Waterford singer Moncrieff is making waves in London and even Elton John is listening
"If people are going to listen to my songs, they know they come from a f**king real place."
Rising Irish artist Moncrieff moved to London to pursue his music career at just 19.
"I got this mad notion in my head that music is all it is for me, and I need to do whatever I can. I moved to London quite soon after.
"I’d only really lived Cork for six months and that was like a metropolis compared to Waterford, so moving to London initially was super tough. It’s a broke life but it’s a good life."
Now 25, the singer has been making waves in the UK – even before he released his first body of work. His new EP The Early Hurts has just been released and contains three brand new tracks and his single Like I Do.
Moncrieff really started to gain momentum in the UK when no less than Elton John gave him a shoutout during his weekly radio show, called Rocket Hour, on Beats 1 radio. The songwriting legend loved Moncrieff's track Symptoms and, after Elton gave it some substantial airtime on his show, it was picked by BBC Radio 1.
"With my first single, Elton John gave it a mention and a good spin on his show – that blew my mind."
Back home, audiences are also loving the Tramore man's raspy, soulful voice. His gig at The Sound House Dublin this Thursday is sold out, and he's lined up to play The Academy in April.
The shows will, of course, feature the tracks from The Early Hurts. Discussing the new EP as a whole, it's clear that the singer's motivation for making music is more than a passion – it is actually the tool he used to express his grief for the death of his brother.
"I was hurting and in such a bad way. My brother was only a year older than me, we’d grown up together and he passed away when I was 18 and he was 19.
"That was the stage in my life when I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life and what were my values – you have to think about life in a very real way. Music became an avenue for me to express emotions that really couldn’t be put into words at the time for an 18-year-old guy.
"I became obsessed with music very very suddenly. It was subconsciously a way of me releasing emotions I had bottled inside me."
Moncrieff emphasises the importance of being real with yourself and the people around you when you're going through the "darkness", especially in Ireland where a lot of men find it hard to open up about their mental health and have an "incredibly difficult time expressing themselves".
It's not one the loss of his brother that Moncrieff deals with on the EP. Like I Do is a standout track for me; it's an emotional song about moving on from a relationship when you realise they've already started seeing someone else, and the overwhelming pain that comes with that.
"I wrote it four years ago, basically I flew back to Ireland, to try to turn up at my ex's door and to try to win her back. And I came back and I was obviously destroyed.
"It is super personal and super emotional. If you can give those qualities of songs in abundance, they are the core things people connect to. If people are going to listen to my songs they can know they come from a f**king real place."
'The Early Hurts' is out now and features there, and you can grab tickets for Moncrieff's headline show in The Academy in April here.