Organic and home-grown

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A homegrown muso is heading south for his debut album release tour.

Ciaran McMeeken, who was born  in  Arrowtown but is now based in Auckland, says his eponymous album has a mix of influences including rock, blues and soul.

It goes on sale today.

Ciaran McMeeken follows 2014’s Screaming Man EP, which was recorded in a farm house in Catlins’ Owaka.

One tune, City, got a truck-load of airtime and helped secure him as a household name in New Zealand.

The singer-songwriter reckons the new album, which took a month to produce in the studio, shows how much he’s grown up musically.

One track, Which Way Shall We Go?, is a nod to his Otago roots.

It’s the album’s first single.

The lyrics were prompted by his youth – hot, sunny day-trips to Lake Hayes or cruising around Cardrona Valley and Wanaka.

That Feeling was crafted with the help of American producer MoZella, who’s penned hits for Ellie Goulding, One Direction and Miley Cyrus.

Spanish Steps, a ballad and the last track, is his fave.

He started out with more than 50 tunes.

This was whittled down to 17 in the studio and 12 tracks made the cut.

Choosing was hard.

“It is not just about the best songs but what songs go well together and what really makes the album,” McMeeken says.

“I’m really proud of this album and so much has been gone into it with a lot of different people and I am just blooming happy with it.”

It’s been produced by Greg Haver — who notably worked with Brit band Manic Street Preachers.

McMeeken: “We wanted to keep it really old school. We didn’t want any electronic elements or any fancy editing or magic involved with the recording.

“We kept it simple with real instruments and real musicians playing the songs. No fancy stuff. I love the electronic world but it was really refreshing using those organic [elements].”

Some tracks are about love, others about family or his introspective thoughts — McMeeken describes it as a journey.

The album is guitar-heavy with distinctive riffs.

The 25-year-old has had an impressive 12 months.

He opened for Ronan Keating last year and joined country music star Kaylee Bell on stage when she opened for American big-hitters Dixie Chicks.

McMeeken: “It’s a good signpost as it shows you are on the right track … but also where you need to improve. Being on stage in an arena full of people, I realised how much work is needed to really connect with that amount of people.

“It is a whole different ball-game and that is my next mission; to really become a master of that and authentically connect with an arena or festival full of people.”

He’s never ‘properly’ played Queenstown and is stoked to be returning home.

“I’m like a bull at a gate itching to get out there and play.”

Catch Ciaran McMeeken, The Sherwood, tomorrow, 8pm. Tickets $20

louises@scene.co.nz