A little time ago, Irish pop singer-songwriter Cian Ducrot participated in an 1824 press conference to discuss his debut album, Victory, out now via Geffen Records and Polydor Records. Additionally, Cian talked about his career to date, touring the world, and so much more.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your journey as a rising musician and how have you overcome it? Cian: I think the hardest thing is probably managing to continuously believe in yourself all the time and sort of, whatever goals you have and dreams and aspirations to maintain the belief that you can achieve them and that you'll get there and that those things will come true.I think it's a very hard thing to do. It's probably the difference between those who can achieve them and who can't achieve them is really just those who stick around long enough and who managed to maintain that self-belief. I still struggle with it. I think everyone struggles with it every day. Probably, most artists struggle with that to continuously believe. And once you've achieved one thing to be like, okay, how do I achieve the next thing? How would I do that? How would I get there? I think you just kind of have to kid yourself into believing it in a way that you don't really have a choice. You've supported the likes of Ed Sheeran and the Jonas Brothers. Are you excited to return to the US for your new headlining show? Cian: Yeah, absolutely. It's crazy to me still to go like to the US, to be honest. I's such a weird thing to even like, like last time we went, I just thought it was insane to go to cities where I've never been, you know, in a country way across the water. And it's just super strange. So it's even stranger to go back now and play even more shows and bigger shows. Just kind of blows my mind every time. What music artists have inspired your career so far? Cian: I kind of went through so many different phases of artists that inspired me. But I think, Ed Sheeran was obviously a big one, especially it's crazy. Sorry, it's crazy that I, you know, I managed to go on tour with him and that ended up happening, which is mind-blowing to me still to this day. He played a huge role in inspiring me. There was a really long time where I was very inspired, by Shawn Mendes, which people will probably find quite surprising, but maybe not surprising, but I think when I was like a teenager, he was like a teenager as well. He was sort of doing like the whole social media thing and coming up through music. And it was incredibly inspiring to see someone like him do that and to try and sort of, you know, trying to like follow in his footsteps and like trying to do the similar things that he did or like, so that was a really big one.And, and sort of even just in terms of like the music that he was outputting and, and same with Ed and other artists like that. So those are kind of two that like really marked me kind of at different times in my career when I was trying to figure out how you get from nowhere to somewhere. I think another big one then was probably Eminem in terms of his storytelling and talking about his life and all that kind of stuff, but there have been so many, but those are like maybe three kind of main ones to say. Those are not three bad artists to be inspired by at all. How has where you're from influenced your music and how you write your music? Cian: I spent a long time, I think, avoiding where I was from and the way that that made my music because I, when you, when you make music, you're constantly compared to other people and like their styles. I was constantly being compared to Ed Sheeran or like things like this when I was growing up. At first, you think comparison is a good thing, then you think comparison is a bad thing, and then eventually you come back around to realizing that it's impossible to avoid comparison. People will always compare you to something because that's the only way that people can understand something that you're doing. If this was like this, or if they had a baby or whatever. And it was, it was, it wasn't until like last year that I remember somebody talking about Olivia Rodrigo and how she was like a mixture of like Taylor Swift and Paramore. And then I realized that like, nobody was kind of saying that in a bad way. She obviously listened to Taylor Swift and Paramore growing up. So that's like her vibe, but it was still Olivia Rodrigo. And then I just remember thinking like, why have I been running away from the people that compared me to or mixed me in with more songwritery artists. What does maybe your creative process look like... Where do you get your inspiration from rather than artists? Cian: I listen to a lot of hip-hop and rap and random stuff that doesn't sound anything like the music that I make. So that first of all it might inspire in like a weird way. My new album has a lot of stuff inspired by artists like Jack Harlow and Stormzy and stuff like that. I think in, in general, it's usually just like, just like life, just trying to live enough of life or like experiencing things. What do you think young Cian would think of where music has carried you to today? Cian: I think he would be like, I told you so. That's probably what he would think. I think young me was always the me that I like try and tap into when I forget. Like when I lost belief in myself throughout the years. I think like he would just be stoked. He'd be so pumped. I would probably be going crazy 'cause he was so crazy. Young Cian was like, not, not chill, even in the slightest. Like zero chill, you know, he was like, like 10 coffees and a lot of sugar. That kind of vibe. And so I think he'd be very pumped and he would also just be kind of like, yeah, I knew it.Music was your escape from reality for you as a kid, now that it is your reality, do you still consider it your escape? And if so, why?Cian: I think I get super bored very easily when I'm not doing it, when I'm not doing anything. I find it really hard to like not be in the world of music and not be like performing or doing something being on the road, being on tour, being like all over the place. Like I love being busy and having like the most crazy, hectic life. So it definitely feels like an escape that way, but it's obviously my normal life now because it's like an escape from normal life, but it is sometimes I just don't really like the mundane, you know, like, I like the crazy weirdness. So it just feels amazing, but it also doesn't really feel real, no matter how much it's been happening. What is the word victory stand for as far as the overall theme of the record? Cian: I think it is about achieving things; by achieving your dreams, your goals, your aspirations. It's about the victory of sort of all of those around me in my life, my family, my friends, those who supported me and my family through all the difficult times we had. Then of course the victory for me of just being able to have a debut album in the first place. I thought it was such a milestone in my career. And sort of also just the story of, you know, all the things that you go through in life, whether it's me or anyone else, and coming out the other side and making it out alive and making it out even stronger and happier than ever. That's kind of what, what it represents to me. The word victory has a very difficult and personal origin story of how it came to be the title for the album. Has vulnerability been something very natural for you when it comes to writing, or has it been trial and error and trying to figure out how to be vulnerable when you're writing? Cian: It's definitely been very natural for me. I say this with care, but I don't think I'm that good at writing lyrics. I'm not really the most amazing songwriter in that sense because I just can only write stuff that I would say, you know, and I speak in a certain way. I wouldn't say I'm the most like fancy, well-spoken person who uses big words.A lot of the time I listened to songs by other songwriters and I don't know what they're talking about because I'm like, I don't know half these words. And so like, I just like ended up having to become really, really honest. 