10 QUICK FACTS:
1. Signed to Sony Music Australia
2. Recent recipient of the 2012 CMAA New Talent of The Year Award (the equivalent of the CMA Horizon Award, Keith Urban won this in 1991)
3. In Feb 2013, they wrapped up a National sold out Australian Tour with Sir Cliff Richard.
4. O’SHEA have their own show on Australian TV called, “O’SHEA USA” and have just entered into their 4th season!
5. Debut Album, “Mr. and Mrs.” spawned 4 consecutive #1s. The only debut from an Australian artist to achieve this in the history of the CMC charts.
6. Their current album, One + One debuted at #3 on the ARIA County Charts and cracked the top 30 on the all genre chart and so far has clocked up 3 #1 singles!
7. Individually they’ve toured with everyone from INXS, Keith Urban, John Farnham, Jimmy Barnes, Phil Vassar, Hall & Oates, The Oakridge Boys, America, Darius Rucker, Sara Evans and more.
8. They are part of the Tourism Australia initiative, “Friends of Australia” alongside Academy Award winning Director, Baz Lurmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet), Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone, The Wiggles, Lance Armstrong and Sir Richard Branson.
9. They are Ambassadors for World Vision.
10. They recently won Best Group or Duo at the 2014 CMAA Awards!
THE FULL BIO:
There’s power to be found in the tension between opposites – in darkness and light, good and evil, love found and love lost. Country duo O’Shea are particularly fond of the inspiration brought forth by the polarizing nature of love, especially on their latest album The Famine and the Feast.
The Famine and the Feast, which releases via Sony Music Entertainment on January 16, 2015, is a twelve-song collection from the husband and wife team of Mark and Jay O’Shea that spans the full range of emotions experienced in love and heartbreak. From the “what ifs” of “Here I Am”, co-written with Nashville hit maker Tim Nichols (Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill) to the sweet stability of the lead single “Bad Day Good,” which features 4 time Grammy Award winner, Steve Wariner, The Famine and the Feast shows O’Shea at their most vulnerable and, as such, at their best.
“Between the writing and recording of these songs, I must have cried about 20 times,” says Jay. “In the past I would have put that down to being overly emotional on account of being pregnant, but I can’t blame it on that this time! These songs are very personal and cut right to the bone.”
The Famine and the Feast is O’Shea’s third studio album as a duo and demonstrates the remarkable growth as musicians the two have made since releasing Mr and Mrs in 2011. The track “Family Is Everything” is a very open and honest exploration of the unbreakable bonds between family members and was co-written with one of Nashville’s preeminent songsmiths, Billy Burnette. “Parade,” co-written with Shaye Smith and featuring trumpet from Keith Smith (known for his work with Jack White), is a New Orleans-tinged ode to the kind of days where you just want to get up and dance.
In addition to taking great strides lyrically, O’Shea pushed themselves musically, with Mark, especially, playing a wide range of instruments, including electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ganjo and mandolin. The bracing vocal harmonies on “Alone” are set off by a gentle string quartet that builds to a crescendo before song’s end, the track illustrating the importance of love and companionship throughout life’s journey. The heartbreaking message of “Sorry I Was Right” is made all the more powerful with somber piano and Jay’s angelic voice.
“The Truth Walks Slowly,” co-written by and featuring iconic Australian songwriters Rob Hirst, tells the story of a farmer and his unwavering commitment to the land, despite hardship and the temptation to sell for a quick buck. In a reunion of sorts, Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman completes the rhythm section on the track and the results are simply stunning. The duo co-produced the album with help from legendary producer Mark Moffatt (Tim Finn, The Saints) and super-musician Ilya Toshinsky (Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves, Dolly Parton).
“Being surrounded by such amazing musicians in Nashville is always inspiring and makes you want to try new things,” adds Mark. “We chose the kind of musicians for this record that had country roots, but were willing to take some chances both musically and instrumentation wise and we’re all very happy and excited by the results.”
Although together romantically since 1996 and celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary in December, Mark and Jay have only been playing music together since 2007, when the couple moved to Nashville, TN, to pursue their career in Music City. They’ve already had an impressive run in their seven years together: winning the Golden Guitar in 2012 for New Talent of the Year Award and again in 2014 for Group or Duo of the Year; serving as ambassadors for charitable organizations like World Vision and HeartKids, hosting the QANTAS in-flight radio show “Big Country,” and clocking up more than 6 number ones on the Aussie charts. Their Australian TV show O’SHEA USA has just been renewed for its fourth season.
Mark and Jay may come from different musical backgrounds, with Mark’s country rock roots providing contrast to Jay’s history as a “singer’s singer” and successful songwriter, but it’s those differences that make them such a powerful musical force. Like the contrasting feelings the two sing about on their upcoming record, Mark and Jay have found the beauty in their differences, making for an electric listening experience for the rest of us.