Meet The Artist: David O’Reilly

David O’Reilly is a 41 year old Broadcaster, DJ and Novelist from Newcastle, Co.Down, but currently living in East Belfast. During his time at Queens University in Belfast, David decided that he just had to be involved with the music industry in Northern Ireland. Relentless enthusiasm led him to writing pieces for his local paper and he ran his own DJ nights at local gigs before bugging the BBC enough that they let him contribute to their Across The Line radio show.

What genre / style do you create in?

Alternative music, I guess. But thankfully I’m the least snobby music fan and have done daytime radio playing great pop music. I also play a lot of questionable stuff when I’m DJing.

What would you be best known for?

I’ve no idea. I guess either as a DJ, especially when Sketchy at The Stiff Kitten was at it’s peak – or as a radio and TV presenter for Across the Line at the BBC.

What would you consider your biggest achievement?

Getting away with it for 20 years AKA managing to make a living doing all this stuff.

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?

Know your audience. No matter what you’re doing – radio shows, DJing, writing – think about the person at the other end and don’t assume they want you trying to ‘educate’ them.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Shedding my professional skin in summer 2019 – when I left my full time job promoting clubs at The Limelight and stepped down from presenting Across the Line after 19 years. Happily, I began work as a freelance presenter and producer, wrote my book and did a bunch of other stuff to keep things ticking over, until Covid arrived at least.

Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?

I have a baby, a dog and a human adult woman – Lottie, Penelope and Lisa respectfully. Three absolute superstars. I’m also besotted with grassroots football – the team I founded and coach (Belfast Ravens), the one I play for (Newtown Forest) and the one I support (Glentoran).

Tell us about your most recent work?

I’ve just published my first novel called ‘Lottie the Raven’. It’s partially based on the joys of coaching a woman’s football team and partially based on my own traumatic childhood. It’s about a young footballer called Lottie who is incredibly talented but too busy trying to navigate teenage life to realise or care.

Character illustrations from Lottie The Raven. Illustrations by Danni Gowdy.

What would you like us to tell people about?

The book. I’m very, very proud of it – and I’m never usually like that with anything. I think it’s sweet and funny and totally relatable, especially if your teenage years were as horrifying as mine.

Stay up to date with Lottie The Raven here >>

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?

I present music shows, play music and write about music. And sometimes other stuff too.

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?

Five minutes before I had to present my first daytime show, I accidentally shouted ‘I’m actually really looking forward to it!’ really loudly to my (extremely intimidating) boss assuming she was going to ask how I felt and thinking that was a nice confident answer. She hadn’t even noticed me at the time and I just freaked her out. I think she thought I was very rude and/or insane. It really freaked me out and I fluffed my first link.

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?

JUST. DO. IT. If you’re young, it’s likely you have nothing to lose. Get up off your ass and just give it all a go – make the calls, hound people, show them you’re enthusiastic and believe in yourself (without being cocky). Though ALWAYS know what the person you’re approaching actually does – if you get it wrong, you’ll insult them. We all have fragile egos.

Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?

My 8 month old daughter is AMAZING. No idea how, her parents are both melters! She is my best achievement to date.

You can follow David on:

Instagram >> @sketchyrigsy

Facebook >>

Who do you look up to and why?

Total mummy’s boy.

You can purchase David’s debut novel Lottie The Raven here >>


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