Cian Ducrot’s life, family, and upbringing are deeply intertwined with the songs that make up his debut album. “I wanted to tell the story of my life and for people to get to know who I am and what I’ve been through,” the Cork-born singer-songwriter tells Apple Music. “I wanted it to be the first few chapters of an autobiography.” Writing from raw, personal experience is the only way the Irishman knows. Throughout Victory, Ducrot reflects on his childhood and growing up in a broken home, an abusive father, and the tight unit he formed with his mother and brother as they pieced their lives back together, with contemplations on love, relationships, pain, and healing along the way. Victory is a poignant, stirring set that takes in wistful ballads, soaring modern pop, and electronic flourishes—with Ducrot’s soulful, uplifting croon at the center of it all. “I was very keen on it being very broad in terms of the style of the record,” says Ducrot. “I went through a songwriter-y phase at first, whether it was Ed Sheeran’s first album or Hozier or The Script and Jeff Buckley, then there was a lot of Coldplay and then a lot of hip-hop, Stormzy and Jack Harlow, just getting influenced by stuff that I love.” Here, he guides us through Victory, track by track. “Victory” “It made sense to open with this one. It felt like the meaning of the song encompassed a lot of the tracks. ‘Victory’ means a lot of things to me in reference to the album itself: to making an album to my life, to the story of my life, to the things I’ve been through, to inspire others to achieve their own victories, to believe in themselves. I wanted to make something that helped other people realize that it’s important to celebrate your victories and to name them and to look at them and to be thankful.” “I’ll Be Waiting” “This was a song that changed things for me, something I never really expected. I think a lot of people have related to it for many different reasons. For me, it’s a song I wrote about my childhood, based around a memory of waiting for my dad to come pick me up and him not coming. I remember that day being a very specific moment in my life. That feeling, as a kid, of being upset and let down but then also knowing as you grew up, that that person was a bad person. As I got older, I wanted to validate those feelings: I knew that, as a kid, it was totally fine to feel let down and to feel sad about my dad.” “Him” “As you get older, you notice a lot of people go through similar situations in their life and it reminds you of your own life. No matter how much someone we love hurts us, we could easily be like, ‘I would do anything to still have you back,’ and ‘Him’ is written from that place. I think so many of us have been in that place. It’s opening up and admitting that sense of desperation that you have in those situations, even when you know that person isn’t right for you.” “Heaven” “This is a song I wrote for my brother. I knew I wanted to write a song for [him] and I knew I wanted to write something anthemic—that I could hear people singing in a stadium, just really chanty and euphoric. It was a thank you to my brother, a song that he could listen to and that I could play for him. With that song, I’d be able to say thank you for everything [he] did for me and for being there when we were younger. He was always there.” “How Do You Know” “I wrote this with some friends sitting around a campfire in my garden. It’s a song analyzing how you don’t really know you’re living in the good times until they have passed. Then you look back one day, a year or two or 10 later, and you think to yourself, ‘It’d be so fun to go back there, just for a little while, to live that again.’ It’s a song talking about those times, but then also asking, ‘How do you know that these are the moments? How do we remind ourselves and how do we make sure we take them in?’” “All for You” “For me, this song has a lot of meanings and I haven’t ever really spoken about what they all are—it’s one I wanted to leave open to people. I think all that I really ever say about that is: There are many situations in your life where you feel you could’ve done more or you would’ve said something more or you would’ve called around to that person’s house one more time. There are many times where you lose someone in some certain way and you look back and you just wish that you had even one more day, a little bit more time, or you had just done more for that person. Or done more to change things.” “Step Dad” “This is a song I wrote for my stepdad and a reflection on how difficult it must have been for him as a stepdad coming into the situation that he did—into my family, into our life, with everything that was going on at that time. For many reasons, it was a very difficult time and it was a very complicated, difficult situation for him. Our relationship is really strong and I wanted to write a song thanking him and also showing that I understood how difficult it must have been. And that I was just really grateful that he stuck around and grateful for everything he did. And that I don’t take it for granted.” “Mama” “Obviously a song for my mum. I notice her struggling to come