Sean James Donnelly, better known to indie and electronica fans by his now iconic initials SJD, first threw his hat into the ring of Auckland's notoriously inventive music scene with the record 3.
Shortly thereafter establishing what would be a long and fruitful relationship with the Round Trip Mars label, SJD began working on the follow-up record Lost Soul Music, which was released in March of 2001. Though these first two records made SJD something of a grassroots hero lurking in the corners and shadows of New Zealand airplay charts, his third release launched his career to new heights; he became an internationally recognized, albeit unlikely pop hero. Southern Lights was released in 2004 with distribution through Universal NZ, reaching a wide audience and winning numerous awards, including being named Album of the Year by the New Zealand Herald. Topping independent sales charts for better than two months, with Southern Lights SJD turned a corner as an artist, from struggling to viable. The intermediary years that separated Southern Lights and the album that would follow were filled with regional touring and invitations for collaboration. Having earned a reputation as a creative and sensitive producer, SJD was solicited to co-produce Don McGlashan's Warm Hand album, a popular release by one of New Zealand's most acclaimed song writers. With the help of an NZOA (New Zealand On Air) grant, SJD went to work on his fourth release, Songs from a Dictaphone, which was released in July of 2007. Notably colorful and danceable, SJD's fourth time out simultaneously plays with dark, biblical themes and synth-soaked '80s nostalgia. His second record to receive major-label support, Songs from a Dictaphone enjoyed an immediate presence in New Zealand press and on national charts. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi