Rock-N-Roll Psyche Nurse Simon Murphy To Take On America

Simon Murphy

A BELFAST law student turned psychiatric nurse has been given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take his music to Nashville.

Simon Murphy, who despite having a law degree has been working with mentally ill patients for the last nine years has plenty to celebrate.

Last year he was the winner of Belfast music shop Dawson’s song-writing competition, long-listed for the Northern Ireland Music Prize with his debut album Let It Be and more recently has been chosen by Panarts, organisers of the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, to jet off to Nashville to play the legendary Bluebird Cafe.

But that’s not all, this month the proud dad celebrated the birth of his first child Rosa.

He said: “I sing to Rosa all the time. She’s a good critic, if she waves her arms, we are golden. If she cries, I’ll sack that song.”

Simon with baby Rosa

Simon with baby Rosa

When in Nashville, Simon will be working with some of the industry’s top music producers. He says he’s looking forward to being able to develop some of his self-penned tunes.

And there’s no doubt he’ll be taking the experiences he’s gathered in his job as inspiration. Despite having a difficult job, Simon is lucky to be able to bring his music experience to the service users and says the good times working with them make up for when things get difficult.

He explained: “Often the people I care for have trauma and neglect in childhood. I’ve used music as a recovery tool. This year we go to Zero hour studios in Coleraine to record a CD with service users who have many

Simon Murphy

Simon Murphy

different diagnoses. I believe in the healing and transformative power of the arts.

“The job is hard but good health providers and songwriters share similar traits. My sense is that a natural curiosity about people, their motives, what makes them tick us a trait shared between the two professions.”

After releasing his debut EP titled Death Of A Singer Songwriter in 2014, Simon received considerable airplay on the BBC. Fast forward to March 2015 when Simon performed alongside Grammy award winner Don Henry at Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival, kickstarting his debut album.

Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Don Henry said: “Simon Murphy’s honestly heartfelt performances are second only to his honestly brilliant songs. He’s a forthright but humble singer-songwriter who’ll endear himself to you quicker than you’ll expect. I dig him.”

By August Simon had played a sold out show in the Black Box, Belfast, launching his album titled Let It Be. He went on to support Paperboys and appear at festivals with Billy Bragg and Ash while his album collected four and five star reviews across the UK and Ireland.

Simon Murphy

Simon Murphy

Simon explained: “Writing songs is easy. Writing good songs, important songs: that’s trickier. I’m trying to write the songs I want to hear on the radio. I figure if I aim for the head, heart and the gut and reach anyone on any of these levels, I’ll be ok.”

This spring Simon is heading out on tour with the likes of Georgia Middleman, Bap Kennedy and Brian Houston and he’s set to perform once more at Lakefest – this time alongside The Charlatans, Starsailor and Primal Scream.

Check out Simon Murphy’s live performance of Once Upon A Time from his sold out album launch in Belfast below and log onto his website: simonmurphymusic.co.uk

About the Author

Jessikah Hope Stenson
A young, enthusiastic writer who appreciates a good scone.