Want my job? with singer-songwriter Seba Safe

"My mother took me to a Josh Ritter concert when I was 11-years-old. This night made me want to pursue a life in music."

Want my job? with singer-songwriter Seba Safe

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Seba Safe, I’m an indie/folk/pop singer-songwriter from the west of Ireland. I am currently living in a small coastal town where I am learning to surf. 

What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day? 

A typical day of songwriting involves copious amounts of coffee (I’m not a great morning person). I usually have 3-5 songs on the go at any time. So I will flick through the projects on my MacBook and pick what feels right to work on, I always start by laying a beat down and building from there. The initial song idea starts with me and a guitar before I start recording any of it. Once I feel I’ve hit a roadblock or my head feels fried or bored I move on to another track and start building that song up. I work best at night time right before I should go to sleep.

What’s great about what you do?

For me songwriting is extremely therapeutic, I learn more about myself from my own songs than anything else. Also working in the music or art world means meeting and connecting with other artists which is always inspirational. 

What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging? 

I think because my songs are so personal it can be quite hard not to separate myself from them and the business side of the job. If a friend hasn’t listened yet or it hasn’t landed on some playlist I take it personally like it’s me or my music not being good enough but that’s just the nature of the beast. 

Facing the fact that TikTok is a significant part of the music industry now is also quite soul destroying. 

What are the highlights of your career to date?  98ec04e5f7a046abd02363aa4a7c8dd44bc35889.jpg

Playing my music has taken me to many beautiful places and given me the opportunity to meet and become friends with some of life’s true legends. Having a label (Nettwerk) support and fund the recording of my music has been wonderful. They've given me the opportunity to work with amazing producers, videographers and an all round great team. 

What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it? 

The biggest challenge of this type of career is earning enough money to keep the dream alive. It’s something that is still hard, and realistically is something that will continue to be hard over the next few years. But I have accepted that and am willing to slog it out for as long as it takes.

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts? 

Like many teenagers I found grunge and metal and formed bands with local kids in Galway. This evolved into other genres then later to paid gigs. I studied music in BIMM Dublin. It was here I met some of the most important people who have influenced my career. As music can be pretty unstable financially I have worn several other hats on the side to fund my projects, some of these jobs include: pet shop cashier, barista, restaurant manager, insurance claims administrator, planting trees, and my claim to fame…. A bin man in the San Diego County Fair. 

Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what? 

I was living in Dublin for almost ten years – right up to the pandemic. In these ten years I noticed a lot of smaller venues closing that would have supported bands starting out. I think the rise in the price of living has affected the industry in many ways. Rising rents have pushed artists out of cities and abroad, the added financial pressure on an already strained industry will see some challenges for all workers within it. 

A positive change would be the expanding diversity within this industry, be it radio time, festival line-ups or just general exposure. Music is for everyone and is made by everyone so therefore it should be represented by everyone. 

Did you have any role models or inspirations growing up?

My mother took me to a Josh Ritter concert when I was 11-years-old. This night made me want to pursue a life in music. His lyricism has always astounded me. A few more honourable mentions would be Kurt Cobain, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jonie Mitchell, Amy Winehouse, Kendrick Lemar. 

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? 

I’m from a small rural town in Ireland. As kids we had a lot of freedom to explore the local rivers, lakes and forests, this sense of freedom certainly formed a catalyst for creativity within me. My parents are both music lovers and we would always have music playing in our home. Being exposed to all genres of music from a young age is obviously going to help you develop stylistically later in life, so I thank and love them for that. When I went to BIMM music college in Dublin my confidence was knocked when seeing how many amazing artists there were there. I sank in this environment but also made lifelong friends. It was my first knock by the industry but also gave me the gift of knowing that I wanted to continue. 

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to a 16-year-old you. What do you say?

Easy on the booze son, love yourself, you have time x 

Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?

Stay having fun with what you are creating. Write for yourself, write what you like, write what feels right. There’s no rules, don’t overthink it and support your fellow artists regardless of your taste. It's tough out here. 

Where can people find you and your work online? 

You can find me in all the usual places. For my music - Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Deezer etc…  Socials - TikTok, Instagram, FB etc. I have lots of new music to show you all so please give me a follow and keep your ears out. X 

Header Image Credit: Bryony Coles

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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