Student Spotlight – Shay O’Dowd
Tell us about your experience from working with Johnny Madden (Songwriter) and Jamie Holmes (Producer/Riverside Alumnus)
Initially I reached out to Jamie Holmes about booking a session in the Castle of Doom studio. I had made a demo of the track that I wanted to record and sent it to him. He loved it and was really keen to get it recorded as soon as possible. We got it recorded and it was so good to hear a song I’d had for over a year finally come to life with the amazing production by Jamie. A few weeks after our recording session, Jamie texted me to tell me that he had showed my track to a friend of his that was a songwriter and he also loved it and was keen to work with me. This songwriter turned out to be Johnny Madden. Johnny and I got a writing session locked in and we hit the ground running with a really cool tune that was influenced by The 1975 and LANY. Since then, we have written another couple of tracks that we will record with Jamie in the near future. Recently I worked on another one of my own songs in the Castle Of Doom studios which Jamie and Johnny co-produced. The first song that I recorded with Jamie will be Released in April and will be available on all streaming platforms.
How would you describe your music, and tell us about your musical background/influences?
My music is very much singer/songwriter pop. I see myself as a pop artist that can tap into to various styles and genres to ultimately create pop songs. Some of my favourite Lyricists include JP Saxe, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Norah Jones.
Some artists/bands that really inspire me are LANY, The 1975 and Justin Bieber.
A songwriter I really look up to is Ryan Tedder. He is the lead singer in One Republic but is also a multi platinum songwriter and has written songs for some of the biggest artists in the world such as Adele and Justin Bieber. He really inspires my whole concept of being both an Artist and a Songwriter.
Why did you want to study at Riverside Music College?
I wanted to study at Riverside Music College because I wanted to meet like minded people that I could collaborate with and network with. This course stood out for me as it seemed very hands on which is my favourite style of learning. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Riverside so far and it has been great working with the lecturers and learning from their experiences and knowledge gained from being in the industry themselves.
How has the HND Music Performance course helped you – which skills, knowledge/ or which modules have been the most useful for you?
Riverside has really helped me escape my comfort zone by putting me in bands where I have had to play various genres of music that may not be my initial preference. It has definitely broadened my pallet for music. I have developed real leadership skills through working with others in bands and being the lead singer who has to co-ordinate the musicians in the band. One of the most useful parts of the course for me personally is developing my understanding of music business and the industry that I intend to make a career out of. It has made me more confident when networking outside of the college as I now understand the various jobs within the industry and the interests and intentions they may have.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to keep developing myself as both a Songwriter and an Artist. I will continue to network and develop relationships. I intend to release a few singles this year and expand my audience on my social platforms. My first single release is coming this April. I am really looking forward to seeing peoples reaction to the song and hopefully they connect to it. Meanwhile, I have other projects in the works so that they are ready to be released in the future. My overall goal is to write hit songs for both myself and others so I will continue to develop my craft in order to do so.
As a parent of a Riverside student, and as a music teacher myself, these student spotlights really highlight the value of the education and industry-ready experiences you have available.
The format of the curriculum and the opportunities for students to develop their individual skills and talents is clearly at the core of the learning. This is evidenced by their interview comments and the level of professionalism students can apply to real careers in the field through practical work on and off campus.
Thank you for your kind words, Fiona! We absolutely love doing these articles, we’re so proud of our students,