First Published January 2020
ALL GO FOR GLÓR TÍRE
By the time you get your first chance to read this column on Wednesday morning, Clara man ALEX ROE will have finally made his on-screen debut on the 2020 series of Glor Tire, which officially kicked-off last night on TG4. But when Alex and I sat down for a chat about his Glor Tire adventure so far – on what was a rare weekend night off for him last Saturday evening – that big moment was still ahead of him. As well-known and liked for his easy-going and relaxed manner off-stage as he is for having established himself as one of Irish country’s finest young voices over the last few years, I caught up with the Summer Time and In The Middle singer just before he headed out to chat to Kevin Lalor Fitzpatrick on Midlands 103.
Before we began our chat about all things Glor Tire related, I asked Alex how he’d enjoyed his Christmas?
“It was lovely, but very, very stressful! [laughs]. I had a lot of gigs on, I was out, I think, fourteen nights in a row. So I’m fairly tired now, and I actually took this weekend off. I’m just gonna lie down with my feet up on top of my dog, or something like that, and go to sleep for as long as I can! But I love Christmas as a musician, it’s a brilliant time of the year. And then to get this couple of weeks off in January is brilliant as well.”
And in those couple of weeks, one of the exciting things that will be happening is the first episodes of Glor Tire for the 2020 season will be broadcast. Those episodes were pre-recorded back in November. I wondered how was Alex feeling this week, knowing that the first time people would actually get to see him on the show is only a few days away now [at the time we spoke]?
“Well, I can’t really curse for the paper, I suppose, but I’m absolutely bricking it! [laughs]. To be honest! Glor Tire, and hopefully doing it some day, is just something that I’ve always talked about with friends, ourselves, with my partner Sinead, too. It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to be on. And to be honest as well, when it was announced that I was going to be on it, there was a little part of me that was like, ‘Oh s**t, am i ready for this, like?!’, ya know. And now that it’s here, I’m kinda like, ‘Oh s**t, am I ready for this?!’ [laughs]. But look, it’s incredible. It’s a dream come true for me. It will open so many doors in so many ways, for myself and my fellow contestants, not just me. It might even give me a bit of street-cred with some people on the country scene! [laughs].”
So where was Alex planning on watching the first show of the series on Tuesday night? At home with his folks, maybe? or with his girlfriend, Sinéad?
“If I told people where I was going to be watching it, they’d call me…all kinds of names! [laughs]. I’m going up to Dublin, me and Sinéad, for the night, and we’ll watch it up there in a hotel! And we’re getting a bottle of Domaine des Jeanne wine, you can look up the spelling for that one! [laughs]. We might even end up in Coppers! [laughs].”
With those first episodes recorded back in November, what’s it been like waiting for people to finally see those shows?
“It’s just about keeping the head occupied and not thinking about it. The more you think about it, the more you’ll be wondering, ‘Oh, did I say that wrong? Or do that wrong?’ Or whatever it might be. Did I feck up something somewhere, ya know? So you just have to try your best to get it out of your head. Now, I’m the worst person to even say that, because it’s always in my head! [laughs]. But if I was to give someone advice for next year, that’s what I’d advise them. It is stressful enough, knowing that you’re going to be on national television. It’s a bit nerve-wrecking, ya know, thinking to yourself, do I look fat in those trousers?! [laughs]. Do I look fat in that jacket?! Did I actually sing the wrong words to that song?! What are they saying to me in Irish?! [laughs].”
One of the things remarked by many who were there in the Quays in Galway when the first shows were recorded, was how comfortable Alex actually looked in that setting, and how easily he seemed to take it all in his stride…
“A lot of people said that to me, that I was very relaxed. They thought I seemed kind of at home there. But I was absolutely bricking it on the inside! [laughs]. I was on the verge of tears! [laughs]. Only that I had so many familiar faces there in front of me from all over Offaly, and even a few from Cavan came down – there was so many people there that I knew – if it wasn’t for all of them, I’d have been a mess!”
So now there’s another bit of a wait between these shows being broadcast, and the first of the ‘live’s shows early in March. How is Alex going to manage that time?
“I suppose the hardest thing will be not really knowing if you’re good or bad, what people are thinking of you at home. And not knowing what the other contestants are doing, ya know. At the end of the day, it is a competition. And you’ve got to have a plan for how you approach it. But really, it’s just about projecting your career to where you need to be. I probably shouldn’t worry about other people, but anyone that says they’re not is lying! [laughs].”
So in terms of plans for his campaign, what’s been happening with Alex already, and what’s coming up over the next few weeks and months?
“We have something coming up at the start of February, in Clara, so that’ll be a night-out, a bit of craic, a bit of a session. Everything will be revealed next week or the week after. I’d love to go back to my old primary school, and my old secondary school. Just because! They seem to do that on X-Factor, or Eurovision, or whatever is on! So I’m going to treat it like that! [laughs]. I just want to enjoy it all, really.”
The moment that Alex heard he was on this year’s Glor Tire for the first time, can he take us back there?
“I was in the music shop in Athlone, where I was actually working just there over the Christmas for a while as well, the Sound Factory with Benny. I was chatting away to him, and I was just about to buy a guitar. I was looking at one, but humming and hawing about it. The phone rang, and it was Paula from Glor Tire. I don’t know what was after happening that day, but I wasn’t in great form. She asked was this Alex, and I said it was, yeah, but I wasn’t my usual self! I was just like, ‘Yeah, hello?’ [laughs]. But when she said who she was, I was like, ‘Ohhhhhh Hiiiiiiii!’, straight into showbiz mode! [laughs]. When she told me that Trudi wanted to be my mentor, I mean…Trudi is an icon. She’s someone that people look up to, that people want to be like, because she’s done it all. That was a crazy moment!”
So how have Alex and Trudi been getting along, as mentor and contestant?
“It’s great! We’re very alike. We both know how we like things done, say, and if they’re not done like that…well, we wouldn’t get thick or anything…[laughs]. But we know how we want our careers to go. I’d like to think I know the path I want to take in music. Just like when she was starting off, she knew the path she needed to take it, and she took that path. And now she’s a country music superstar! So, I know the path I want to take, too, and hopefully it works out the same way for me. And I become a superstar! [laughs]. But in all seriousness, Trudi – and her manager, Billy – have been brilliant to me, in terms of advice, and always being there to answer questions that come up, and just checking in with me from time to time, too. One of her best bits of advice so far was to always play songs that I like. There’s no point in going up on stage and singing something that you don’t want to sing. Sing what you like. Sing what you’re comfortable singing. Be your own person.”
So for the rest of his career, away from and aside from Glor Tire, what is Alex planning next?
“There’s a new single on the way, we hope to have it out just before the ‘live’ shows in March, all going according to plan. If that doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out. If not then, then not long after that anyway. After that, we have some more pretty exciting things in the works, I just can’t say too much about them right now…but I’ll tell ya after! [laughs]. There’s also one of two big things…plans…in my head! It’s just about getting them out of my head and into the real world! [laughs]. My brain is constantly going with things like that. There’s some nights when I’d sit at home and an idea would come into my head, and I’d be thinking maybe that could work! So I’d put it in my notes, or send it over to Sinéad or something. Nine times out of ten, they may not be…realistic ideas! [laughs]. But that tenth time…! [laughs].”
~ Glor Tire is broadcast on TG4 every Tuesday evening. You can follow Alex on his Glor Tire journey on his official Facebook and Instagram.