Dublin’s favourite Northsider: Emmet O’Brien

I have been dying to do this interview for a long time. I have crossed paths with Emmet O’Brien many times so I know how down to earth and fun he is but I was unaware of what was to come from our hour long chat.

Some of you may recognize Emmet from my piece “Stepping into the Light: In aid of Pieta House“. He is a well-known and respected poet/spoken word artist, unapologetic with his themes and what you see is what you get. He is very vocal about his own struggles and mental health while also being an advocate for raising funds for many charities including helping the homeless.

We kicked things off with Emmet telling me about a Garda who stayed to watch his “scauldy” set at Body and Soul Festival. I managed to get some goss out of Emmet too. He told me the meaning behind his dress sense and a big project he is currently working on.

Emmet deciphers the difference between the Poetry scene and the Hip Hope scene. We discussed the dangers of online forums and rappers gaining too much influence from mainstream artists.

Although he has created a space online for poets to perform, he has decided to take a step back himself. Emmet says he gave performing a shot again last summer (2020) but said it was like “reading from a script” and he feels he is creating to please people as opposed to creating for himself. He tells me that one day he will return to performing but for now, it is almost as if the joy in it has gone.

While there have been many trials and tribulations for this young man, self-awareness and balance has been a huge learning point throughout his career. Although he is already a key figure in our “scene”, this is only the start of big things to come from Emmet O’Brien.

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