Susan O’Neill Very Grateful Her Album With Mick Flannery Has Been Shortlisted For The RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album

The Clare native, also known as SON, said it was “really nice” to be included in the list featuring nine other Irish talents.

“It’s really great to be included in the list of nominations. There’s been so many amazing artists and so much beautiful work produced over the year with an abundance of muses and inspiration of different sorts so it’s really nice to be included in that,” she said.

O’Neill first met singer-songwriter Mick Flannery when she performed as the support act for his Irish tour two years ago.

“We’ve known each other for two or three years. I had done shows supporting Mick’s band when he was on tour two years ago and the kind of does this thing where he asks someone to join him for a tune at the end of a gig.

“We both decided to sing a John Prine song, Angel from Montgomery, and our mutual manager heard that version of it and thought we should try some co-writes and that’s where the whole thing came out of,” she said.

She said In the Game is loosely based on the trials and tribulations of a romantic relationship.

“The whole thing is loosely woven throughout the arc of what a relationship sometimes can be and so it does have its ups and downs. There’s the tender moments, there’s reminiscence and then there’s just full-on break-up songs.

“I suppose it’s loosely about the ups and the downs of what love can present you with in life,” she said.

The pair recorded the album during lockdown in 2020, working together between Cork, Dublin and Los Angeles

“We actually recorded it in such an unusual way, our producer Tony Buchen was actually in Los Angeles, so we went to Camden Studios and then we went to Monique Studios in Cork.

“First, we would do co-writes online and then as restrictions eased, we took those opportunities to go into the studio and we would send the parts over to Tony in LA and then he would send back his notes in the morning and we’d be back in the studio that morning to change anything.

“It was a very unique way to do something. I had never worked with a producer that wasn’t in the room at the time let alone a different time zone. It presented its challenges because we were trying to foresee what he might think as we were practising the song.

“It meant having to do things a few extra times just to get it right but again when would you ever really get to do that out of necessity again and it was really very interesting and everything was very carefully considered,” she said.

O’Neill added that she was “just glad” to be making music and that “just getting to make something new and be excited about it was the reward”.

“Now being nominated is beautiful and bizzare but I hadn’t in any way thought that far ahead,” she said.

The winner will be revealed at a live show from Vicar St on RTÉ 2FM on Thursday, March 3.

Choice Music Prize nominess for Album of the Year

Bicep – Isles

Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill – In the Game

For Those I Love – For Those I Love

Orla Gartland – Woman on the Internet

HousePlants – Dry Goods

Kojaque – Town’s Dead

Elaine Mai – Home

Saint Sister – Where I Should End

Soda Blonde – Small Talk

Villagers – Fever Dreams

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