A Day in the Life of… Sinead O’Brien

You know what’s easier than following around your fave up-and-coming indie-stroke-pop stars, day in, day out, to see what they’re up to? Asking them. Here’s what post-punk poet Sinead O’Brien’s day looks like.

You know what’s easier than following around your fave up-and-coming indie-stroke-pop stars, day in, day out, to see what they’re up to? Asking them. Here’s what post-punk poet Sinead O’Brien’s day looks like.

I wake up at 7.30am go downstairs and prepare a black coffee and a green smoothie (spirulina, maca powder, banana, cacao, wheatgrass and spinach). That’s breakfast. I go back upstairs and spend a little time writing in my notebook and reading with my coffee and letting myself wake up, letting thoughts come. I refuse to skip this step. It plants me in the right mood for the day. I do some exercise before getting dressed and run out the door with bags in hand and make for the Westwood design studio where I work Monday – Friday.

Work begins, today we are choosing which fabrics to apply for our SS22 collection. I took part in some sustainability workshops with the Ellen MacArthur foundation last week, so I’m trying to think in terms of our circular design principles when making these decisions. I love choosing colours for the lab dips too, it’s like animating the whole thing from something flat and colouring it to life. I raid the Pantone book and find a familiar classic ‘plum kitten’ – everybody laughs. But this is a summer collection so let’s chose something lighter. I go for a bitter lemon sorbet colour and happy with that, move onto the next thing.

After lunch we do a fitting (in person – thank god, remote zoom fittings were awful). I think I’ve seen this proto three times, still not right. It’s a dress I love from the archive – reworked. I know it well, so I make sure I have my say. Some garments become quite personal – you get attached and know what to do with them, what the perfect fabric is, just how it needs to be.

Coffee! I see that Julian has sent through the next version of a demo we’ve been working on this week. Can’t wait to get home to lay down a banging vocal on this. Sounds alive, this one!

I get in the door, throw everything down, offload my baggage and start to cook dinner. I make smashed cucumber and sesame salad with a dressing (my favourite part) of sesame oil, vinegar, chilli flakes, salt, soy sauce. I have an heirloom tomato salad from yesterday, which completes my plate. Looks like someone else made it. That makes me happy.

I light some incense in my room – the label reads ‘cement, smoke, wood’. Intriguing. 

Demo time. I take a moment to plug in my very minimal bedroom recording set up. It’s very unfussy and just allows me to get ideas down immediately. Garageband on, plug into my TC Helicon Voicelive pedal, mic and headphones. Without listening through, I just plug in and go for an intuitive vocal take. This is how it works best recently. I know the structure of the piece. This is the second draft, so I already feel where I want to push it – how I want to let my voice ride the melody and halt in certain places. It feels good to surprise myself and give a really fresh delivery. I work on a couple of additional vocal layers but nothing ‘decorative’. I mix it a little and bounce it back to Julian and Oscar. Tomorrow Oscar will lay down a drum from his studio and expand the project. Excited to hear what comes back! 

I write a bit in my notebook – already at my desk, so this feels like a good time to get some words down on paper and anything to get away from the screens.  

I pen down a couple of things which occurred to me today and some ideas I have for a new piece. I transcribe something I wrote a few days ago from my notebook onto large A3 paper so I can bring it to the studio at the weekend to work on with the boys. 

I go for a shower, make lemon tea and hit the sheets. 

My last thought before sleep is about which jacket I will wear tomorrow and how it will make me feel. I choose the leather lapel and covered buttons.

Sinead O’Brien’s single ‘Kid Stuff’ is out now.

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