Simon Fagan
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Simon Fagan

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
Band Americana Rock

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“I was surprised (and delighted) to discover that this artist is from Ireland because this song had such an authentic, southern gospel feel. The acoustic instrumentation was a perfect compliment to the choir-like vocals. The production was impeccable. Very” - http://suckfreeradio.com/


"Meathman Simon Fagan seems determined to inject a sense of cutting edge razzamatazz into his take on danceable pop-rock. 'Hired And Fired' juxtaposes lyrics about not being able to keep a job, with breezy brass, a hint of Klezmer and finger-clicking rhythms with Fagan's brilliant vocals bestriding a snappy song. 'Bring The Dance' is equally infectious and inventive, with strident brass driving it along, but it has a darker edge to the first track. 'The Way A Woman Should' opens with a doomier, Morricone soundtrack feel, with an acoustic guitar to the fore." Jackie Hayden - HotPress Magazine


Turbulent times and mounting Jobseeker’s benefit applications has allowed one of Ireland’s jazziest singer songwriters resurrect a song that was written about his own job-holding inabilities. Hired and Fired has become the title track for the debut EP from Meath native Simon Fagan.

Since earning musical qualifications, classically trained Simon Fagan has built a reputation as a formidable performer. While in LA he held residencies in music bars in Hollywood delivering his exciting blend of pop, soul, jazz and rock and roll. Fagan has also opened for Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson as well as performing lead vocals in the National Concert Hall for the Beatles Love concert.

The title track, although an old personal song, is timely and musically optimistic. People standing on the dole queue could easily start clicking their fingers to its infectious rhythm while the swinging bass would set them dancing around the footpath with a spring in their step. You could arrange an entire, upbeat, musical about the economic crisis from this song.

The EP also includes the high energy Bring the Dance, which Fagan released as his debut single in June 2008, a song which captures the vibrant power of Simon’s vocals and his talent as a musician.

The EP’s other tracks The Way A Woman Should and Falling Into You are closer to the conventional style we have come to expect from singer songwriters, yet they couldn’t be confused with anyone else’s music. Using trumpets, jazzy beats and swinging bass all complimented by a layering of genres and rich vocals Simon Fagan creates timeless, easy listening, on his debut EP.

Hired and Fired is out now on iTunes and all good download stores and the good news is, if you like it, his recording deal has him set to release another EP in 2009 and a debut album in early 2010. - Paul Murphy - Drop-d.ie


Not so much pop but musical theatre best describes this singer/songwriter/performer from Navan. Jazzy riffs and finger clicking beats dove-tail with orchestral production and harmony, along with some mighty fine trumpeting from the man himself on this his debut EP. Fagan has spent much of his life plying his trade in bars, whether it be playing in them or serving in them, something which comes through in the grittiness and reality of some of his songs, but his musical talents can’t be overlooked. A bona fide student of music, Simon has studied at the likes of The Royal Irish Academy, this is evident when listening to his music as there is an overwhelming sense of performance in almost all of his tracks. The toe tapping title track, “Hired and Fired” maybe an autobiographical tale of an inability to hold down regular employment but some fantastic arrangement and strong vocals give an almost West End theatre feel to the song, whilst “Brave the Dance” builds slowly before reaching a crescendo of trumpets and drums leaving you breathless from just listening. Hopefully a full album will follow this superb EP as it is evident that Fagan is a genuine music man with a hell of a lot to offer.

http://hubbubuk.blogspot.com/search?q=simon+fagan - Hubhub UK


Give it up to your teasing babe. Lead me astray. Never knew that love could ever feel this way - Simon Fagan (Never Really Cried)
scroll down to hear the song

Some estimates suggest that there are more than a million songs uploaded to the Internet each year by independent artists who all struggle for mainstream awareness and attention. Much of it isn't good music. Other songs are just amazing but not recorded or produced professionally enough to be competitive with what others are doing.

Due to my work in the digital music space I am continuously exposed to new music and I'm always surprised by how many gems I come across that should be shared with the world. So, I've decided to post and review a song per week. I'm only going to post songs I really like so you readers will have to decide if you want to follow these reviews based on whether or not you share my taste.

On the 22nd of April I posted a review of Rob Thomas' new single called Her Diamonds but that's hardly an obscure track. It's likely to rocket to number 1 on the charts. What you'll see and hear here are songs that are hidden treasures. They won't be songs I own any rights in nor will I necessarily personally have met any of the artists. It will just be music I personally find very compelling.