'Cause it's the only way I knew how to write good songs and knew how to say good stuff. I like being clever sometimes, writing things in a clever way. And I tend to do that a lot more with other artists. I've learned a lot from writing with other artists because I think about it more as like an equation, but not like an equation, but I'm thinking like, how do I make these lyrics as good as I can? How do I write something as good as I can for this artist? Then I try to maintain that thinking, but I usually just go on a state of like, I'm just going to write what I want to write about my life. I'm just going to write my story from real stuff. What color do you best think represents Victory and why? Cian: Probably the color of the album cover, which is, I guess, kind of bluey, purpley, grey. I don't really know. I'm looking at it now because I have some copies up there.I don't really know why, to be honest, I often try and be like Billie Eilish and be like, do I see a color for my song? You know, she like closes her eyes and she sees a colour. I don't really, like, see a color, but I'm always just questioning the color. I'm like, is that song orange though? Or is it not orange, you know? I do think blue is probably the color that represents it the most. I don't know why I just think blue and kind of the sea, like the blue of the sea. I just find that quite peaceful. What song on Victory, or two, is your personal favorite and why? Cian: I don't have a favorite song on the album and I get this question a lot and I feel like it's such a cop-out answer. I just definitely don't have one or at least I haven't found the answer yet. I think they just all really mean a lot to me. I can't give you an answer for that I'm afraid, or at least that's my answer. Do you have any, like, particular songs you're excited to play live? Cian: Yeah, definitely. I mean, there's a lot. I have a few, well, a few that I have played live already. Some that I haven't. I'm very excited to do the ones that I haven't done live yet, like “Stepdad,” “Mama,” and “Thank God You Stayed.” Those are probably three that I'm like really, really excited to hear what they'll be like live. I think they'll be really fun to perform live and also have people singing along and stuff would be really cool. What are you hoping listeners take away from Victory over anything else? Cian: I hope they take away just the realness of the music and that they get to know my story and a bit about me, but that they hear that it's like an honest album that's just meant to be like songs, true, real songs that I love and that hopefully they'll connect to. You said before that your motto is honesty over everything else, and that truly shows up in your songwriting. How would you describe getting to a point where you can live by that motto? Cian: For me, it probably was a motto more to do with how I can write songs because I am, like I said earlier, it's kind of the way that I managed to write my best music. That honesty and just being, telling openly how I feel and stuff like that. I think that's probably how I will always write my music.I think the interesting thing with this album is there's a lot of honesty in the album that I never spoke about before, either with my fans or the listeners, but also with even my family. So I think I should probably work on being able to say things in real life and not always only have to put them in a song for people to hear them. Sometimes it's easier to put things into a song than to like stand in front of someone and like tell them how you feel. That's probably a lot of the reason why I also write a lot of my stuff into music, but it was definitely quite therapeutic to do that for this album. In your post announcing the album, you say that when asked about how your mom made it through all of the hardships in her life, she said, “I had no choice, so I figured it out.” Can you talk about one time in your career when you felt like you've been in a similar situation where you just had to figure something out for yourself? Cian: Yeah, I remember having dropped out of college and I moved back to Ireland and then I went back to London and I was completely broke and I had been trying to achieve this goal for so many years and be an artist and get myself somewhere relatively successful or where it looked like my career was maybe going to start and I just felt like I was getting nowhere and like nothing was happening and nobody cared and nobody wanted to help and nobody wanted to, you know, just be a part of anything that I was doing. And it was really difficult and I remember sitting in a cafe and I was just like at this big long table with a bunch of other strangers. I was just wasting my time on something that just was never going to work out. I remember walking around London and just like, I actually bumped into some people that I knew really randomly and they were just like, you're going to be okay, don't worry about it. You know, things will pull through. Then I remember, and I think I spoke to my mom and I just remember her saying like, you know, when things are just really hard and you feel like there's no, there's like, you don't know how you're going to do it. It's like, sometimes you just make it happen because there's no other choice and you just figure it out and it kind of rejigged that mindset in me of like, I'm going to figure this out. I don't have another choice. This is what I want to do and I'm not going to give up.
What was the inspiration behind creating these impromptu choreographed performances? Cian: So I always loved doing, like, when I was a teenager, I always loved doing pranks and just random stuff like that. You would see on YouTube, like, the Janoskians and all those random groups of teenagers who would film these stupid things. I always loved that kind of stuff, like, the Impractical Jokers, and I mean, my friends would do it and like, even not to film, we would just do it for fun on each other. When I was doing a live choir version for YouTube of “I'll Be Waiting,” after it came out, I was on the phone to my best friend, who's also my content director and we were just talking through like what we were doing for those videos and then we had the choir and we had a rehearsal and then I just kind of had this like light bulb moment where like, I was just like, Oh my god, like if we have a full choir for like two days, why don't we take them on the day that we're rehearsing after we've rehearsed? Why don't we just go to like random places, like a cafe and just like, I'll start singing and everyone will think like, why is this guy singing? Like what a weirdo. And then a choir will join in out of nowhere and they'd be dressed like normal people and no one will know. Then everyone will just be like really surprised. And I was just like, I don't know. I just thought it'd be like a really funny piece of content. It worked and people liked it. So it was kind of funny.