First Prize: Sorcha Richardson

Interview First Prize: Sorcha Richardson

Returning to her native Dublin after cutting her teeth in New York, this Irish singer-songwriter’s music values transience, change and freedom.

When Sorcha Richardson returned to Dublin in 2017 after living in New York for eight years, it wasn’t so much a case of coming home as discovering an entirely new city. Leaving the Irish capital at 18, the singer made her first musical steps in Brooklyn, and wrote one of the best underrated songs of 2016 in the resigned lo-fi rumble of ‘Ruin Your Night’. But, following an adolescence spent abroad, it was only when certain pieces began to move in her life, taking her back to her birthplace, that her recently-released debut album ‘First Prize Bravery’ started to come together. “I feel the same way about Dublin now that I did about New York when I moved there first,” she considers today. “[There’s] so much of it to rediscover”.

It’s a sentiment fuelled by a renewed sense of pride and honour in her heritage, one felt strongly in the Dublin musical community. With an influx of fresh, exciting bands and artists operating in the capital right now (Saint Sister and Fontaines DC are noted as two of Sorcha’s particular faves), there’s a lot to be proud of. But ‘First Prize Bravery’ is still fuelled by spontaneity and uncertainty. It results in songs that are fresh, breezy and malleable, informed by a life of to-ing and fro-ing. “I like having [Dublin] as a place to return to,” she says, “[but] I’m bad at commitment. I don’t like being tied down!

“The album is about change,” Sorcha continues. “And also hope and disappointment. There’s a lot of songs about coming and going, and the transient moments that come with splitting your life between two places. It feels like you’re always saying goodbye to someone.”

However, despite the difficulties that the fleeting nature of her life has sometimes afforded her, there’s also a freedom that’s reflected in the singer’s intimate, personal pop. ‘Honey’, the album’s first track, was recorded on the upright piano that’s sat in her parents’ Dublin home since she was a child, and the album travels from those humble origins to the fully-formed crunchiness of catchy bop ‘Don’t Talk About It’. Collating her experiences into a rich and unique viewpoint, sometimes a bit of everything isn’t a bad path to choose.

As featured in the November 2019 issue of DIY, out now at stockists across the UK. Alternatively, read below, get a copy sent to your door, or subscribe for a full year.

More like this

Class of 2020: Dry Cleaning

Class of 2020: Dry Cleaning

Having gone from a bunch of mates making weird noise in a cupboard to one of the most hotly-tipped new groups in the country, Dry Cleaning are exactly the band we all need right now.