I'm starting with a song called Never Really Cried by Simon Fagen. First a bit of background on the artist. According to his bio he's a classically trained composer and trumpet player who has gotten some traction as an opening act for both Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson.

I liked this song immediately. It starts off subtle. Cool piano and a bit of acoustic guitar and you get the feeling the compelling melody will slowly build throughout the song. But then, it leads into an explosive first chorus that sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The horn section pulls this song forward. By the time you're into the second verse you're hooked.

Simon's vocal performance is both soulful and earnest. The first time heard it I was in the office with headphones on and immediately wished I were at home alone so I could get more physically into it without embarrassing myself. I love it when I hear something this compelling and recognize it on a first listen.

If the song has a fault it's the repetitiveness of the title line "never really cried for you". It seems like he could have added another line or two with a proper rhyme that would have made it seem a bit less tired by the time you get to the end of the song. It's not enough to turn me off, however.

The middle eight has got a nice guitar solo that doesn't overdo it and again it's the horn section that takes over and brings you through the ending which resolves into a reduced and thinned out conclusion as opposed to fading out on the chorus. That would have been too obvious.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-mccready/song-of-the-week---never_b_191081.html - The Huffington Post


A big surprise is Navan’s Simon Fagan. When I looked at this guy’s new EP I assumed I would be reviewing some indie pop/rock purely due to his look (think Alex James of Blur, coupled with the Converse and battered jeans)! I love indie pop/rock but what a pleasant surprise when ‘Hired and Fired’, a gorgeous jazz, big band infusion echoed around the room. I’m not the biggest jazz fan in the world but I’ve been playing Fagan’s EP over and over. It’s got a certain authenticity about it. Usually when people tackle jazz it’s purely cover versions and same old same old but this guy has put a modern spin on it. I have no doubt that Fagan will be compared to Harry Connick Jnr. but for me Fagan does for big band jazz what Vanessa Mae did for classical – he has made it contemporary and above all his own! His new EP ‘Hired and Fired’ is available now from all the regular download sites. - Ireland's Big Issue


A highly produced and well mixed Ep and your waiting on me to tell you he has a fantastic voice….well he does and the three tracks on this super little taster of Simon’s work is great in every way, Simon has put life into jazz/pop music and made himself a cocktail of some cracking song’s, it’s got every angle going for it in both chart and live music success I am loving this Ep all the way.
-Review by T.Halpin

RANK: ****** 6 out of 6


- MusicReview.com


Simon Fagan & the Bojangles have a single on the loose called “bring the dance” It’s rhythmically infectious, with appropriate brass
interjections, and a catchy hook or two. He has a sturdy pop voice, and tons of confidence. He knows how to assemble a song according to the right formula.
Jackie Hayden - Hot Press


Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher bemoaned the state of the music scene lately because modern bands just didn't have that genuine feel to them anymore.
"If they weren't in bands they'd all have great careers anyway," he reckoned and when you watch Coldplay front ads for Greenpeace and Fair Trade you get the impression that early 90s fans had a much better time living it large with the Mancunians.

Does the same thing apply this side of the Irish Sea? Navan's Simon Fagan, part troubadour and part rockstar, is the kind of guy who'd have a great career even if he wasn't making records and playing live gigs in small Irish venues. Except that career would be in music as well. The Irishman has ticked a lot of boxes already in his career, he's travelled to the States, lived it up in Australia and even spent his fair share of time working in bars. Now he's 27, at one stage a full-time trumpeter in an orchestra, but now very much a songwriter gaining an audience and generating acclaim.

"The last big band to come out of Ireland, probably, was the Cranberries," Fagan reckons. "Ireland is crying out for the next big thing."
Will he be it? It's not a question he can answer with any degree of certainty because the music industry has never had a set pattern about how to achieve things. Now that the way in which music is tasted and consumed - online and outside of record shops - it's harder than ever to know how to make it big. It's hard to even know what making it is.

Fagan is from Navan in County Meath, a place more usually associated with Irish Gaelic Football, the number one sport in the county. The actor Pierce Brosnan likes to talk up his tenuous links to the place whenever his Irish admirers come calling but Fagan is a creation of Navan as much as Brosnan is. Which is not a lot.

Fagan has always been looking for something bigger and deeper than playing football for his county. He didn't realise it when he was younger because playing music was as natural for him as kicking a football was for other boys. In a family of six fellas and a dad that sang in a church choirs and showers, it was Fagan's mother who guided his musical talents, lining him up with a music scholarship for secondary school.

