The Script Biography
Last updated: 02/03/2014 06:12:51 PM
Danny O'Donaghue (25): "The truth is, I spent a lot of my childhood singing when the other kids were outside playing football and getting into trouble."
Mark Sheehan (27): "I'm not trying to romanticise it, where we grew up was a shit hole, it was stealing cars, all the usual bollocks, but music gave me a sense that I could break away. I know it sounds like a cliche, but to me, as a kid, that was my way out."
Glen Power (28): "My mother always said to find one thing in life that you're good at and the day I picked up the sticks I found it."
The Script are an Irish trio whose music boasts the kind of artful twists sure to turn all preconceptions on their head. This is a whole new brand of Celtic Soul, blending hip hop lyrical flow with pop melodiousness, state-of-the-art R'n'B production with anthemic rock dynamics, classic song construction with gritty contemporary narratives. It's got all the emotion and passion you would expect from across the Irish sea, but it is glittering in its modernity, universal in its singalong addictiveness and global in its syncopation, music for the feet, heart and head. Think U2 versus Timbaland, Van Morrison remixed by Teddy Riley. "Irish people have soul," according to Danny. "It comes from generations of pain, and generations of understanding emotion to be able to physically get that in a solid sound."
"Soul is not a black thing or a white thing, it's a human thing," insists Mark.
"The true vision is to hit people in the heart," declares Glen.
Danny and Mark met in their early teens in the run down James Street area of Dublin, near the Guinness brewery, gravitating to each other through a shared obsession with music, and in particular a love of American black music. "At that time, MTV only came on in Dublin after midnight, it was the fuzzy channel, and for my generation black culture was just a wave through us all," explains Mark. "It wasn't about gangs and guns; it was fashion and fun, singing and dancing."
"One day I heard Stevie Wonder singing and the hairs on the back of my neck went up," says Danny. "I didn't even know people could sing like that, I'd never heard the acrobatics of it before." He spent years in his bedroom, practising vocal licks. "I'd try and emulate all those records, even down to string arrangements. Some of the best singers have emulated a musical instrument - Amy Winehouse is a saxophone - but the violin is the one for me, the vibrato, you can bring so much heartfelt emotion in."
"There is something about the way a voice encapsulates a person," says Mark. "The way Danny sings, the raw emotion, when you hear it in front of you, you cannot deny the power."
Striking up a songwriting and production partnership, Danny and Mark's exceptional talent was recognised early, and, to their astonishment, they found themselves invited to the States to collaborate with some of their production heroes, including such legends of modern R'n'B as Dallas Austin, Teddy Riley, The Neptunes and Rodney Jerkins. "It was a wonderful opportunity to see how these guys build songs," admits Mark, who always carried a little computer drive around and charmed his heroes into swapping libraries of sounds and samples.
Danny and Mark started as a backroom team, making demos for other artists, but when they met fellow Dublin drummer Glen, the dynamic shifted. Although they had never actually heard him play, such was the connection they made that Mark invited Glen on a working holiday to LA. "He just whipped the ass off all these LA session musos," enthuses Mark. "He is the funkiest drummer around with real energy and swing but Glen is also a fantastic guitarist, a fantastic keyboard player and he sings his ass off too."
Something of a prodigy on the Dublin scene, Glen had been playing sessions from fifteen years old, using the money to work on a solo project in his home studio. But that went on hold when his collaboration with Mark and Danny produced three songs in one week. "It was like I found my home playing with these guys," says Glen. "I had never had a chance with any other band to express myself with such freedom."
"Individually, we all had our own talents, but together it just went to another level," according to Danny.
And so The Script went into production. But it has not all been happy ever after. When Mark's mother became terminally ill, the trio returned to Dublin so that he could spend time with her, recording in his old home studio in James Street. "That was pulling on my heart strings in a big way," admits Danny. "Lyrically it was pouring out of me." After ten months, Mark's mother passed away. Four months later, Danny's father, also a professional musician, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. "I came home so that Mark could spend time with his mum, little did I know that I was actually getting to spend that precious time with my dad," reveals Danny. "But then amidst all this travesty and disaster, these songs have risen out of it. That was the time when it finally came home to me how important music was to me, cos in my darkest moments that's what got me through."
The trio's debut single, We Cry, was released by Phonogenic/ SonyBMG in April 2008 and reached #13 in the UK charts the following month. And it is something special, a soulful anthem of everyday struggle that manages to be simultaneously bleak and uplifting. "There is not a lot of hope in the song, cause not everybody's life is full of hope," explains Danny. "There's not always roses at the end. But out of all these things that have gone wrong in our lives and everybody else's lives, the message is 'together we cry'. Because as long as we're here together then we can find a way to share the burden."
Their debut album, will follow in August, it too promising to be something really special. "There is a whole lifetime in these songs," says Mark. "We don't write them in ten minutes. A song takes nurturing, it is an evolving thing. This is a journey, we are in constant change, constant motion. I can't ever put my finger on what exactly The Script is, I don't even think I should, all I know is that it is something that touches me deep inside, and seems to touch other people when we play."