Signed to Universal Music UK, Declan J Donovan has already racked up over 100 million streams on all platforms. His latest release, "Homesick", is a stirring folk singalong powered by his soulful croon and imbued with what is becoming his trademark way with a masterful melody.
In 2018, he was one of the only unsigned acts to play BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend, appearing on the bill alongside Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith and more. He has spent seven weeks at Number One on the European Border Breakers Airplay chart as well as being Top 20 in the European Airplay chart.
Recently, Declan was doing some research on Asian artists and came across local songbird, Talitha's music. Without skipping a beat, he decided to do a beautiful rendition of one of her most popular tracks "would you".
We also got the chance to speak to the young singer-songwriter and Talitha Tan as well, in regards to Declan's cover of her song. Here's what they had to say!
Declan J Donovan
1. What first struck you about Talitha’s voice and why did you choose “Would You”?
I think she has a very beautiful voice and I chose ‘Would You’ as I liked the chords and melody, and thought it would sound nice to cover acoustically.
2. What was the highlight of your 2019 - be it something personal or career-wise?
I got to play to 5000 people at Brixton Academy on my birthday!
3. How did it feel being on BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend, alongside other international artists?
It felt amazing to be recognised by Radio 1 like that, it’s such a popular station and I’ve always listened to it, so the fact I was invited to play there was unreal.
4. How does it feel performing live versus in a studio, and what do you enjoy most about each of it?
I love performing live, I’d say it’s the best part of my job as I get to travel the world and share my music and play to new people every night. Sometimes I get to hear people sing my lyrics back to me, which is an incredible feeling, knowing you’ve created something that people connect with and enjoy. I also love writing songs and the whole creative process that goes with it but always found recording quite boring to be honest, it’s definitely not as fun as playing live, there’s obviously way less interaction.
5. What was your very first time on stage like and does it get easier to perform each time?
Very scary, it took me a while to build my confidence up. But yes, it gets a lot easier the more shows you do. Once I got into a routine of playing live constantly you get use to everything, and I’ve played so many now, I don’t really get that nervous anymore, just excited.
6. What are you hoping to achieve in 2020?
Hopefully sell out shows all around the world, that would be great.
1. What was the highlight of your 2019 - be it something personal or career-wise?
I would say every year or everyday, I meet new people. But this year I would say I have found friends that I’m able to call family. Career-wise, I'm happy being able to write new music and to be able to release them, but this year I got to experiment on a different kind of sound compared to what I've released before. Thought that was rather exciting. Opening for Jeremy Zucker was also a dream - I've always been a fan of his music. To be able to share the same stage might be a small thing, but I’m always happy when I’m performing.
2. How did it feel when Declan reached out to you about his cover of “would you”?
Awh man! When I found out about his cover of “would you” I freaked! It sounded amazingggg! He was amazing! I immediately slid into his DM and told him how honoured I am to have him covering my song.
3. How does it feel performing live versus in a studio, and what do you enjoy most about each of it?
I looooove performing live, I always have. I may not be the best performer, but I love it. I love being able to share how I feel through my music to the people listening. To have people sing along to my music, argh! What a dream! As for the studio, I love being able to make music, I love the magic making. I also quite love autotune/melodyne. Pretty much love how anything is possible in the studio.
4. What was your very first time on stage like and does it get easier to perform each time?
Oh wow, I think I died a little. First time on stage was during my school’s assembly, I think I was 14. I sang “I'm Yours” by Jason Mraz sped up. No joke. It’s a skill. But I generally find it harder to speak on stage than to sing, or never really knew what to do with my hands. Until a certain extent it did get easier, but the excitement never goes away and neither do the butterflies.
5. What are you hoping to achieve in 2020?
Marry a rich husband. Just kidding! I have always just went with the flow, chasing things I love. But next year I would love to be able to collaborate with more talented individuals, learn from them and write more. More than anything, I want to perform more. Dedicate 2020 to more music making, music everything.
Check out the exclusive premiere of Declan's cover of "would you" here!