Rushes is one of those overnight success stories that seems to have been around forever. The accomplished young Cork artist has just released his first full-length project, 'Glowchild', following a string of really strong singles, including 'Wide Eyed', 'Funds' and 'Blue Ghost'. I spoke to Rushes earlier this week about 'Glowchild', and it was great catching up with an artist who I had first interviewed on Cork’s RedFM when he was just Sean Walsh, way back when he was starting out as a 16-year-old.
He’s come a long way since, and a move to Dublin when he finished school found him soon teaming up with the Diffusion Lab label, who house everyone from Soule and Jafaris, and Rushes was soon releasing music too. The pandemic brought him back to Skibbereen for what initially looked like a brief period, but instead the extended stay back home provided him with a different perspective as he launches this next part of his career. Much of the beautiful music soundscapes on 'Glowchild' were produced by Chris and Marcin of Diffusion, and they provide a perfect backdrop for some powerful lyrics, all written by himself. Indeed it was the Dublin label who first encouraged Sean to become an artist himself, after he had submitted some early demos to them.
“Originally, I didn’t want to be an artist really, I wanted to write songs for people, and they said, you should try and do them yourself, so I just gave that a shot, and I’ve been going in that kind of journey since”.
A naturally more reserved character, Rushes took the leap in his stride, but it hasn’t always been easy. The self-released 'Glowchild' has been really well received so far and he tells me that “the good reception for the new music solidifies that I’m on the right track and doing what I should be doing; it gives me confidence and more excitement to go back on stage to perform these songs and let people hear them in a new space”.
It really is a strong collection of songs, by an excellent writer, and many of the tracks have been accompanied by visuals too, mostly recorded at home in West Cork with Nathan Barlow and Rushes' childhood friend Eddie during the pandemic.
“It’s great to get a visual representation of the songs to go along with things and the next video, for ‘Lost in Therapy’, is one I’m really excited about it as it matches the song with the emotion I was trying to get across. The visuals are so important to go along with the music and I’ll definitely continue to do this in the future.”
I asked Rushes about his influences and besides listening to RedFM in the car he remembers hearing Michael Jackson on a cassette belonging to his parents. The pop music of the day made an impact too, while songwriter wise, he points to the whole Odd Future crew.
“A lot of hip-hop and rap, just the storytelling of it, was a big influence on me, and implementing that into more of a singing style. Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt. That kinda group was really important for me”.
Rushes also points to the greats such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Brian Wilson, and is encouraged by the tendency lately for much of music to be more about feel rather than that super clean over-produced pop that has sometimes dominated.
He’s encouraged by the possibilities this means for his own music in future.
Rushes is very much still at the start of his career but 'Glowchild' is a very strong first project proper. It’s not an EP or an album but more of a stepping stone to his eventual first album, by which time he hopes to have “all the resources to do whatever you want with it, and make it as incredible as you want it to be”. He’s enjoying the whole experience of learning about the music business by releasing this himself, and 'Glowchild' might be a stepping stone to a great career. He’s already played some shows with a small band before the shutdown and he hopes to be able to do some live shows and festivals next summer. 'Glowchild' is streaming now on all platforms and it’s an assured introduction to his journey so far.