19-year-old UCC student releases debut album inspired by surprising friendships 

19-year-old UCC student releases debut album inspired by surprising friendships 

‘Unexpected Comradery’ is the debut album of a new 19 year old Cork artist, AJ Whelan.

A 19-year-old from Cork has released his very first album inspired by the surprising friendships he has formed during his first year at university despite the unusual circumstances.

Unexpected Comradery is the debut album of a new 19-year-old Cork artist, AJ Whelan. The album's release marked the year anniversary of when the engineering student first picked up the guitar.

Though he has only been playing the guitar for a year, a lot of work and many years of listening to music have gone into the album which was recorded in AJ’s garage.

According to AJ, the album’s style is largely inspired by his music heroes Rory Gallagher, and The Beatles.

“But then there’s also people like Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd actually had a major influence on the album because right before I started recording, I was going through a mini–Pink Floyd phase,” he explained.

The name of the album is derived from friendships that AJ developed during his first year at University College Cork (UCC).

 The album style is inspired by a number of AJ's musical heroes. 
The album style is inspired by a number of AJ's musical heroes. 

After trying his hand at the drums, which he quickly discovered were not the instrument for him, AJ discovered his love for the guitar last summer.

“I knew straight away that I loved it and I couldn’t stop. I didn’t put it down and I haven’t put it down yet. I just love it."

The first-year student picked up the guitar quickly, however, it wasn’t until after Christmas that he realised he could play the instrument and sing simultaneously.

Following a health scare in December, AJ spent time in hospital in what he described as a “pretty scary” experience.

“I was only playing guitar six months at that stage, beforehand I couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time and after I came out, whatever they did to me – whatever way they put me back together – I was able to sing at the same time and on top of that, write music.” 

“That’s how the album came to be,” he added.

The album was inspired by the friends AJ made at UCC who he said motivated him to continue writing music.

“I’ve made some amazing friends in my very brief time in UCC, and I’ve probably been on campus now maybe a total of six hours over the last two semesters."

Though he loves each track on the album, Windows Down is one of his personal favourites.

The simple song was written in a friend’s kitchen and AJ discovered his love for it after playing it for his friends.

“The atmosphere that came from that simple song that I had disregarded completely - you couldn’t beat it."

Other tracks include, Hope That’s Never Lost which was written after a family member asked AJ to write her a song to walk down the aisle to and What Happened To The Rhyme which he described as a song that is difficult to not sing along to.

Unexpected Comradery is available now on all music streaming platforms.

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