SJD Profile

aka Sean James Donnelly, The Purple People Eater
Gary Steel
28 May 2013

We’re not exactly short of fine singer-songwriters in New Zealand, but Sean James Donnelly is the best example of a new 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 a quirky 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.

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

Round Trip Mars


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


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