O’neill Hudson | SMC Exclusive Artist Interview Series No. 1 ‘Lucky’

By Candice Anne Marshall

On June 16th, 2017, Los Angeles-based Singer-Songwriter O’neill Hudson walked onto the world music stage under her new project and hasn’t looked back. In the short span of approximately 2 weeks, she has managed to enrapture thousands of her loyal fans (old & new) with launch of her debut single ‘Lucky’ on all major music platforms. What followed is the equivalent to one discovering a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a lush forest on a midsummer’s day: magical, refreshing, exquisite, and a welcome sight and sound. And that’s just her vocals. When we add in the exquisitely romantic lyrics (originally written for her husband), we have THE wedding song of the summer and more than likely, for infinity…it’s that good!

O’Neill began debuting her new single opening for her older brother, Reeve Carney on his ‘Youth Is Wasted’ tour recently, and the reception was exactly what we predicted: fans were gushing and clambering to hear the song just ‘one more time’ on social media platforms. In fact, friends of the songbird have also begun submitting videos to her with beautifully choreographed dance moves inspired by O’neills’ bewitching vocals. One fan even sent in a video with their preschool children singing ‘Lucky’ acapella! It’s that contagious and that memorable. (check out O’neill’s Instagram @oneillhudsonsings) These kinds of fan interactions demonstrate that this is a song that inspires people to sing along, create, dance, and even dream. O’neill maintains her authenticity with gracious responses such as, ‘I can hardly express my thankfulness for you all following me on here + your unbelievably sweet remarks on ‘Lucky’ – I feel like these times are pinch me moments’ and ‘You guys!! I am so overwhelmed by the support on ‘Lucky’ – it feels like a dream. I am so thankful that this song (which means so much to me) has connected us. I’m so excited for this new journey’.

Can we say ‘AMEN!’?

The earlier part of O’neill’s career, music written under the name ‘Paris Carney’ included sensual, leading-edge alternative ballads that laid the groundwork for her new project: ‘O’Neill Hudson’. After listening to the new single in comparison to her earlier work, one can audibly hear that O’Neill is ‘Paris Carney’, evolved. The singer songwriter began as a back-up singer for her equally talented brother Reeve (Carney), Jonas Brothers and most recently, Hailee Steinfeld. Soon after, with the support of family and friends, she began delving into her own art which prompts us again to raise our hands with another emphatic ‘AMEN!’

Although ‘Lucky’ is the first single under the O’neill name, we are confident that this is the very rich, mellifluous beginnings of what this Artist is capable of. Her cultivated vocals are O’neill and I am confident that this is the kind of Artist who does everything on point in terms of lyric/instrumental compatibility, while remaining original, authentic, and beautifully flawless in her final composition.

O’neill has already consented for SMC to begin a Spotlight Numbered Series where we will begin documenting her career journey on our SMC SPOTLIGHT and in the wake of her success with ‘Lucky’, we are already anticipating her next single!

Have a listen to ‘Lucky’ & read our exclusive interview below:

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O’neill Hudson
Photo courtesy: O’neill Hudson

Starlight Music Chronicles SMC Exclusive Interview | O’neill Hudson

SMC – Hello O’neill! Welcome to the SMC SPOTLIGHT! I am going to get right into this – off the hop, I want to say that your new single ‘Lucky’ is an ASTOUNDING entry into the industry under your new project O’neill Hudson. Before we get into talk on your new song, let’s go further back: you’ve been a musician for a few years now. Can you tell us what your other projects were/are?

O’neill – Hi! Thank you so much! I’ve been singing my entire life truly, and grew up doing demos for my dad. I professionally started as a backup singer for my brother Reeve 12 years ago. I’ve also sung background for the Jonas Brothers and most recently Hailee Steinfeld. I’ve written songs for TV/FILM and co-wrote Youtuber Bethany Mota‘s debut single ” Need you right now”.

