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Sixteen years after his first acting job, Hansard was asked to be in another film.
This time, it was his former bandmate in The Frames, John Carney, who was working on Once—a musical love story about two Irish buskers in Dublin.
Working on the album with The National’s Thomas Bartlett gave Hansard the extra drive he needed at just the right time.
But Hansard stepped in—although acting wasn’t his chosen forté.
And then the real life love affair of Hansard and Irglova began. The two split shorty after winning the Best Song award at the Oscars for their track “Falling Slowly.” As an independent film shot on a small budget, Once became an unexpected indie favorite on the back of its undeniable charm and beautifully vulnerable music.
But the difficulty he experienced this time around turned into a hard-fought journey.“The recording process for this record was maybe the most difficult I’ve ever had,” he says.
“For this record, I spent more time on the songwriting than ever before. I did my best to get myself out of the way and let the words do the work.
Busking introduced him to a new circle of people—artists, singers, fellow musicians and songwriters.