Professor launches new album to raise funds for Friends of the Cancer Centre

It’s been an intense, busy month in lockdown for Belfast-based Professor Joe O’Sullivan. As a Consultant Prostate Cancer Oncologist at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Queen’s University Belfast, and a recognised world expert on prostate cancer – it might come as a surprise to many people including Professor O’Sullivan’s patients, that the Oncologist is also a successful singer-songwriter with two original albums under his belt. Now the Professor will release a brand new album of original songs ‘Instead of Many Shades of Blue’ on May 1st with all proceeds going to Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Joe recorded the album in Belfast late last year and had planned to release in early March. However that was before we knew about COVID 19. Since mid-February, Joe, along with his colleagues in the Cancer Centre, has been busy planning how to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the cancer population.

Patients with cancer have been severely affected by the COVID crisis with many treatments on hold or delayed, and most consultations now being by phone rather than face to face. Friends of the Cancer Centre continues to provide support to our local cancer patients and once we get through the crisis, cancer patients and their families will need more help than ever. Like all charities, Friends of the Cancer Centre has been impacted by COVID-19, with our fundraising events being postponed or cancelled as a result of the lockdown. While continuing to work hard with his team at the Cancer Centre, the Professor felt that the time was now right to release his album in order to help raise vital funds and also awareness of the challenges facing cancer patients and their families during the pandemic.

Joe’s previous two albums: ‘Take A Deep Breath’ (2015) and ‘Another Light’ (2017) both helped raise an amazing £10,000 for Friends of the Cancer Centre, which puts over £1 million back into local cancer services across Northern Ireland every year. The charity is close to Joe’s heart, as we are dedicated to making a difference to local people through our vital work, which includes funding specialist nurses, supporting cancer research and providing practical support, such as financial grants, which can help families through a difficult time.

His new album ‘Instead of Many Shades of Blue’ contains lyrics inspired by true events, and is described as a personal collection of the singer-songwriter’s journey over the last few years with heartbreak and new love as key themes to his songs. The unifying message of the album is that it is possible to change. Joe says. “What better time than during the lockdown is there to consider positive change in our own lives and in society generally”.

Stripped back instrument arrangements on the album allow the emotions of every song to be felt by the listener. Joe’s vocal performance on the album is outstanding and he is joined by son Oisín (16) on backing vocals, and a three-piece backing band consisting of Lyn McMullan drums/percussion, Sam Davidson lead guitar and Albert Mills bass guitar. The album was recorded in Belfast at the end of last year and produced by Rocky O’Reilly at Start Together Studios.

Joe spoke of his third album ahead of the release saying “During this COVID-19 lockdown, I’ve always been thinking of brighter days ahead, and for me, the ‘Instead of Many Shades of Blue’ album has been keeping me positive. I think we all need creativity to get through this crisis together. I really hope people enjoy these new songs.”

“With my day job being extremely busy, and with many added worries and pressures during this lockdown, I find it all very rewarding to know our patients are cared for and safe at this time. It has also given me a focus to develop my songwriting skills, which I hope in turn will raise a lot more money for Friends of the Cancer Centre.”

Professor Joe O’Sullivan’s brand new album ‘Instead of Many Shades of Blue’ is available now. You can buy it online from our website here with all proceeds going to support Friends of the Cancer Centre’s work.

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