The Martoo review and Us with Bridget O’Shannessy

Damien Martoo with singer-songwriter Bridget O’Shannessy.

Damien Martoo

2020 has been a year like no other I have seen. It has been a time that has made even me, someone I consider to be upbeat, question my own positivity and upbeat nature.

This mood doesn’t last for long however when I see our community continuously banding together, fighting the good fight and reaching out to others who may need some help.

Whenever I need a bit of ‘HYPE MAN’ mood in my life I usually turn to music.

I don’t have any real genre, as long as I can tap a toe or nod my head I will listen.

The arts industry has been hit hard during Covid, yet these talented people continue to release music or find alternative ways to perform for the benefit of other’s mental health and wellbeing.

THE MARTOO REVIEW believes the arts has an extremely important role to play in all areas of life and is probably the key stone in creating exciting, profitable and vibrant industries and communities.

This week we are launching our Artist of The Month. We will feature one artist of any genre and expose the community to their talent.

Our very first Artist of the Month is singer-songwriter Bridget O’Shannessy.

BRIDGET: I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Brisbane, but when I was a kid my mum and dad would send us to the farm to get some culture and sunshine and we would spend our days riding horses and what not, so this is where we would sit opening presents every second Christmas when we would come up to DI DI.

DAMO: Aunty Kathy is very well-known in this region as a councillor. She loves pink, and of course the Christmas Tree behind us is pink. Has that rubbed off on you at all?

BRIDGET: Exactly the opposite. When I was a little kid I used to look up to Kathy, and I still do. I thought she was the coolest person ever and she was wearing hot pink ALL the time so I adopted that. The older I got, the more Kathy wanted to claim the PINK as her own, so I thought ‘You know what, I am going to be the bigger person, step away and let Kathy have her Pink’.

DAMO: How did you first get into music?

BRIDGET: I am the first of three kids, and mum is a bit of an over-achiever, so when I was a little kid mum put me in all the lessons. Tennis lessons, piano lessons, swimming lessons and singing lessons. It sort of came to a point where dad was like ok we need to hone in one skill, pick one thing and go with it for a little bit. Mum must has seen some sparkle in my eye when I got to sing, so we continued on with singing lessons, then started to do some country music festivals around Queensland then eventually around New South Wales. That just snow balled, so I picked up a guitar and started writing. I started gigging and the stages got bigger and the crowds of people got bigger and I just absolutely loved playing LIVE.

DAMO: How old were you when you played your first music festival?

BRIDGET: Eleven, I think.

DAMO: Are you serious?

BRIDGET: Yeah! I was a proper child. I was always nervous. I remember the first ever stage I got up on was at the Boondooma Homestead. We thought we would enter a competition, I had been doing all these singing lessons and I had to prepare two Australian songs, and I remember being so scared.

DAMO: Your music management -this is a family affair isn’t it?

BRIDGET: Yes, Maggie is my younger sister. Maggie is the smartest person I know, and she just has this can-do attitude that is rare these days. I always have these big dreams and big visions but I am just too scared to pick up the phone and get it done, whereas Maggie always knows how do get something done and get it done properly to a standard.

DAMO: Now the reason we’re here, is because during lockdown you haven’t been playing any gigs, but you just the other week with Maggie, sat on this beautiful carpet floor in the loungeroom at Di Di, decided to write a Christmas song.

BRIDGET: Yes, that came about very quickly. I had just made myself a coffee and was scrolling through Instagram, and thought, I’ve seen a lot of Christmas things happening. Carry Underwood just released a Christmas album and Dolly Parton has got some Christmas gear on and is in front of a camera for her Instagram. And Maggie goes, “Well yeah that’s because 2020 has been terrible for everyone and people want something to look forward too”. Maggie immediately went, “grab your guitar, sit down, we’re writing a Christmas song.” It was so much fun. We just sat down, got a notepad, and started jotting our favourite things about our own family Christmas traditions.

DAMO: What are your Christmas traditions?

BRIDGET: When I was a kid, every Christmas we would drive around and look at the Brisbane Christmas lights. I remember being 10-years-old driving really late at night and being so tired and nodding off to sleep, but it was so exiting seeing all the Christmas lights. Other traditions were we would come out to Di Di with mum and dad and all our older cousins and relatives. They’d be on the rum and cokes from 11am. We just jotted down all these Christmas memories that Maggie and I had around Christmas and threw them into a song.

DAMO: When are we expecting the release of you new Christmas single?

BRIDGET: This song is called Christmas Night. It just so happens all of the traditions happen on Christmas night and we are going to be releasing it around the first weekend in December.

So listen out, we’ll keep you informed of where and when the new single Christmas Night will be released. It’s so exciting to have some cheer after the year we have all faced.

You can catch the full interview on our podcast THE MARTOO REVIEW AND US where you listen to all your favourite podcasts.