to terms with everything that happened when we were growing up. It’s taken her a lot to heal. As we were kids, she put most of her energy into me and my brother and healing us and making us better. She locked a lot of what she was going through away in the back of her mind, to the point where she nearly forgot a lot of it. It was a long time before she was able to process it herself and open up those wounds. It was just a song to say thank you to her and also just to say that I couldn’t have done it without her. And just that I hope she’s processing it, that I’m here, that I just want her to be better, and that I basically owe everything to her.” “Hurt When You Hurt Me” “This is really emotional. I just remember hearing somebody say, ‘If you really love me, it would hurt when you hurt me,’ and I was just like, ‘Wow. That’s deep. That’s so true.’ I wrote that down and I had it saved for a long time. Then I sat down with a friend and we started writing the song together. All those lyrics are about ‘you’re the one who I’d trade in all my talent [for], I’d trade all my fame in just to be with you, I thought we’d be getting married and I thought you’d be the one who changes my whole life […].’ Then sometimes, it just doesn’t turn out that way.” “Blame It on You” “This was a song that came [from] one of the first times I saw my mum after the lockdown and the pandemic. It had been nearly two years and we spent some time together in London. Me and my mum, we’re obviously really, really close. I was just really set back from how much she was still affected by everything that went on when we were younger and everything from my family, my dad, the abuse, and how much she blamed herself. Me and my brother would always tell her that it was not her fault. I felt that she had moved on, and she obviously hadn’t. She just kept blaming herself over and over again and she still probably to this day blames herself. It made me angry that she could feel that way—and that somebody could make her feel that way. That after all the horrible things my dad did, my mum was the one blaming herself when it’s the last thing she should be doing because she is such an amazing mum. I wanted to write a song for her to be like, ‘Just please stop blaming yourself. There’s no need. It’s not your fault.’ That was one of those songs that I just had to write. It was just in me, burning up.” “Endless Nights” “‘Endless Nights’ is one that I wrote early on, in between writing ‘All for You’ and ‘I’ll Be Waiting,’ all written at the same piano in my old kitchen. I had gathered a huge collection of phrases or sayings that I really liked. Then, one day, I decided to put them into a rhyming order and stick them together into some lyrics and this story opened itself up to me. A lot of the time, I naturally write in 6/8, and I had written all these songs and when I sent them to my publisher, her only remark was, ‘You should stop writing songs in 6/8.’ I was a bit pissed off, so almost as a comeback, I sat down and wrote the most four-to-the-floor song.” “Part of Me” “I wrote this for my best friend who took his life a couple of years ago. He was a musician and an amazing guy. I knew I wanted to write [this song] from the moment I lost him, but it took a really long time until I figured out what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it. Then, really randomly, all the lyrics very poetically fell out, and I don’t really know where it came from, but it was a really important song to put out, and I know it’s helped a lot of people. I need to put this song out in the world because it’s such an important topic to talk about and sing about. Hopefully it’ll help somebody out there.” “Everyone Who Falls in Love (Has Someone Else They’re Thinking Of)” “You realize when you get older that when you enter relationships, people are always affected by their past relationships—everyone has this history and a past. You might be expected by the other half to be fine, to be ready to jump into a relationship and fall in love and everything’s going to be great. Sadly, people have those scars and baggage and that person that still hurts them. I was just thinking, everyone who falls in love has someone else they’re thinking of. That’s where that lyric came from. It goes through all these different emotions that you have when you enter new relationships. And, as those develop, that dance between the past and the present.” ”Thank God You Stayed” “This ties in pretty well to ‘Everyone Who Falls in Love…’ When you begin a relationship, everyone is always the best version of themselves but sadly, that’s not realistic. Nobody is always the best version of themselves. Every relationship has its ups and downs. I’m the first person to say that I’m not easy to be in a relationship with. It was one of those things of realizing how lucky you are when you meet somebody who loves you enough, and that you love enough, that no matter what, you’ll just stay. I think that’s what love is about, the true sign of real love, and it felt nice closing the album with that. I’m just lucky that I have you and it’s as simple as that.”

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