much more crap in life than men, generally speaking. I’m inspired by the courage and bravery of anyone unconventional who stakes a claim for their rights, such as all Lgbt people but especially transgender and gender non-conforming people…they inspire me. I think this pandemic has forced us all to check in with our values and principles. Key workers inspire me now and people who do jobs that help and save others. Police, doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters…but the person serving us in the shop and the people who clear the rubbish from our streets…they are our heroes now too, are they not? I hope we remember this, moving forward. It’s too easy to forget.
What advice would you give to those looking to make music, perhaps for the first time
I’m afraid that the best advice is also the worst advice: Don’t give up! It is an incredibly competitive and unforgiving career with far more losers than winners. Its the same in the acting world…but if you love the work, that can be its own reward. You can’t bank on success, but you won’t succeed if you don’t give it everything you’ve got.
How have you been keeping busy in lockdown?
Yes. I co-own and run an actors agency with my business partner. We work from our homes so that keeps me busy.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can find me on YouTube. Please subscribe to me there. It helps us artists to monetise our work when you do. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdcXdgqJJAO2ibqVn-vMIrwI’m also on Facebook @jdkellehermusic and Instagram @jd_kelleher
And finally, what is your funniest thing that’s happened to you in the world of music?
My chihuahua, Diego, singing happy birthday to any of my friends, like a lone howling wolf, is the funniest thing in the world of music.
I’d like to thank JD for taking the time to answer my questions and wish him all the best for 2021