The 12-year-old Simon knew little about the scholarship to a boarding school 40 miles away in a town called Mullingar, in County Westmeath. One audition and one interview later he was packing his bags for the boarder's life, removed from home and friends.

Having played in a brass and reed band his world was now open to grand Steinway pianos and the academic rhythms of church music. After year three he was sent to the Royal Irish Academy for Music in Dublin to get trumpet lessons and by the time he was finished with his school scholarship he was signing on for a college scholarship at the Academy.

Two years studying trumpet his life was heading for tuxedos, grand halls and stiff upper lips. After a year in Scotland just out of the Academy he got a taste for the back of the orchestra but didn't fancy it much.

"When I went to the Royal Scottish Academy of music and drama, I was 21. It was then that I realised that I wasn't really cut out for the whole classical thing, sitting at the back of an orchestra in a tux, I felt myself restricted plus the job prospects weren't great, there are only three full-time trumpeters in an orchestra but there aren't that many orchestras. It's pretty difficult, not that this isn't but this probably comes a little bit more natural to me."

When he first went to Mullingar he was always penning songs. It became habit and when it became second nature his pre-determined trumpet career sat uneasy. There would be no sense of fait accompli. He hasn't looked back since he packed in the quiet choral life. "I did my fair share of crap jobs," he says about the six years in between then and a now that has him credited with a song on a Hollywood movie (A Line in the Sand), a support slot for Lionel Richie and Smokie Robinson, and a run out as John Lennon in a Beatles tribute concert at the Irish National Concert Hall which spawned the Love album.

"Obviously the world is a lot smaller than it was 20 years ago, you have marketing tools like the internet. Everything is very readily available. On the other hand artists like Van Morrision, Lizzy, early U2, old Irish acts, they went out and learned their craft by being out on the road and being hands on. I'm getting there, I'm not doing as much as I want to but I think that's where it's at, on the road, particularly with the record industry in a transition period."

He learned this new craft in six years having spent eight years dedicated to the study of a classical music that doesn't attract the tousled hair and pierced ears of guys who look like Simon Fagan. The conflict seems apparent in his output, an intelligent sound that makes use of the vast amount of music that Fagan has learned since he took on his first scholarship, yet his success probably lies in the sensibilities and simple empathies he employs.

"It's real music about real things," he says of his own sound. "There's something in it for everyone, it's organic, it's played by real musicians.
"You'd write about different situations. Someone might say one thing that could spark off a whole song. I find that if you get one lyric it would spark off an entire song, once you have one idea that's a catalyst for the whole thing.

"Someone actually said to me a few weeks ago, �God Simon, where's your smile gone lately?' And I smiled and they said that's better. That was bang, a song written in five minutes flat." Despite the complexities he has learned, and mastered, he has discovered the beauty of simplicity. His songs are simple thoughts and ideas like the one he describes. Bring The Dance To Me is another effort made richer because it is just one idea extended and revealed in front of layers of sound that he can best describe himself because his musical knowledge gives him the confidence to know what's good and bad in his own songs.

"You can show people different colours of the music," he says. "I'd play a gig with a whole brass section, a set of 15 songs and then I'd play a smaller venue in and I used a string quartet. I'd play the same set but arrange the songs differently, everything else, the melodies, the rhythms are the same everything but the people who have been to the two gigs are going �wow'." The audience can't believe it's the same song told a different way.

"There's a certain element of manipulation. You adjust to different situations," says Fagan, and he knows because he's had to make allowances at times. "Take a song like Great Beliefs � it started off like a Kings of Leon tune and I always knew there were great lyrics and melodies but no one else seemed to get it. I reworked it, changed the whole feel of the song and people were absolutely blown away by it. People thought it was a completely different song. If you're the only one that thinks this is a winner, it may have the right ingredients but not the right proportions or combinations."

So far, so good, then and even though he's back living in Navan, where he started, this is just a temporary resting ground while he establishes a firmer footing. He's already been to LA, where he worked with Brian Byrne on his first group of 14 songs that will soon become an album, and spent an interesting three months travelling the coasts of Australia, playing free gigs in hostels for drink and board.

He's achieved a lot, musically, but his background doesn't count for anything in the world he's now living in and that's just the way he likes it. "I suppose coming from a classical background, I don't like really emphasising my background though you can't ignore it either. "It's not as hard as it was to actually get your stuff out there, getting recognised and getting noticed is as hard if not harder. It's a very different business from 20 years ago. No longer is all the power in the record companies, they are just major distributors now. You want to be in publishing and live music and merchandising. Now you record a record to promote a tour whereas 20 years ago you did a tour to promote your record."

