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Rock icon Singer Declan O'Rourke reveals how 'Modfather' Paul Weller ended up producing his new record

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MUSIC Weller 1...Undated Handout Photo of Paul Weller. See PA Feature MUSIC Weller. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Weller....F

MUSIC Weller 1...Undated Handout Photo of Paul Weller. See PA Feature MUSIC Weller. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Weller....F

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MUSIC Weller 1...Undated Handout Photo of Paul Weller. See PA Feature MUSIC Weller. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Weller....F

ROCK legend Paul Weller has been a long-time fan of Declan O'Rourke - now he's produced the Irish singer songwriter's new album set for release in February.

'The Modfather' Weller became a fan of O'Rourke after hearing his biggest hit, Galileo.

The British music icon described Galileo as "possibly the greatest song written in the last 30 years."

Weller loved the song so much he contacted Declan and asked him to be his support act at a London show.

O'Rourke admits he wasn't aware of Weller's own musical history.

"I knew the name, but I couldn't name a song of his," he says. "But when I went over and did his show I was amazed how many songs I knew, so I'm a fan since."

This is the first time that O'Rourke has brought in a producer to work on a new album.

"I co-produce it," Weller says. "I was just there to assist, oversee, that sort of thing."

Declan admits it was his idea to approach Weller. "I had the idea," he says. "I never really worked with a producer before, but I was coming to the stage where I liked the idea.

"Some of my friends said, 'You are unproducable because you know what you want too much, and who would you listen to?'"

Weller has produced many artists in his career, but he jumped at the opportunity to work with O'Rourke.

The new album, Arrivals, was recorded over six days in Surrey, and O'Rourke says that Weller was total hands-on with the project.

"He was there every moment, before, during and long after, discussing ideas about this and that, even down to the artwork. It was hugely impressive," Declan says.

Weller also adds his multi-instrumental abilities to the recordings, including a beautiful piano accompaniment to the closing track.

The sound on Arrivals is stripped back to Declan's soulful voice and the virtuosic acoustic guitar playing for which he's renowned.

"I recently played Arrivals to a cousin of mine; she used to come and see me all the time in the early days when I'd play - just me and the guitar - at open mic nights.

"This album, she said, led her to feel that in many ways people were going to hear me for the first time. That made a lot of sense to me."

Now living in Galway, O'Rourke reveals that his classic 2004 song, Galileo, which has been recorded by Eddi Reader and Josh Groban amongst others, hasn't given him a massive cash injection.

"I haven't got a penny from it directly, believe it or not," Declan told Shuffle, explaining that he still owes money from a publishing advance he received for his first record.

"It [Galileo] has certainly knocked a good chunk off it, but there's a substantial way to go before I clear it," he adds.

"But that song is my calling card. It really has opened up doors for me around the world. People in the music business don't take risks these days, so having success with Galileo has definitely helps me when I mention it."

O'Rourke says that his new album is his most personal to date and it's heavily influenced by family.

"It [family] is at the heart of everything for me," Declan acknowledges. "I know situations for some people are different, but for myself, family is the well, the source.

"When all is said and done, your family and those around you are the most important things in the world."

Set to be launched at a time when the world is coping with a pandemic, Arrivals is also his most political and humanitarian release.

"We all feel very strongly about various aspects of what is happening in the world right now, and I don't know if I ever managed to speak my mind well about them before. I am fascinated by the past, but these times are so engaging, compelling, however, that I've been pulled into the present."

H DECLAN O'Rourke's new single, The Harbour, is out now. His Arrivals album is available to preorder at https://lnk.to/DOR-Arrivals

Showbiz Editor Eddie Rowley

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