SJ Denney [Interview]

Who inspired you to make music?

These are probably common answers, but I’d call out The Beatles and Neil Young. The White Album and Harvest were two of the first albums I experienced. Since then I’ve never looked back.

What is your creative process like? Do you start with lyrics? Instruments? Concept?

Up to a couple of years ago this answer would have been simpler. Back then it was always a case of picking up a guitar and finding some nice sounding open chords. I’d then sing a melody, which usually ended up being the verse. Eventually the melody would lead the guitar and that would become the chorus.
More recently, I’ve applied the same process using piano and bouzouki. I’ve also had some songs where I’ve written lyrics first. There’s been a few instances of me singing the track acapella and then finding the chords. A couple of weeks ago I tried writing some songs to drumbeats too. I’m basically trying to vary my approach, which should lead to interesting output.


What do you feel is the best song you have released/written and why?

I’m really proud of a track called ‘The Unsung Hero’. It’s inspired by my wife, who is also an amazing mother. I love the title of the track. The arrangement is also on point, with some low guitar lines and me returning to my first instrument… the clarinet.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.

If you could be any kind of cookie, what would it be and why? (Most important question)

Double chocolate chip, because I’d like to be popular. I think most songwriters crave attention.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

It’s a mixed bag. On the plus side, it’s brilliant that someone like me can put music out so easily. It’s also mind-blowing that a session musician from the other side of the world can add their parts to my music.
On the downside, the fact anyone can do it means the market is saturated and it’s such a battle to differentiate yourself from other artists.


If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

Two things… I’d get rid of melodyne or any other method of tuning vocals. I hate the sound and it just sucks the emotion out of music. And I’d change the industry’s stance on mastering music, whereby all the dynamics are sucked out of the recordings.

What is the most useless talent you have?

Memorising motorway junctions, if you can call that talent?

When you’re done with music, what do you want people to think when they talk about you and your work?

I want people to realise how much passion I poured into my music. Hopefully they’ll return to my songs and continue to connect with them.

What is your most recent project/upcoming project?

I’ve recently released a single called ‘The Sticking Point’. I’ve also got another single lined up for May.

Find the Musician at:


By Sarah Carswell

After spending 5 years studying language and writing, Sarah spends most of her time thinking critically about popular works of fiction, and after a lifetime love of music they have made themselves a place where they can analyze music and interview musicians. To learn about their struggle with learning to read and write please check out the About page. You can send a message to Sarah by going to the contact page and sending an email with your feedback and suggestions for new content.

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