Wayne Brennan, winner of the RTE/RAAP Bursary awards 2012 is a singer/songwriter from Co.Offaly, Ireland. Coming from a large family of builders he was lucky to have music as a corner stone of his home. Traditional music was prominent in his family.
‘I remember both my Grandmother and great Grandmother playing the accordion when I was a young lad’.
However, Wayne’s initial musical endeavours were influenced by his father who is also a keen accordion player. By the age of 6 Wayne joined his siblings and began playing traditional Irish music. There were the makings of a full trad band in the house when he was growing up.
But it wasn’t until Wayne reached the age of 13 and went to visit his uncle did he really find his own passion for music.
‘I remember sitting in my uncle’s house and he played such classics as ‘Stairway to heaven’ and ‘Hotel California’ for me. That was the definitive moment that I realised what I wanted to do with my life… I wanted to play music’.
Wayne went on to teach himself guitar and with friends formed a cover band but mostly he tended to practice a lot in his own time. At the age of 16, Wayne made his first live performance as a bass player in his father's band 'Arizona'. As the years passed his musical influences went from Michael Jackson to Queen, Dire Straits to Hendrix, Clapton to Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Don McClean, Counting Crows… However, on leaving Ireland and moving to Paris at the age of 19 his musical senses were given a wider palette to choose from. He was introduced to many European sounds including the Gypsy Kings with whom he played in the south of France. Wayne spent the next 5 years coming and going between Ireland and France whilst studying French, Spanish and Portuguese in University College Dublin. During this time he bought his first nylon string Spanish guitar and immediately he felt a deep connection with the warmth of the instrument.
He was still an aspiring musician with a dream that he never took as serious as he could have.
‘I don’t think I realized that I could have a career in doing what I loved but something inside kept the dream alive. I just kept on practicing and writing songs because that’s where my heart was, that’s what I loved to do and then the day came where I thought ‘now is the time’, I gave it a shot and haven’t looked back since’.
After finishing his studies Wayne packed his bag and went travelling, spending time in the U.S, Hawaii, New-Zealand and in many European countries all the time soaking in the sounds and cultures for inspiration in his writing.
Still being disillusioned by the possibility of making a living with his music he returned to college to do a post-graduate diploma in computing. After finishing this he was employed by a major multi-national company where he worked as an I.T analyst for over 3 years.
‘The biggest thing I learned from working in I.T was that I didn’t want to be doing that type of work but it did help immensely in making me proficient in all things computer related’.
Thankfully this was the domino that would make Wayne launch into his musical career. Wayne spent the next few years making demos and recording in home made studios in an effort to get some musical ideas down on ‘paper’. It was also during this time that Wayne met fellow musician Andrew Healy who has been playing drums with Wayne ever since.
During 2007 and 2008 Wayne spent time recording material for his debut album ‘In My Hands’ and in May 2009 it was finally released under his own record label Libéré records. He went on to release his first ever single ‘And I Love’ securing himself a 20 top hit single in Ireland. His animation for the song has received over ½ million hits on YouTube to date. During this time, Wayne toured extensively and made regular appearances on radio and TV in Ireland and the U.S. His debut single ‘And I Love’ remained in the Irish top 20 for 3 weeks.
Over time Wayne has been invited to perform in the U.K, U.S, France, Italy, Spain and opened for many international acts around the world.
3 years on, Wayne is now completing his follow-up 2nd album. He has travelled and written this album in Bali (Indonesia), Italy, Fuerteventura (Spain) and Ireland. He even penned the first release from the forthcoming album, the award winning ‘Roots in these lands’ on a barge travelling through his home county of Offaly (on the ‘Grand Canal Experience’ which is to be screened on RTE 1 later in the year.)
‘one of the great slowburners of the year.’
‘singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire’
‘…brilliant and uplifting debut album.’
Barbara Nic Dhonnacha - iRadio
‘BRILLIANT!! Unreal guitarist. Has to be seen to be believed.’
Music Review Ireland
'Wayne Brennan's ‘In My Hands’ is a work of true musical art that deserves to be sung from the heights.’