Heather O’Neill

We bring you Chicago-based Heather O’Neill today, who has taken a new direction in her latest record. She says to expect “a more layered and fleshed out recording compared to my other CDs. The concepts and instrumentation are more realized.” O’Neill continues on about the subject matter of her work: “My best ideas usually come from questioning the world around me. I have a fascination with society's ‘rules.’” Keep reading now for more in the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Heather O’Neill

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Based in Chicago, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

HN: They have been many artists that have inspired me. But my main influence, in my formative years was Bette Midler.

PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out in the music business and trying to make a name for yourself? Any “war stories” from those early years?

HN: Do you have five hours? Yes everything from being stiffed out of a payment to canceled without notice to being disrespected from sound engineers or fellow musicians.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

HN:I was playing this little bar in NYC and nobody was really paying attention.  After I finished my set this guy came running up to me screaming DIVA! He gave me my first ever glowing review.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Heather O’Neill performance?

HN: Hopefully something that either makes you think,  makes you laugh, or makes you move.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

HN: Do I have something to drink?

PEV: Any preshow rituals before you take the stage or do you just wing it?

HN: I always rehearse the setlist before showtime.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

HN: My best ideas usually come from questioning the world around me. I have a fascination with society's "rules"

PEV: Tell us about your latest release - what can fans expect from this work?

HN: A more layered and fleshed out recording compared to my other CDs. The concepts and instrumentation are more realized.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

HN: Yes. To shake myself out of it I learn other people's music that intrigues me. Then I find myself coming up with something of my own.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Heather O’Neill?

HN: I can be quite awkward.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

HN: Yes. After film school. I knew this was the dream I wanted to chase.

PEV: What one word best describes Heather O’Neill?

HN: Flamboyant.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

HN: Worst part, I perform solo and the road can get lonely. Best part, meeting a cavalcade of characters and connecting with your community.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

HN: Asia.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

HN: I have a few people in my family who are extremely supportive of me. The rest don't quite get it. Playing in my hometown is usually a great homecoming.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

HN: Reading, traveling, going to the movies.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

HN: They aren't currently touring but there is a duo Duende. Who are totally incredible.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

HN: Traveling Salesmen

PEV: So, what is next for Heather O’Neill?

HN: I will be touring in the Fall.

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