About Tommy Cullen

From the moment he picked up an acoustic guitar, Tommy Cullen wanted to make music and little else. Growing up in a world of art, the son of creative parents – his father is the celebrated painter Stephen Cullen – he was surrounded at home by piles of records, books and paintbrushes. Tommy tried out many obsessions in his childhood, from drawing pictures and writing short stories to corralling his cousins into special-effects heavy home movies.

 

Writing songs, though, soon became less a hobby and more an essential way for Tommy to make sense of the world around him. Drawing from any and all sources, it became the constant in his life through school, college and an ever-changing series of part-time jobs. Whether painting walls, blagging web design positions or pulling 12-hour shifts in a ‘juice factory’, new songs kept flowing – to the extent that everything else could sometimes become background noise.

These tunes found their first outlet with alternative rock band The False and the Fair - fronted by Tommy – who eventually broke up after a six-year run on Dublin’s underground scene. Starting over again as a solo artist, Tommy threw himself into home recording and created an eclectic series of indie singles about scary sharks, imaginary breakups and really nice trains. These releases gained a few fans here and there, while Tommy pushed on with a seven-date tour of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a live acoustic EP, hometown shows and numerous live streams, as well as busking his tunes in the picturesque surroundings of Dun Laoghaire.

Something bigger started to take shape, and soon a debut album was born. Set to release in spring of 2024, ‘Enjoy the Glow’ represents the culmination of Cullen’s creative life to date, exploring the past few years through tales of everyday drudgery, true love, UFO sightings and trips to Ikea. Looking back as well as forward, the record incorporates vocal contributions from close family and friends along with a watercolour cover by Tommy himself. Its broad palette of indie sounds reveal a newly self-assured production, taking influence from alternative/slacker music, bedroom pop pioneers and the classic ‘70s albums of his parents’ record collection.

 

The new record also sees Tommy adopting an experimental release style, allowing fans to join him on an online journey through the album’s ten songs in advance of their public release. Lead single ‘Good Time’ – a feel-good(ish) folk-rock anthem of disillusionment, heralds this immersive and unconventional campaign, which Cullen hopes will honour and enrich the unique relationship between song and listener that has made music such a powerful force in his life.

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