The last single released by 2019 Star Maker winner and 2020 Golden Guitar winner Blake O’Connor was the upbeat and infectious ‘Willin’ & Ready’, in February. Now O’Connor has released the thoroughly mood-lifting ‘Soul Feeling’, which he wrote solo and which comes with a highly entertaining video filmed in his home town of Port Macquarie, NSW/Biripi country.
Says O’Connor of the song’s inspiration, ‘I was listening to a lot of old school soul music right around the time when I wrote this. Soul music is a huge inspiration for me and listening to how the classic artists approach their songs, (like Wilson Pickett) drove me straight to “Soul Feeling”, and from there it kind of wrote itself really.’
When asked if he enjoys the songwriting process, O’Connor says, ‘I really do! There nothing better than perfectly capturing what you think in song. It is probably one of my favourite parts of being a musician.’
Rather than writing as he needs for recording, he says, ‘I think it’s important to continually write to build up a good pile of songs before beginning the recording process. I like to write as much as I can throughout the year, then pull the best songs from that pile to start building the album. I then try to find what the album needs and write songs with that in mind to complete the album.’
Given that O’Connor’s first album, Everything I Feel, was released a couple of years ago, it sounds like he may be ready for another – and on that subject he says, ‘When I release singles I always like them to build up to something greater. So you never know… you’ll have to keep an eye out!’
It’s always been clear that O’Connor could just as easily sing pop or rock – or soul – as country, because his voice has the range and tone to suit a range of styles, and ‘Soul Feeling’ just underscores that. When asked if there’s a style of music he prefers singing more than others, he says that ‘being able to sing a ripping soul or blue song is a great feeling for me. Hearing artists like Susan Tedeschi and Chris Stapleton sing always blow me away! So if I can somewhat capture an essence of them when I sing is a great feeling.’
Conveying that feeling to an audience is part of the art – and skill – of performance and anyone who has seen O’Connor perform live knows he is adept at it. There’s also this: he always sounds like he’s having a ball, and that enthusiasm is a joy for a listener. Getting that into a record is the equivalent of bottling it, so we should all look forward to being able to take home that album-bottle whenever it is released.