Tadhg Daly is a Jersey-born Irish singer-songwriter, renowned for his hard-hitting lyricism and heartbreaking honesty. Earlier this month, he released his debut EP ‘Forever Young’. A project over two years in the making, its five-tracks explores Daly’s unique story of overcoming adversity and battling personal demons in a quest to be his true self.

“A lot of it is from my childhood,” Daly explains of the project’s inspiration. “I’d say I try to package the lyrics in ways that reflect more recent stories from my life but a lot of the stories come from being a younger person and not knowing my place in the world”. In conversation, Daly admits to elements of tracks recanting stories of drug and substance abuse, as well as an ill-fated period in London, where he struggled to fit in.

When asked if he ever worried about being so open in his work, Daly admits to having his reservations. “It’s not that I didn’t want to or anything but there’s always this voice in the back of your head: 'what will the people at home thinks when they hear this'” he notes. “Music is nothing if it’s not honest, so if I’m ever going to be able to scratch the surface of what some of the world’s best songwriters are doing I need to open up a bit more and be brave about it”.

Tadhg Daly was born and raised in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands 19km off the west of the Cotentin peninsula of France. Born to an Irish family, his upbringing was soundtracked by a blend of Irish, French and British culture.

Growing up, his parents would listen to bands such as Queen and ABBA, while some of the day’s charting French tracks could be heard wafting from storefronts. “You got pockets of everything everywhere,” he explained, before adding that his Irish family largely spent their time amongst their own.

Much like many people’s upbringings it was bittersweet,” Daly recalls of his childhood: “there were some great things about it; how it’s so close to so many natural beauties but it can also be quite an isolating or even toxic place, with everyone on top of each other”.

Growing up, Daly found himself playing as part of a number of punk and metal outfits, where he first dabbled with the idea of writing his own music. As he delved deeper into the genre’s back catalogue, he began to realise that the mechanics of the music were identical to those of traditional pop, if only a little louder. “I loved Nirvana and it didn’t take me long to realise that every Nirvana song is a pop song dressed up as Grunge,” he laughs.

At 19, Daly moved to London to go to music college but dropped out after eight months after becoming disenfranchised with London life. “I was used to being able to escape from stuff really easy in Jersey, like go for a swim or surfing or whatever, that just wasn’t possible in London and I didn’t know how to navigate that,” he adds of the time. “I didn’t know what people in London did”.

It’s clear that Tadhg already has his eyes on the next challenge; writing and creating his follow-up project. Production has begun on some new material, but Daly admits to still searching for the project’s true sound.

I’m really trying to push the sound of it forward without losing the essence,” he explains of his works in progress. “lyrically I’m just delving into different things for once because it’s always been about that past trauma so it’s nice to be able to look past that. I’m trying to push the poppier side of the songs forward but also some of the more organic elements”.

The majority of ‘Forever Young’ was written, recorded and produced in Daly’s bedroom. Now, however, he has the luxury of a studio space in Shoreditch. Has having the ability to take a step back from songwriting, in that sense, made a difference to his work?

Oh absolutely, it feels amazing,” Daly replies. “it's nice to be able to travel to work. It was nice being able to lock ourselves away and get a bit mad scientist about it all,” he admits, before adding that it probably wasn’t the healthiest move on his part. 

I put a lot of pressure on my writing during lockdown,” he admits. “Artists were either going to emerge better than ever or crippled by the scenario and I was determined not to fall into the latter group”. I became obsessed with coming out without having wasted two year,s” he smiles, and with ‘Forever Young’ it’s clear he put the free time to good use.