One of my first festivals was Oxygen 2006. It had this amazing lineup with the Arctic Monkeys on their first or second album, the Strokes, Kings of Leon, the Magic Numbers and then the Who and James Brown. I waited in the pit for a good eight hours to see James Brown.
I didn't know what to expect of real America. What shocked me was the diversity of it and how different every city is. But also just how polite and usually good-willed and optimistic most Americans are.
My musical education was grounded in blues and Chicago blues - John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding.
I think it all started with Nina Simone. When I was maybe seven or eight, I used to listen to one of her albums every night before I went to sleep. For me, her voice was everything.
Either somebody has equal rights, or they don't. And certainly in the Irish constitution, marriage is genderless. There's no mention of a man and a woman.
I don't like false happy endings, and I don't think the real world is such a forgiving place.
Rarely do I finish a song lyrically before I have a musical idea there, but then again, rarely ever would I finish a song musically before starting the lyrical ideas. So a lot of the time, they come in tandem, or they just come at a glance.
We all run the risk of thinking that people have common sense sometimes.
If I fall into a city, I fall into a scene, and I just don't want to get distracted and enjoy myself too much. There's too much work to be done.
Much of social media can be seen as the 'News of me.' It's not so much a platform for connecting and sharing as it is a platform for advertising the idea of yourself you want to portray to others: the image of yourself you want to project.
I try to face things without regret, or make sure that I'm happy with things and leave nothing unsaid if I can.
I love Muddy Waters and Nina Simone. I also watched 'The Blues Brothers' movie over and over.
I am a politically motivated person, and that will come through in the music.
I didn't even have that many close LGBT friends or anything like that, but I suppose it was growing up and becoming aware of how you are in a cultural landscape that is blatantly homophobic... you turn around and say, 'Why did I grow up in a homophobic place? Why did I grow up in a misogynistic place?'
I'm not cross about the idea of baptism; I just think the idea that when a child is born it is inherently sinful and carries sin and needs to be cleaned in order for it to be all right and all good with its creator, I just think that's an absurd notion.
I am a politically motivated person, and that will come through in the music. I'm not sure if every song will be 'Take Me to Church,' but I can only hope that people enjoy the body of work that I have ahead of me.
I don't know if I'll ever get married. I have no plans to not get married.
I'm still finding my feet in many ways as a performer. I'm not an extrovert, and certainly the attention isn't what drew me to it, and I find that quite jarring at times. I used to stress a lot about shows and get palpitations before shows, but eventually you learn to love it, and it is a thrill.
Someone had an eye on me as I was leaving high school. I had a chance to record demos, but they were kind of wanting to make a pop singer out of me, of the 'X Factor' variety. I didn't feel comfortable with it. I wanted to be a songwriter.
Being in a studio is quite a creative and energetic process.
Growing up, I always saw the hypocrisy of the Catholic church. The history speaks for itself, and I grew incredibly frustrated and angry. I essentially just put that into my words.
If I could, I'd sing old French songs or American folk music, but I sure as hell can't do it as well as Mississippi John Hurt - no way in hell am I getting near that!
I'm an awful control freak at times when it comes to production and stuff like that.
I have very strong feelings about a lot of things. I am sometimes reluctant to come straight to the forefront with it. You know, first and foremost, I'm a musician. I'm a songwriter.
Being 16 is the worst time to be anybody, there is not enough tea in China to persuade me to be that young again. I wasn't very happy with myself.
It's a surreal experience filming promotion with Ryan Seacrest and meeting Top 40 pop artists.
The first time I heard Tom Waits, it was like everything just flipped. It was just this fascination with him. My cousin showed me 'Small Change,' and I just couldn't get over that this was a white guy singing.
I'm influenced a lot by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, even Paul Weller - Billie Holiday as well: People who wrote and sang songs that were reflective of their times. I quite like that. I quite admire that.
It sounds like I'm joking when I say it, but when I wrote 'Take Me To Church' and a lot of these things, I didn't think they would be hits. I thought I was writing for a potentially smaller audience.
It was amazing for me to even perform at the Grammys, but to do so alongside Annie Lennox was a truly incredible honor.
I used to almost not look forward to recording, because it was like, 'Okay, what am I going to have to sacrifice?'
There are a lot of recurring themes that I resonated with when I read 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.'
I'm reading a lot of poetry because it's a lot easier to dip in and dip out when you've got 10 minutes to yourself.
I think it is important to differentiate between lip service towards something and actually making change.
Growing up in Ireland, there are a lot of aspects of God that hang in the air. And my music reflects that.
Things were never as exciting for me as the first gig in New York.
My hair grows into a fuzz ball - I just wanted it to grow downwards rather than outwards - but then I realized I couldn't play guitar with it that way. I couldn't do anything day-to-day without my hair getting in my mouth or my eyes or my food, so I just started tying it back, long before I knew what a man bun was.
A lot of the 'leave' campaign was centered around a thinly veiled xenophobia, just 'control our own borders.' It's not a good look. I don't think it represents Britain; I don't think it represents the U.K. all too well. It breaks my heart for my generation in Britain who are going to suffer.
I find lyrics can come at any time during the day, as can music.
There was a moment, a few weeks after I signed, that it actually hit me. I was signed to a major label.
I try to be happy. I try to face things without regret or make sure that I'm happy with things and leave nothing unsaid if I can.
Religion wasn't imposed on me. I dabbled with faith, and I explored religion quite thoroughly.
I was definitely drawn to the mythology of one man, one voice, and one guitar.
All songs, all pieces of art, reflect the world that they were made in and the values of those artists and the hopes and aspirations of the people who listen to that music and who made that music.
Some of the earlier stuff I did in studio with producers was very pop-directed, which I was uncomfortable with.
I hate nightclubs, and I get fed up very quickly in crowded rooms. I enjoy being around people I know.