Miss Writer Interviews Roisin O’Hagan

Thanks for reaching out to take part in the Miss Writer interviews for IYE, if we can start with an introduction? 

Hey! My name is Roisin (kinda rhymes with machine). I’m half Irish, hence my name, and I have lived in Essex my whole life. In a nutshell, I am obsessed with songwriting – nothing fires me up like an incredibly well crafted song.


Your new single ‘Girls Like Me’ is out this Friday. You describe it as being a song that is calling out harassment – tell us more about the track and what inspired you to write it? Thank you for sending over to me to have an early listen, it’s a great track and I’ve listened to all of your other songs on Spotify since. 


Thank you! I’m very excited to be releasing this song. I wrote it after being called a nasty name, which becomes fairly clear in the lyrics of the chorus, by a stranger who wasn’t very pleased that I hadn’t responded to a string of creepy, unwanted messages from them on Instagram. I pretty much immediately set around writing this angsty song documenting my thoughts on harassment and listing what I might say to this person in real life. Essentially, the song is about pointing out that you can choose to be better than that; creepy just isn’t cool, and not replying doesn’t make girls like me the thing that they called me. The aim of the song is to call this type of harassing behaviour out. Of course, unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen to girls, but it’s about my experiences as a young woman around a topic I’m passionate about.

You describe yourself as an americana/pop singer song writer, what does that mean and how would you describe your sound to someone? 

I always find it really hard to describe my genre. I like to say I have a bit of an ongoing identity crisis with it haha! I think, at the core, it’s because I’ve always been inspired by a range of genres and meaningful songwriting is what drives me to create, rather than genre. Overall, I tend to say I’m a singer/songwriter who takes influence from a mix of americana, pop, folk and rock music.

How do you think 2020 would have been different for you musically if it wasn’t for Coronavirus?

My aim for 2020, before *that thing* happened, was to gig across the UK as much as possible and release lots of music alongside that. I had a couple of exciting support slots and tours on the cards. However, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to dedicate this time to really work on finding who I am as a songwriter. As I mentioned, songwriting is incredibly important to me and I always want to become a better writer. I feel I’ve really made a huge step up in that sense this year in that I’m writing songs that I feel more connected to than ever before, which is endlessly rewarding and reminds me of why I’m so driven to always get better, for myself, at writing things I love.

Now that we are slowly moving back towards normality, do you have any plans to do any gigs this year? 

I do! I have a few gigs on the cards. The first one will be a socially distanced, seated gig on 19th June at Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester, Essex. I’ve also been confirmed for Tennessee Fields festival in Essex on 10th July, which will be so much fun. I’m so excited to be getting gigs booked in again!

As a songwriter, what’s the one song you wish you had written and why? 

I have to say my favourite song ‘Round Here’ by Counting Crows, although anything by Adam Duritz (frontman and main songwriter) would do just fine for me. He has a really unique way of writing, I feel. He’s talked before about how, lyrically, he tries to express emotions and moments in a way that puts you in the room and makes you feel it. So, in ‘A Long December’, instead of saying I saw this girl across the room, he writes all at once you look across a crowded room to see the way that light attaches to a girl. I’ve always really liked the way he describes things in songs. Also, the way he actually sings and the vocal lines can be a bit fragmented and conversational sometimes, which I think is really effective.


How do you start when writing a new song? What’s the process?


I always start with guitar. I sit and just play, a lot. Quite often I’ll have a bank of song topics, ideas, lyrical ideas floating around and, when I start playing something that seems to fit a certain mood, that’s often the start of the song forming. The melody comes next and I fill in the rest of the lyrics as I go.

Where is your bucket list venue to play? 

Roundhouse in Camden! Such a cool venue. I also saw Counting Crows there for the first time.

If you were headlining a gig, which three other under the radar artist would you pick to support?


The Black Feathers, as I’ve supported them a few times over the years and they are wonderful songwriters/performers as well as great friends. David Edward Booth, who mentored me in my early songwriting and recording years, as he has always inspired me and I consider him family to me. Also, Wildwood Kin because they are immense.

What has I been like for you to gather support for your music and is there anything that us new music fans can do to help you? 

I’ve always found social media really helpful, particularly for single releases. Luckily for me, I really enjoy using Instagram in particular, so I’m always active on there and it’s been a really nice way for me to connect with people from all over. As music fans, the best thing you can do to help small artists like myself is to share our stuff! Whether it’s on social media or by word of mouth – or ideally both! It’s incredibly impactful and I’m so grateful for when people do so. With my new single ‘Girls Like Me’, for instance, any way that people can share it online or with a friend means so much to me and helps me connect with people I couldn’t otherwise!


Ooooh, I love this.


Thanks for having me on the blog! I’m really excited to be releasing this new single and I hope people will enjoy it. Lots more music coming up!!

If you haven’t heard Roisin’s beautiful voice yet, check out her new single today, follow on socials and show her some support.

Twitter/Instagram: @Rosey_Roisin