Meet John O’Regan, a brave and bold musician, known on stage by the name Diamond Rings. The gender-bending music prodigy from Oshawa, Ontario just released his second full-length album Free Dimensional, the follow-up to 2011’s Special Affections.
His Facebook Page describes him as “an extra personal emotional outlet.” When asked about the name, he says that it depends on who
“[Diamond Rings] comes from my desire to embrace my own multifacetedness, as an artist … every angle is different,” said O’Regan.
This musical diversity is strongly reflected in his final product. At one moment you may experience a strong ‘80s vibe in “Show Me Your Stuff”, while “Something Else” jumps you into an upbeat indie-rock psyche. “I’m Just Me” is pure electronic euphoria. He borrows elements from various genres and blends them all into his own masterpiece.
His lyrics invite you to listen to what he feels, giving his music an element of intimacy. Thus, it’s not surprising that he composes his songs in his makeshift bedroom studio in Toronto, or that he feels it contributes to his creative process.
“My music style transcends genres,” said O’Regan. “Some people call it pop, a term that’s fairly broad. Mine is unique within the umbrella [of pop]. My music is ultimately the listener’s responsibility to judge.”
When asked what music influences him, he’ll give you a friendly disclaimer of a long list, including Kraftwerk, Kylie Minogue and Nirvana. He says he truly values the importance of being exposed to various kinds of music in his life.
“Growing up in the suburbs allowed me to appreciate the opportunity to explore as an artist,” said O’Regan. “I don’t take it for granted. That personifies what I am. Music plays an important role; remembering where I have been and where I am going.”
He first went solo with the release of his first single, “All Yr Songs” in 2009. When asked how he conquered fear to perform as a solo musician, he said that fear motivates him to be a brave musician and a brave person.
“You have to embrace [fear],” said O’Regan. “If I’m not scared, I’m not pushing myself enough. The element of fear is an emotion that can sometimes spark something really awesome.”
And it shows well in his persona as a performer on stage, where he encourages people to go beyond the norm.
“A large part of what I do transcends what often exists between male and female,” explained O’Regan. “As humans, we don’t allow ourselves to explore who we are.”
As an artist, O’Regan loves to perform on stage, because — as he says — it’s what he is.
“Music is being yourself, if you can harness that fear and use it to your advantage … It’s inside everything,” said O’Regan. “That’s what Diamond Rings is all about.”
Diamond Rings will be performing at La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent) on Dec. 6. For more information visit diamondringsmusic.com/events