Seamus Mckenna

Singer songwriter Seamus McKenna spills the beans on how he became part of PRS for Music's Songs for Manchester campaign…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 3 Oct 2014
  • min read
19 year old singer songwriter Seamus McKenna has an old head on his teenage shoulders.

This Frodsham muso feeds in elements of dub, reggae and punk into his punchy pop rock showing off a sophistication far beyond his years. His is a raw musical talent which saw him chosen to take part in PRS for Music’s Songs for Manchester initiative.

The campaign, which was launched by Mercury Prize nominated jazz band GoGo Penguin, aims to celebrate the link between high street business and songwriters. Seamus is among five emerging local singer-songwriters – including Baxter Rhodes, Liam Blake, Matt Fryers and Tom Metcalfe - taking to the streets of the city to demonstrate this relationship. We caught up with Seamus to quiz him on his musical roots and he became involved in the Songs for Manchester initiative…

What made you first start writing your own songs?

I first started writing my own songs at 16. I felt like I had something to tell the world and my way of saying it was through music.

How did you get involved with the Songs for Manchester project?

I was approached by PRS for Music and the project sounded crazy but genius at the same time so I went for it.

What are the challenges of writing music for the project?

The main challenge is sticking to the brief but also being able to make sure you can put your own creative slant on the songs.

Why is it important that local businesses support songwriters via a PRS for Music licence?

Music helps the business in a handful of different ways and the songwriters deserve to be rewarded for their work. I believe it's important that anybody in a creative industry is paid fairly. For too long it's not been seen as 'a real job'.

What are your favourite songs written by Manchester artists?

Some of my most obvious favourites would be Joy Division and New Order's work but there are some incredible young bands emerging from Manchester's DIY punk scene.

How would you describe your local music scene?

Manchester's music scene is an eclectic mix of thousands of different genres from new to old. There's an artist for everyone.

What’s been your most memorable musical moment to date?

Probably playing at my mate's wedding as he walked his new wife down the isle. Nerve-wracking and a complete honour at the same time.

What have you learnt from being part of this project?

I've learnt that people awesome. The everyday person is usually really friendly!

What are you working on next?

I'll be focusing on my university work this year (BA(Hons) Songwriting at BIMM, Manchester) but I'll always be writing new songs and plugging them wherever I can.

Visit the PRS for Music Facebook page to find out more about the campaign and how to enter the Songs for Manchester competition. Check out our previous interview with fellow campaign artist Baxter Rhodes.

Watch a performance from Seamus below...