For years, Dara O’Connell has been known for his talents on the soccer pitch, but recently, the 22-year-old from Fountainstown has made a name for himself in the music field. At the beginning of the month, he released his first Christmas song to help raise money for Pieta House.
In October, Dara released his debut single, “Love Torn,” followed by “All by Myself,” and most recently, his first Christmas track, “One Less Present” to help him raise funds for Pieta House.
Songwriting has always been a secret passion for Dara. He wrote his first song when he was ten years old, a love song about his crush at the time. “In school, I would show my music teacher some of my work, and she encouraged me to pursue it, but I never had the confidence to,” he revealed.
The past pupil of Colasite Muire, Crosshaven is a full-time barber in Bazzers on Washington Street, where he met music producer Aaron O’Sullivan. After discussing his love of songwriting, O'Sullivan invited him to The Lab Studio, where they recorded Love Torn in two days. Dara wrote the song back in 2019, and, since being released, has become an anthem within Crosshaven social circles and beyond.
A natural-born storyteller, songwriting is a process Dara thoroughly enjoys, and it is something that comes naturally to him. When writing, Dara pulls inspiration from his own life experiences, making each song he's written personal to him. Whether they are about someone, for someone, or a situation he has been in. Dara loves to see stories come to life through music and is inspired by the likes of country singers Zach Bryan and Noah Kahn. Closer to home, he is a big fan of Dermot Kennedy and Luke Kelly. “He (Kelly) has written songs that the whole country continues to sing along to. That's a testament to the songwriter he was. That is any musician's dream”. If there were one song he wished he could have written, it would be Revival by Zach Bryan.
“I learned a lot about the industry and myself since I released Love Torn” Dara admitted. “There's a difference between thinking and doing,” he continued, “ I can do anything when I put my mind to it.”
His Christmas song “One Less Present” captures the hardship that this time of year can bring to people. Each verse shares a different perspective of loneliness, often seen during the festive season. He has chosen Pieta House as the song's charity partner. “They do great work, so I’d like to help however possible.”
Dara has been blown away by the support he has received since first releasing “Love Torn.” Initially, he was nervous about how the public would perceive it but was delighted to see it being played in bars and nightclubs. “People have really backed, but they’ve also been honest about it, which I appreciate,” Dara explained. “Even those who wouldn’t typically enjoy this type of music have listened to it and given me great feedback, which means a lot.”
To date, “Love Torn” has over 5,000 listens on Spotify, and Dara got a pinch moment to see the track be featured in a few Spotify Wrapped. An annual tradition for app users, Spotify Wrapped, allows people to view their most listened-to songs, artists, albums, and podcasts. As an artist, Dara got his version and could see where his music was being enjoyed. With Cork as the number one spot, Vancouver followed in second and Sydney third.
In 2024, Dara hopes to emulate his music's success. He plans to bring an EP in the new year and hopes to start gigging. “I love to write and sing but haven’t sung with a full band before, which I find quite scary,” Dara revealed, but is looking forward to the challenge.
To donate to Dara's fundraiser, you can do so by visiting “One Less Present” song on https://www.gofundme.com/f/one-less-present-song