Daisy O’Connor is back with Do Be Do

by Bennett Hanson

An up-and-comer in the cutthroat Austin, Texas music scene, Daisy O’Connor’s roots reach back to a small farmhouse just north of Bellingham. Boasting a pleasant sing-along voice, a delightfully quirky nature and a knack for songwriting and storytelling, Daisy is sure to rise from her start of selling sheep to buy her first guitar to folk-pop star in the years ahead.

Daisy’s EP, Do Be Do, is a tasteful example of Americana folk-pop. The songs depict the ups and downs of rural American life – aged pickup trucks, Miller Lite and Walker Texas Ranger, alongside mega-churches and Wal-Marts. But Daisy doesn’t stop there. She also sings about love, love gone awry and themes of empowerment inspired by her time as a social worker.

“I’ve been writing a lot about my experiences with changing my direction and perspective,” Daisy said. The song-writing process helped unravel a religious side and documented her time as a social worker, activist and feminist, she said.

Growing up on the outskirts of Custer, and homeschooled, Daisy saw a whole new world when she started  Whatcom Community College at age 16. She later attended Fairhaven College and graduated with a self-made major titled “Activism and advocacy for LGBT people and women through law and politics.”

Daisy then took up a job at a domestic violence and sexual assault prevention office in Skagit County, where she operated a 24-hour hotline for women in distress.

“I’m really inspired by women – I’ve written many love songs about women,” Daisy said. “I’m exploring with how I can uplift the feminists, how I can uplift the environment, say something positive and share the feelings of love that I have.”

One way that she incorporates all her interests is by spending time at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, where she sings to people passing by on the trails and writes new songs inspired by the area, said Daisy. She also attends songwriting conferences to really milk the vibrant music scent that Austin has to offer. Currently, she’s building up her catalogue, song by song.

“I’m working on writing a song a week to prepare for my first full-length album,” Daisy said. She hopes to have about 50 songs – new and old – to choose from in honing her debut album, which she hopes to release in 2016. Daisy picked up the one-song-a-week bug from her friend, and current Austin/former county resident, Shawnee Kilgore who has hundreds of songs. “Basically, I’m just trying to keep up.”

In her first year as a full-time artist, Daisy has managed to achieve quite a bit on her own. “On top of being a total DIY artist – booking my own shows, hiring my band, doing all of the details – I’m writing my own songs and trying to have quality-control over the process,” she said. “Everything in my life has been like flying blind but trusting your gut and going for it.”

While Daisy focuses on creating music and shows, she also recently helped organize a benefit show for flood relief in Austin, which has been considered a disaster area since flooding over Memorial Day weekend. A friend of Daisy’s was in the area and survived, though the girl’s friends perished in the flood. Within two days, Daisy helped secure a major venue in Austin and booked the Grammy-nominated artist Eliza Gilkyson and a bunch of other badasses to play, she said, raising $8,000.

LIVE SHOWS: See Daisy O’Connor perform at The Conway Muse on Aug. 20, and The Green Frog on Aug. 22. For more information, see www.daisydobedo.com.

“I’m looking forward to the Northwest tour, which is the direction I’m guessing the spotlight will go.”

 COURTESY PHOTO

Published in the August 2015 issue of What’s Up!