Music Q&A: Hazel O’Connor

The singer chats ahead of one night at Manchester's RNCM (14 Nov) featuring a screening of the uncut version of Breaking Glass, followed by an intimate Q&A and live performance of songs from the film

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What informs your music/songwriting?
Mostly CNN these days. I don’t really read newspapers anymore. CNN informs me about the most hated man in the world, and I also watch Al Jazeera to get a balanced view of the world.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I have evolved due to necessity, everything I’ve been involved in is through a great shortage of cash. I’m a ‘needs must’ artist. I have to work. I love being on tour but I’m not fancy-schmancy. I drive my own car, I just get in and go. Plus my love of old fashioned jazz, blues and soul is a cornerstone and has evolved me as an artist. It’s been in my life since I was 11, plus all the Tamla Motown artists as that was happening when I was a kid and more recently the jazz classics.

What are you up to at the moment?
I’ve just finished a new album which is called Hallelujah Moments with quite a few Irish artists that I love and are mates so it’s going to be released as Hazel O’Connor & Chums. It features Liam Ó Maonlaí from Hot House Flowers, Jake Lukeman, Mundy and Brian Kennedy.

What’s on your rider?
Water, carrot sticks, wraps, cheese, fruit and a bottle of sauvignon blanc for Clare Hirst who plays saxophone with me.

Tell us your most embarrassing moment.
When I was at the premiere for Breaking Glass at the Cannes Film Festival I had these really tight trousers on which I’d unfastened to watch the film and afterwards we got a standing ovation. The lights shone on the director and me who pulled me up to take a bow and they fell down.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol, I love that song, we do a cover of it live. It’s a beautiful song.

What’s your worst lyric?
One of the first songs I wrote was about Billy Pilgrim from the book Slaughterhouse Five, it appeared on a b-side and it was ‘Billy, Billy you’re very silly but I love you, yes I do’.

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