Singer-songwriter Liam O’Brien has released his long awaited EP Higher, featuring 6 songs, in which he pours his heart and soul into. The musician from a little town about 45 minutes north of New York City, was singing fairly much from the moment he could start speaking.
“When I was about two or three, my parents and I went to Quebec and they claimed that I just started singing on the street for people,” Liam tells me. “I apparently pulled a huge crowd and people applauded at the end. I was like, thank you! Thank you so much!”
We caught up with the talented musician to chat about his life in music, his new EP Higher, and what it was like moving to LA to pursue his dreams. Check it out.
When did you kind of know that music was going to be in your future?
Honestly, probably from when I was two or three. I just always had music ingrained in me. I guess when I was 10 and when I did my first musical, I just fell in love with music, the stage and performance—honestly, I just loved the spotlight and sharing with people. I wasn’t scared. It was honestly one of my favorite things to do. I always loved being creative, even in English class. I would write a story and want to share them with people right away.
When I was 14, I wrote my first song and played it for people in my high school. I just remember the whole front row—the whole place, really—standing up and clapping. I was just like, wait, am I actually that good?
So that gave me just every ounce of confidence and hope that I needed. From then on, I started looking at music schools and figuring out what I wanted to do, whether that meant I wanted to stay realistic in terms of living a normal adult life or pursuing my dream. So I did both. I found a bunch of colleges that were doing contemporary music, but I also studied something that could get me a job if that didn’t work out.
You moved to Los Angeles to pursue music. Tell me about this experience.
When I graduated from the University of Miami I knew I wanted to pursue music and try to make it.
What’s so complicated about the music industry is that there are so many different ways to go about that. Different avenues and angles, but you have to just pick one and go with it.
When I moved back home after graduating, I realized I couldn’t live at home anymore and moved back to Miami to pursue music there. I worked with some pretty incredible artists and producers and made a foundation of contacts and friends there that I still stay in touch with and visit fairly regularly.
I made the decision to move to Los Angeles hoping that I could expand those connections even further. What mainly happened though was I had a job—and still have that job now—who were and are the most supportive people. I couldn’t have asked to work for a better company. After two years of working there and forming a really strong relationship, I said to them, “I really want to test out LA.” They told me to go for it. Make music my reality. Move and work for the team remotely, which was incredible. I also had never felt so trusted before, which was a huge thing for me.
Once I got to Los Angeles, the biggest thing for me was not just working with people in the studio—they’re all great, obviously—but working with a creative team of videographers who elevate my music as well. The team who I’ve worked on my music videos with are incredible. People don’t believe me when I tell them they’re a group of college kids, because they’re just that talented.
Outside of creating your music, what has been your favourite creative part to making this EP?
I would say the most exciting element—because I’m not used to doing it—is writing scripts for music video concepts. I wrote my first one for “Come Smoke” and sent it over to Ben the director and he loved the idea, took it, and ran with it. Then seeing the whole concept come to life was incredible.
What’s one thing you hope people take away from Higher?
For me, I write what I know and this album is from my heart and soul. I know not everyone will relate to it, and people don’t necessarily need to, but I hope they appreciate the music; the creativity; the story. It’s built in a way that even if I’m talking about smoking and someone doesn’t smoke, I hope they’re still like, “this is a bop.”
Also, honestly, I hope people listen to it in order—at least their first time listening to it. You know, starting with song one, ending with song six, and listening to it straight through. EPs and albums tell stories. It would be like opening up a book and starting halfway through.
Higher is available to stream *straight through* on Spotify now.