Musician, singer, songwriter. Jen’s music and voice have been described as a gothic Debbie Harry. Her impressive back catalogue includes numerous solo work as well as bands and collaborations.
Recent releases include all women collaboration 'Rise Up! (On Her Shoulders / Ar A Guaillí / Air A Guailnean)' feat. Gals on Fire! Collective single, music video, and documentary in Dec 2021. Collaborations with composer JP Waksman: ‘The Migration’ digital soundscape and ‘Enough’ song for COP26.
Jen is currently working on a full album of her own composition collaborating with all women and non-binary artists working title ‘Gals On Fire!’ due for release summer 2023.
As lead singer and songwriter with indie band Sorrows Have Sails 2011-2017, their track ‘Little Emperors’ featured on the New Hellfire Club vinyl release ‘’Now That’s What Aye Call Music Vol. 1’. With former duo Seafern, their single ‘The Seed Beneath the Snow’, released April 2019, featured in the trailer for Peter Armstrong directed documentary film ‘The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?’ and also in the short film ‘Trifle’ (2020) decorated at short film festivals worldwide. Seafern EP ‘Subsidence’ released May 2020 to critical acclaim.
Jen is also Founding Director at Music Broth supporting people across Scotland on their musical journeys, and band mentor at Girls Rock Glasgow.
Jen O’Brien celebrates women’s contribution to Scottish and Irish society alongside a stellar ensemble of original female artists in latest release Rise Up! (Ar A Guaillí / Air A Guailnean / On Her Shoulders)
Musician, composer and singer Jen O’Brien has announced the release of On Her Shoulders: an original all female group song, music video and documentary. The multilingual project, which features 13 different artists, exists as a celebration of the immense creativity, talent, skills and value of women working in the music industry, including lyricism, musical composition, production, mastering, photography, videography and visual art.
Rise Up! (On Her Shoulders, which translates to Ar A Guaillí in Irish or Air A Guailnean in Scottish Gaelic), was created in honour of the Colmcille 1500, celebrating 1,500 years since the birth of St Columba. Known as St Colmcille in Gaelic, his legacy is central to the traditions of Irish and Gaelic culture to transcend borders and inspire cooperation. On Her Shoulders is, therefore, a deeply collaborative multi-disciplinary project that ultimately aims to bring people together from across Scotland and Ireland to celebrate the invaluable role women play within these nations.
Born in Ireland and a resident of Scotland, Jen beautifully interweaves Irish and Scottish Gaelic voices, showcasing the languages as prominent within modern music composition while lyrically highlighting the historic underrepresentation of women historically to modern day. The project was brought to fruition throughout the global pandemic, and as such represents the strength of effective collaboration between a diverse, genre and generationally spanning host of artists.
Contributing artists Jen O’Brien, Rosie Bans, Empress MC, Becci Wallace, Jenny Tingle, Freya Giles, Jordan Stewart, Bell Lungs, Ingrid Ewan McRae, Choirstaidh Iona McArthur, Ainsley Hamill, Laura Cunane, and Rebecca Thoby are all champions of their own crafts. Songwriters, music creators and collaborators, those featured on the track have already released an extensive catalogue of previous music from within bands, as solo artists, as live performers and through other creative work such as photography and videography.
The project is supported through Bòrd Na Gàidhlig Colmcille Fund and Creative Scotland Open Fund.
Photo: IEM Photography