SMC – I was on Spotify looking back at some of your previous music under your Paris Carney name. There’s some pretty fantastic tunes! Can you tell us how you have evolved from Paris Carney to O’neill Hudson and which project you are focusing on more long-term?

O’neill – Ah thank you! I am very proud of my other released material (under my maiden name, Paris Carney) but I felt like there was a side of me that wasn’t being heard in that style, that’s why I started writing for “O’neill”. I love singing and telling stories and I wasn’t feeling like I could fully do that…I also wanted everything to be authentic and real from the messages to the production. I’m definitely focusing on “O’neill Hudson” but I wanted the ability to go back and work on some more of my older stuff down the line.

Photo courtesy of O’neill Hudson

SMC – Can you tell us about the stage name O’neill Hudson? Where is it derived from? I saw somewhere that part of it was a name your mother was going to give you?

O’neill – O’neill is my middle name and I’ve always loved it so much. I was named after a close friend of my parents “Norris O’neill” who worked in commercial jingle business with my dad in NYC. He’s also my brother Zanes God-father, but Norris passed away before I was born, so I was named in his honor. “Hudson” was the name my parents had picked for me before I was born, because they thought I was going to be a boy. I also always loved that name + I’m from NYC and loved the Hudson River connection!

SMC – You come from a family with exceptional music talent, can you tell us how they inspired you or vice versa?

O’neill – I think we inspire each other by watching each other live and listening to eachothers’ recordings… We have similar inclinations and it’s cool to hear them / see them and then also exciting when something unexpected happens vocally, lyrically or production wise.

SMC – I saw that you had some very successful live performances opening recently for your brother Reeve. Can you tell me what your thoughts are on the response you received when you sang ‘Lucky’ live?

O’neill – It honestly feels surreal getting to sing “Lucky” live, really all my new songs. I’ve been working on this project for 2 years and only the co-writers and producers and my family have really experienced them. Singing “Lucky” live does feel especially special because of the meaning behind the song, having people connect to it was my dream.

SMC – Do you plan on any more future touring dates with or without Reeve? (Come to Canada!)

O’neill – I most definitely intend on touring very soon and I LOVE Canada- I would be so honored to play there!

SMC – What kind of feedback have you gotten from your family on your new single?

O’neill – My family has been so supportive and encouraging (really always! Ha ha) – I think they recognize my passion and ownership of this project, which has been really cool and validating.

SMC – What has the online support been like in terms of your fans?

O’neill – It has been truly unreal – I have been so moved by people’s support and love for the song – That is all you can ever hope for as an artist and songwriter. I just hope it continues to reach more people!

SMC – What has the media support been like?

O’neill – Nylon magazine online was amazing to just include my song in their best songs of the week, but otherwise my only other media support has been through my incredibly talented friends and family 🙂 I’ve been doing this all very grass-rootsy.

SMC – Often, when we find an Artist we see with a very promising future, we like to follow and chronicle their career as they reach milestones in their careers. We do this by way of a SMC SPOTLIGHT Numbered Series. Would you be open to us supporting you by way of interviews and reviews on our site as you continue on your journey?

O’neill – Of course! 🙂

SMC – Okay, let’s get into the topic of your new single ‘Lucky’…first off, I have to say ‘WOW’, lady, you have the voice of an Angel. (my review of the single will be posted above). I assume that this song was written for your husband correct?

O’neill – Ah thank you SO much! And YES! I wrote this as a love letter to my husband. It started with the chorus’ lines and the first line of the song “I hit the jackpot” and I brought it to my co-writer Wendy Wang (who also ended up producing the version that I released) …the rest flowed out in about 2 hours. I still cry when I listen to the lyrics because they are so true! I come from a divorced family and to find a love like I’ve found is so remarkable 🙂

Photo courtesy: O’neill Hudson

SMC – When was this song written and why was it chosen as your debut under the O’Neill Hudson name?