"I'd like to become international, I don't think you'd survive if you weren't international, you're not going to survive just touring Ireland and the UK and a few European gigs. Touring Ireland has benefits from learning your trade but it's vital that you get out of the place, travel and become global." Navan is just the starting place for a new adventure. - ThreeMonkeysOnline.com


2008-06-04
Artist: Simon Fagan and The Bojangles
Source: Paul Murphy

Single Review: Simon Fagan and The Bojangles - Bring the Dance

Bring the Dance is the first single from established Irish musician Simon Fagan. He has music qualifications from the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

The Meath man has played the circuit in Ireland covering Whelan's, The Sugar Club, Vicar St. and the Point Theatre, playing with the likes of Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson along the way. He also moved to LA where he gained residencies in some of the best known music bars of Hollywood. Backed by his band "The Bojangles" Simon delivers an exciting blend of music ranging from Pop, Soul, Jazz & Rock & Roll.

His debut single is certainly only the beginning of what we'll hear from this multi instrumentalist, singer-songwriter. Bring the Dance is a high energy jazzy number that raises the bar for singer songwriters everywhere. The song's composition, vibrant sound and Simon's vocal performance surpass anything released by any recent male, Irish, singer songwriters. - Drop-D.ie


Discography

Discography
‘Outside Looking In’ – Album- Mon 7th June 2010

'Damn Honey' - Single Fri 5th March 2010.

'Falling Into You' - Single - Fri 9th October 2009.

'Portobello Acoustic Sessions' EP - 10th Aug 2009

Photos

Bio

Not our typical Irish singer songwriter, Simon blends elements of gospel and folk with acoustic rock to produce a big Americana sound.

His debut album, ”Outside Looking In” manages to capture the emotion of Simon's live set, combined with compelling harmonies and intricate arrangements. It includes live favourites “Damn Honey” and “Water’s Edge”; and the International Songwriting Competition winning gem “Never Really Cried”.

“Outside Looking In” sees a change in direction from Simon’s debut EP “Hired And Fired”, moving away from brass heavy arrangements and focusing more on acoustic-based rock, with elements of gospel and folk to give it a big Americana feel. Co-produced by Fagan and Martin Quinn (Juliet Turner/Ham Sandwich) the album carries lush string arrangements and features the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Brought up in Navan in a family of six boys, Simon’s musical career started at the tender age of 5 when he joined the church choir before being sent to school on a music scholarship to St Finian’s College in Mullingar. From there he went on to study Music at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and later Orchestral Trumpet at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

After graduating Fagan spent a couple of years singing with a number of bands in both Glasgow and Dublin before going solo in late 2007. It was then that he started writing music closer to his roots and has since opened for both Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson and performed lead vocals at the Beatle’s ‘Love’ Concert in the National Concert Hall.

2009 saw the release of Fagan’s first EP, also co-produced with Martin Quinn, this EP showcased his musical training. Filled with brass and wind arrangement, including a clarinet solo in the title track “Hired and Fired”. While touring this EP, Simon appeared on close to 30 radio shows around Ireland including Today with Pat Kenny and the Weekend Blend on Newstalk. While travelling to the UK for a 14-date tour in June of that year, he also appeared on 9-prime time BBC radio shows.

The UK not being exotic enough for this young Meath man, he decided to take his band on a tour of Egypt, where he witnessed first hand the corruption and hypocrisy that stifles this once great African nation. While performing sold out shows in Sharm El Sheik, Dahab and Cairo, Fagan visited Bedouin tribes, travelled through deserts and got a locals view of Cairo. Whilst performing at the famous Cairo Jazz Club, he was invited onto both Nile TV (10m viewers) and Nile FM to talk about his experience and perform his music.

On his return from Egypt, Simon put his focus on writing and recording his debut album. Released in May ’10, ‘Outside Looking In’ and named RTE Album of the Week. Since it’s release Simon has toured heavily throughout Ireland, including; two headline shows in Cork for Guinness Arthur’s Day (Old Oak & Pavilion); supports to The Saw Doctors, Ocean Colour Scene and Jerry Fish; and toured in the UK, US and Canada.

Currently living in Berlin, Simon will be touring throughout Europe in November, before returning to Ireland for some Christmas shows.