PHOTO CREDIT: Samuel Foxton

 St. Bishop


HIS family know him as Stephen Bishop but, to us…



he is known as St. Bishop. I ask the Irish songwriter about his current song, Porcelain, and why it has such emotional resonance; how he started out in music - and whether coming out to his family was a tough experience. St. Bishop talks about his style and music and the artists that have been instrumental; what the music scene is like where he is - and whether there will be more material in the future.


Hi, Stephen. How are you? How has your week been?

Thanks for asking. I’m good.

It’s been a pretty busy week doing the last bit of prep. for the single release - but it’s been good. I have been living in Dublin full-time for over four years now and rarely get to go home to Monaghan to my parents’ house - but this week, I had a few days off and went back home and spent time with my family; so that was really nice.

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

Yeah, so, I’m St. Bishop. I am an Alt-R&B artist based in Dublin. I have spent the last year-and-a-half writing, recording and developing my sound with producer Sean Behan from A Place Called Kai.

Talk to me about the name, ‘St. Bishop’. Is there a story behind that?

When I first started gigging my own material, I used the name 'BISHOP’ (which is my surname). I started working with a band when I was in my second year of college. But, after a few months, we parted ways and then I began working with Sean Behan - and joined his independent label A Place Called Kai. I then changed the name to St. Bishop.

There is not much of story to the name except that it’s my own name - just without a few of the letters – and, also, 'St. Bishop' makes me sound way cooler than just 'Stephen Bishop'.



I am interested in the new single, Porcelain. Is there an inspiration that led to its creation?

I wrote Porcelain, not long after coming out to my family and friends. For me, it’s the boldest statement I could make about my sexuality. Its lyrical content and emotion is inspired by my struggle with self-acceptance issues. I found the shift from adolescence to adult life quite difficult; so, I guess calling myself 'porcelain white’ is a reference to my youth and innocence - which can’t last forever and is tainted in the chorus with the unreserved expression of my sexual desire.

It was the marriage of these two ideas that created this song.

How instrumental has your coming-out been to your songwriting and writing the material you do at the moment? Was it an emotional time – revealing your homosexuality to your family?

For me, songwriting is an incredibly therapeutic process: there is nothing better than down at the piano and pouring out all of the mess that’s inside your head; it not only helps my own mental health but also has the potential to help others when they hear the song. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me. Before I came out, I tended to not write songs that were about my own life: I would shy away from being honest in my songwriting as I knew I wasn’t being honest with myself.

Like, before I came out, I would write songs where the counterpart was female - knowing fine well that I was gay.  After coming out, I was more comfortable with myself and began to write about personal experiences. This enabled me to come to terms with a lot of self-acceptance issues I’ve had.

Coming out to my family was a really lovely experience. I was really nervous but it was actually great. I’m incredibly lucky as I have such a loving and caring family. Everyone was just really happy for me. When I look back I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner but, then, I guess I just wasn’t ready to do it when I was younger.


PHOTO CREDIT: Samul Foxton

It seems you have taken a positive approach to your sexuality – celebrating it rather than shying away. Do you feel, in society and music, there is still a lack of compassion and understanding?

For the majority of my life, I have shied away from my sexuality but, since coming out, I have just embraced it. To me, it’s only one part of my life and is just a fact about me. The same way I have brown hair or have blue eyes – it’s just thing that makes me who I am. I feel that a large part of society embrace individuality and are really open-minded when it comes to sexuality. Obviously, there are those who don’t - but I try to not focus on that. It was the passing of the marriage equality referendum in Ireland that made me realise how many people don’t actually care - and just want people to be happy and live their own lives.

So, that’s pretty awesome.


PHOTO CREDIT: Samuel Foxton

Are you inspired by modern R&B/Electro artists? What artists can we find on your playlist right now?

Yes. I am incredibly inspired by R&B/Electronic artists. It’s my favourite kind of music to listen to, which is good, because it’s the kind of music I write. Currently, I have been listening to a lot of Will Heard, NAO and Daniel Caesar. I also have been listening to a lot of Irish artists such as Jafaris, Wyvern Lingo; LAOISE and Rosie Carney (to name a few).

Did you grow up in a musical household? How early did music come into your life?

My first memory of music coming into my life was when I was about nine or ten when I sang a solo in a school play. I have one brother and one sister who both are very musical. Growing up we all sang and were involved with music, especially in secondary-school. They are both incredible singers and musicians.

Mam and Dad claim responsibility for our musical talents but I’m not sure where they came from to be honest - as neither of my parents are musicians. Having said this, music was always playing in my house when growing up. My parents both have great taste in music.

Leonard Cohen, Tracey Chapman and Norah Jones were the soundtracks to most car journeys as a child.


PHOTO CREDIT: Samul Foxton

Being based in Ireland; how much exposure to great venues and local artists do you have? Do you get the opportunity to bring your material to a variety of audiences?

The Irish music scene is thriving at the moment. It’s incredibly inspiring. I debuted at Electric Picnic this year, which was deadly. It was so cool to see my name on the same bill as so many awesome Irish artists. I have only begun gigging but I am so excited to take my music to different parts of the country/world and share it a variety of audiences.

Can we expect an E.P. at any point? What are you working on right now?

Yeah, so, as I said; I have worked with Sean for about a year-and-a-half and, in that time, we have recorded a good few songs, I have plans for future releases but am unsure if I will release them as a collection of songs or just as singles. I guess time will tell.

But, for now, my first single is finally out and I am really excited to share more songs/stories with people.


IN THIS PHOTO: Farah Ellie/PHOTO CREDITTara Thomas Photography

Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?

From studying in BIMM, you’re exposed to so much music and become friends with so many artists. My current favourites are:

Rosie Carney, Ailbhe Reddy; Maria Kelly, LAOISE and Farah Elle (ladies; y’all are killing it).


IN THIS PHOTO: Ailbhe Reddy/PHOTO CREDIT: @keithoreillly

If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?

That’s a tough one but I’d say NAO For All We Know; Adele 21 and Gregory PorterLiquid Spirit

When I find an album I like, I tend to listen to it every day for weeks/months on end. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve played these records. Each of these artists has massively influenced my songwriting/vocals.

What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?

I think the most important thing is to just work really hard. Don’t do things by halves: take risks and believe in yourself. It’s a scary career path but, if it’s something you want to do, just do it and don’t be apologetic.

Where can we see you play this year? What dates do you have coming up?

I’m playing some really nice shows this year. I have two stripped back gigs coming up: Sin É – 25th October and Crow Club 9th November. I have started planning a really special gig in the New Year - and I am so excited for it.

It’s gonna be sweet.


PHOTO CREDIT: Samul Foxton

Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already or will you be busy working?

I have no definite plans for Christmas, except spending time with family and friends and eating loads of food. That’s what Christmas is all about. I will also be working over Christmas and prepping for 2018.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae (it’s an absolute tune)


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