O’neill – The song was written on Feb 24th, 2016. I chose it as my first single because the meaning was so special to me and everyone that heard the demo seemed to have this deep connection with its message, so I knew it had to be the one 🙂

SMC – Have you been approached by Radio yet for ‘Lucky’? I can list at least six stations who will want to play this song! I should connect you….

O’neill – I haven’t! But I would LOVE that so much! 🙂

SMC – When you sit back and look at the kind of responses you have gotten for ‘Lucky’, can you tell us what thoughts roll through your mind as you’re reading the comments from friends, family and fans?

O’neill – It almost feels like an out of body experience ha ha! I think because I hoped and prayed it would resonate with people, but actually seeing it resonate with people is so powerful to me.

SMC – What do you think makes a Musician ‘successful’ in the music industry?

Oh man…So many things… It really feels like ” right place, right time”. There are so many ways to “make it” now a days. You could make yourself crazy thinking about it. I know, for me, I just want to make art to make art at this point – and then pray that “success” comes from that place.

SMC – Where is your greatest global fan base located?

Hmmm… I’m not sure – I wanna say South America? They are so sweet and passionate there!

SMC – Can we expect another single soon? You MUST keep them coming. Please do keep us in the loop on upcoming music.

O’neill – Yes! I’m not positive when, but it may be coming very soon 🙂 I will definitely keep you posted!

SMC – Speaking of future music and style, can we expect recordings to be thematically or compositionally congruent to ‘Lucky’? This is a different sound from your music as Paris Carney.

O’neill – Yes! This project is all about organic sounds – Nothing MIDI 🙂

SMC – Are you touring on any festival circuits this summer?

O’neill – Not that I know of yet, but I’m hoping soon!

SMC – I have seen that you have also been supportive of your mother’s jewelry line ‘Fables’ and we have featured some of her most prominent pieces on the front page of our website. Can you tell me which is your favorite piece and why?

O’neill – I’ve been loving the “Good Luck Charm” charm necklace (I’m wearing it in my single artwork) – Really ever since I wrote “Lucky” I’ve been drawn to it. Also, her “Smiley face ring” – Her jewelry is all unbelievable.

SMC – Your husband Greg (Garboswky) is bassist for Jonas Brothers and has toured extensively with the band. How did the two of you meet and what is his thoughts on your new single?

O’neill – Yes! He actually works on their management team now. We met at a karaoke bar through mutual friends in 2009. When I first played him Lucky, he got choked up – which made me so emotional / happy 🙂

SMC – Aside From the talent you are surrounded with in terms of your family and friends, I still see you as a bright light whose talent stands alone and apart from the crowd. You are truly unique. Have you ever heard this from any industry peers before?

O’neill – Wow – that is so kind! I’ve struggled a lot with insecurity in the past (still do, of course!) but when it came to this project I found such strength and confidence – I am just so passionate about it and I think that is what shines through at the end… That makes me so happy!

SMC – What was the most flattering compliment you have ever received in terms of your music?

O’neill – My main inspirations for this project were Jeff Buckeley and Areosmith and two separate people heard “Lucky” and without me telling them the inspiration said it reminded them of those people and I about lost my mind with happiness.

SMC – What are your thoughts/experiences on/of the music industry in general?

O’neill – I think I know a little too much… Ha ha! It’s so complicated and complex, I love knowing people that make music because they love it.

SMC – How do you feel you differ I in terms of your Brothers Zane and Reeve in terms of your own projects?

O’neill – I think I have a little more “pop” music in my background, which may come through here and there, that’s where all the spice girls and Britney Spears listening sessions shine though, ha ha.

SMC – How do you feel you are similar to your siblings?

O’neill – I think we all have similar vocal tones and also, we are all obsessed with Areosmith “nine lives”. We also love a good vocal harmony arrangement!

SMC – Can you tell us where your most memorable live performance has been and why?

