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.

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

Round Trip Mars


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


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

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