New York-born, Ireland-raised, singer-songwriter Sally Ó Dúnlaing battles doubts and insecurity on “Feed You Lies,” the new track off forthcoming debut EP Conversations. Ó Dúnlaing, who records and performs under the name Ódú, explained that she began writing “Feed You Lies” about a friend who had seemingly lost his way before realizing she was self-projecting her own insecurities.
The song, a driving, Eurythmics-inspired track with shimmering flourishes and powerfully delivered vocals, was the first Ódú wrote for the EP, and it acts as a sort of mission statement to quit self-sabotaging her dreams.
Ó Dúnlaing recorded the five-track Conversations EP in Ireland with producer Elliot Marchent, who she met in jazz college, and each song is uniquely different from the next, mixing elements of late ’70s disco, early ’80s funk and mid-’80s pop with deeply reflective lyrics.
Conversations will be released Feb. 24. American audiences will have to wait a while to see Ódú. She’s already planning a second EP and plans to grow her performance repertoire first in the U.K.
RIFF: On “Feed You Lies,” you’re clearly battling some self-doubt. Is that a personal song, or are you assuming a character. And if it’s about you, does the doubt still percolate to the surface from time to time?
Yeah, it kind of does, actually. “Feed You Lies,” was originally about a friend of mine that was just really frustrating me, just being so limited in the way he was approaching a lot of things in his life. Then I suddenly realized I was essentially talking to myself. I was essentially projecting everything I was feeling toward this person. A lot of it was basically telling myself to wake up; stop limiting the things that I can and can’t do. And yeah, it was a lot of self-doubt, a lot of frustration with my lack of action. This was a period where I was considering whether or not to show anybody this music at all. I thought, “God, nobody wants to listen to this trash; this is terrible.” Eventually I [said], “I’ve gotta put it out there, and I have to stop censoring myself.” So that song was very much turning things against myself. In a lot of ways, the other songs are quite like that, too. There’s a lot of [songs] inspired by other people, but definitely the situations that are involved are things we seem to all have.
You’re a Marina Diamonds (Marina and the Diamonds) fan. What draws you to her music?
She’s part of a certain kind of ilk of singer-songwriters that I really admire. There’s kind of a holy trinity for me: there’s her, there’s Susanne Sundfør, and also Tove Lo. I love the idea of how confessional they are. They don’t try to dress up a lot of their lyrics in very pretty poetry and stuff. It’s very much their view to hear, and to take in, and it’s sometimes very difficult to listen to, as well. Marina’s last album, Froot, was just an incredible album. It was quite inspiring for me. “Happy,” from that album; I broke down crying listening to that song. So there’s that confessional element to those writers, but they also have a real knack for an earworm. I love the combinations of those things and that’s something I’ve really tried to bring to my own music. I wanna bring those confessional ideas, but also dress ‘em up in great melodies. One of my favorite things in the world is hearing incredibly depressing lyrics with really happy music. I hope to do more of that.