Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
“Quinn O’Donnell” started as just me releasing songs in order to cope with my feelings and evolved into much more. In eighth grade, I wrote and released my first EP, titled “Mad Crazy Dreams”, about the evolution of my hopes and dreams as a young adult. When I was fifteen and I released IT, I wanted to play shows, but because I was so young and had no experience, no one would book me. My parents are also musicians and are very supportive. They suggested that I play a show in our living room, thus beginning a regular series at my parents’ home. Eventually there wasn’t enough space and that’s how I knew I was ready for a venue in town. When I was asked to play an arguably, career-changing show, I realized I needed a live band. I had known Jacob (lead guitar) since we were fourteen from summer camp, Cordell (bass) was his college roommate, Kennoniah (keyboard) was a good acquaintance that I had met at a couple shows, and Nick (rhythm guitar) and Karl (drums) were my coworkers. Thus, after only two rehearsals, “Quinn O’Donnell and The Lonely Hearts” was born and I found my musical family.
What is the favorite song you wrote and why?
My favorite song I’ve written so far hasn’t been released yet, but it will be in late winter. I felt very isolated during quarentine, I was going through a very heartbreaking breakup. I wrote this song with a Radiohead sound in mind, equipped with an abstract lyric about what I believe dying feels like, the answer being my pain I was experiencing in this breakup. I showed the song to Karl, my drummer/best friend/producer, and he became just as excited about it as I was. He’s told me that he thinks it is his favorite, as well.
Who are your all time musical icons?
Number one is Death Cab For Cutie. They have such a unique writing style and aesthetic. The first time I heard “Cath”at age sixteen, I cried as if it were about me, even though the song is about a woman getting married to someone she doesn’t love. Other inspirations include Tom Petty, Phoebe Bridgers, Gorillaz, and Cigarettes After Sex.
What are some things to do to keep your inspiration alive?
I try to write as often as I can and work with different types of people. It’s nice to gain new perspectives and collaborate with other artists. It keeps things very fresh.
Who are you binge listening to these days?
Currently, Men I Trust’s newest record; “Untourable Album”.
Favorite movie or TV show?
I love Breakfast At Tiffany’s, just because Audrey Hepburn is so glamorous. A close second is The Royal Tenenbaums. At the time that I first watched the movie, I really identified with Gwenyth Paltrow’s character, Margot. I’m also a die-hard Saturday Night Live fan and can quote almost any sketch by heart.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
I wrote “About Last Summer” about the cathartic experience of a brief summer fling; enjoying the spontaneity, but knowing that the relationship will never carry out. I wrote it in 2019 right after I arrived home from my first tour and was the first song I ever wrote with a full band in mind.
Do you have any peculiar pre or post show rituals?
Pre-show? I like to hide somewhere quiet right before I go on stage and tell myself; “you’ve got this, dude”. And then I huddle up with my band and tell them the same thing. Post-show is typically spent over laughs with friends and lots of hugs.
What’s the future looking like for you?
Hopefully bright, haha. I hope to keep spending my days making music and drinking coffee. I’m really thankful for this chapter of life that I’m in right now.
Who inspires your style and aesthetics?
I feel like a lot of the people that I admire don’t really go together. I’m inspired by Audrey Hepburn and the way that she carries herself, she’s very stylish and graceful. But I also recognize Phoebe Bridgers as one of my songwriting heroes. She has more of a goth aesthetic and was the first female artist that I ever saw a piece of myself in. I remember thinking, “If she can do it, maybe I have a chance too.”
What is the achievement or moment in your career you are the most proud of and why?
I feel like a lot of the people that I admire don’t really go together. I’m inspired by Audrey Hepburn and the way that she carries herself, she’s very stylish and graceful. But I also recognize Phoebe Bridgers as one of my songwriting heroes. She has more of a goth aesthetic and was the first female artist that I ever saw a piece of myself in. I remember thinking, “If she can do it, maybe I have a chance too.” I’m really proud of a lot of things I’ve done so far. Each thing gets a little bit bigger and more exciting. I’m really excited for what’s to come.
What do you think is the best way to make it as an artist nowadays?
I think it depends on what you want. Everyone has a different definition of “making it”; whether it be making music full time as a job or playing a sold out arena. Either way, no matter how its defined, working hard and trusting your gut will get you where you need to be.
What would you change in the music and entertainment industry especially after this past year?
I hope that we can encourage and nurture the growth of new talent. There’s a lot of negativity towards new-comers and a lot of it is very unwarranted. I think they’re usually seen as competition, something to be knocked down. But in reality, as a whole, a career in entertainment isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. We need to encourage each other and lift each other up. If one of us wins, we all win.