O’neill – This past mini tour for sure! I’ve done a lot of background singing in amazing places – but singing my own songs in a style that is so authentic to me is unreal.

SMC – Are there any specific charities or non-profit organizations you have a passion for or whom you support? If so, why?

O’neill – That is such a wonderful question. I feel passionate about people feeling loved and heard, for that reason I love giving back to the homeless in Los Angeles. I’ve also always had a heart for those with special needs and I want to get more connected in a way to give back in a bigger way.

SMC – Can you tell us what a typical day in the life of O’neill Hudson is like?

O’neill – I have a literal obsession with coffee, soooo, I’d pick up almond milk latte from a coffee shop near me (usually to meet a friend) …before that possibly go to my fav workout “Pop Physique” and then usually I’ll go to a writing or recording session to follow! I also probably watch too much TV in the day… I was obsessed with “This is us” and want “Lucky” or one of my songs to be in it soooo badly!

SMC – I have read articles that speak of your wit and charm. I have found that you come from a family of pretty charming and witty individuals. (The Honeymooners Art Carney is her great Uncle!) What would you say is your greatest personality trait and your weakest?

O’neill – Aww that is so sweet! I think it usually is a good thing because I love to make people feel comfortable… I do however have serious trust issues, so it’s kind of an interesting internal combination.

SMC – Let’s talk more fashion: aside from wearing gorgeous jewelry pieces from your mother’s line, what are your go-to’s in terms of clothing and ensemble?

O’neill – I do mix it up quite a bit, but I love vintage tees or silk shirts and different denims (Paige denim is my favorite) and I’ve also been obsessed with pointy toe flat booties.

SMC – Most often, we ask the Artists in our interviews who their ‘go-to’ team is in terms of Music production, Music Video Production, Management, and PR. Can you tell us who your team is?

O’neill – Aw yes! Don Miggs, Kevin Held and Wendy Wang are my current dream team! Lydia Murrty took my single artwork/ did all of my photography. I also have a lot of help from friends who have gone above and beyond to make my dreams come true so far… I’m still in need of someone in PR though 🙂

SMC – Which music platform do you prefer to promote your music: Spotify, Radio, SoundCloud, CD Baby, or Pandora?

O’neill – I love them all! I do tend to go to Spotify because I know it’s cheap and or free to access so much music…I really just want my music to be shared as much as possible.

SMC – Aside from family, which Artist or Artists in the industry are you inspired most by and why?

O’neill – Jeff Buckeley, Areosmith, Carole King, Joni Mitchell. I love all of them for different reasons from songwriting, to vocal ability, to the way they emote. New ones include…Andy Shauf, Lucius, and Big Thief.

SMC – Many people can Google an individual to find out more about their background, but we like to ask this question in our interviews: can you tell us 5 things about yourself that no one (or barely anyone) knows about you?

O’neill – I love God, Coffee, my husband, my family, I love listening / talking through stuff with people.. And obviously I love music and singing and songwriting… That’s 8 whoops…ha ha!

SMC – Where do you see your career in 6 months to a year from now?

O’neill –  I hope to be on tour seeing people singing along to songs I wrote… My dream is also to sing “Lucky” on dancing with the stars and Jimmy Fallon. Ha ha!

SMC – Are there any other projects you have coming up that you can tell us about?

O’neill – This is my main focus right now… But I do have a side project with two of my songwriting friends that may be released somewhat soon 😉

SMC – Alright, final question – Can you tell us five things in your life at present you are grateful for and why?

O’neill – God, my husband, my family, friends and my first song “Lucky” being out… I am truly so Lucky and blessed.

Thank-you Paris! We look forward to supporting you on our SMC SPOTLIGHT platform and we wish you a world of success in your new venture as O’Neill Hudson!

O’neill Hudson
Photo by Lydia Murrty
Photo courtesy of: O’neill Hudson

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O’neill Hudson
‘Lucky’ Album cover by Lydia Murrty

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