aka Sean James Donnelly, The Purple People Eater

We’re not exactly short of fine singer-songwriters in New Zealand, but Sean James Donnelly is the best example of a breed of songwriters who are just as at home with synthetic textures and subtly original structures as organic instrumentation and traditional song form.

Emerging from obscurity in the late 1990s as an idiosyncratic electronic artist, SJD (Sean James Donnelly) went on to confound his ardent fan base and staunchest critics by evolving into one of our finest songwriters, winning major awards along the way and becoming a trusted collaborator with first division legends Don McGlashan and Neil Finn.

SJD with The Pajama Club
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
Tree People
Superman You're Crying (live at Radio NZ, July 2015)
Stinky Jim and SJD, 2007
Photo credit: Photo by Andrew Dubber
Making Music - SJD (2005)
Superman You're Crying - Radio New Zealand session (July 2015)
SJD - Miniatures 1
Inside SJD's West Auckland HQ
SJD and Julia Deans in a 2017 promotional photo.
Make Love Ask Questions Later
SJD, The Bads and Mulholland at The King's Arms, March 2014
Lava Lamp
SJD - I Wanna Be Foolish (2014, directed by Greg Page)
SJD's Lost Soul Music from 2003
SJD - Southern Lights (Kid Loco Remix)
Saint John Divine, released in March 2015
SJD - A Boy
Sean Donnelly, 2011
Photo credit: Photo by Deborah Smith
The Witness
Sean Donnelly at Auckland's Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Lopdell House, Titirangi, 2015
SJD - Superman You're Crying (from the album Southern Lights, 2004)
SJD - The Corner at Half-Five
SJD - Rising Falling Rising
Bad Karma In Yokohama
Little Pieces (2015)
Cartoon Villains
I Wrote This Song For You
Beautiful Haze
Baby You're Oh So

Sean James Donnelly - multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, vocals, bass


Round Trip Mars


Donnelly’s Taite Music Prize win in April 2013 included a heavy trophy and $10,000 in cash.

Funded by

Partners with