I describe myself as an infant songwriter. I only really began writing in earnest in my 30s but I've been quite lucky to do a lot of work in a short period of time.
I've shared the stage with Grammy award winner Don Henry at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters festival. That gig was huge for me. I followed Don on the in the round format and I didn't feel out of place. It's opened a lot of doors for me. I like playing with other musicians but I'm lucky that most of my songs work well with just voice and guitar.
I have a 9 to 5 gig as a psychiatric nurse. I use music as an intervention to help patients who have suffered severe trauma and neglect. I deliver evidence based talk therapy with a specialist team in the Northern trust in Northern Ireland.
I released an EP called Death of a singer songwriter myself in 2014. In August 2015, I released my debut album, Let it be.
The album received a lot of airplay throughout the UK and Ireland. Special local guests on the album include Anthony Toner, Linley Hamilton and Kaz Hawkins. Cherrie McIlwaine at the BBC named Let it be as her album of the week on the day of it's release. Ralph McLean featured the album heavily on his Local voices show. BBC Scotland and Wales played tracks from the album heavily in the summer of 2015. The album was long listed for the NI music prize for album of the year.
I played with the likes of The Magic numbers, Ash and Billy Bragg at festivals to promote the record. I've supported The Paperboys, Bap Kennedy and The 4 of us on their Irish tour and capped off a great year by winning Dawson's songwriting competition. 80 people from across the UK and Ireland entered the competition, and I was fortunate enough to be the unanimous choice of all judges to take home the prize of a new guitar, EP recording, and headline slot at Belnash 2016.
I have played with Hall of fame writer Gary Burr and Don Henry at the legendary Bluebird cafe in Nashville. I have co-written with Gareth Dunlop, Gary, Georgia Middleman, Buddy Mondlock and Benita Hill, and performed at Music city roots, and Music city Irish festival to an audience of 7000 people. I have been writing and pitching songs in Nashville since 2016, and I would love to hear my songs in TV and films.
I have been travelling to Nashville for 3 years now, supported primarily by the Arts council of northern Ireland to write, record and pitch songs for TV, film and other artists. I am currently studying psychotherapy at masters level, and am a loving husband, and dad to 2 young daughters. I don't get as much time as I'd like to devote to my writing but I am grateful to get the opportunity to co-write with the best songwriters in Nashville. My work in mental health does inform my songwriting and i have written about eating disorders, depression and personality disorder. My mount Rushmore of songwriter influences has Paul Westerberg, Tom Petty, John Prine and Nick Lowe and you can hear a little bit of each in my writing.
Writing songs is easy. Writing good songs, important songs: that's trickier. I'm trying to write the songs I want to hear on the radio. I figure if I aim for the head, heart and the gut and reach anyone on any of these levels, I'll be ok.
" Simon has real talent. A real song writing strength. I like him a lot" (Ralph MacLean BBC Radio)
"Simon has the ability to relate to his audience and warm the soul armed with a guitar and experienced words" (Folk and Tumble)
"I love this album. It is well-produced, beautifully arranged and performed and a perfect showcase for a quite brilliant singer/songwriter who has a knack for writing seemingly simple songs with great hooks and choruses. There are several tracks here that should be in the upper echelons of radio playlists.