We all know Kerry’s CAITRÍONA O’ SULLIVAN from her long-running role as a judge on TG4’s hit show Glór Tíre. But what some people may not be as aware of, however, is that the wealth of wisdom and advice which Caitríona shares with contestants on the show each year isn’t just that of a passive observer. Far from it, in fact, because Caitríona herself is quite the accomplished recording artist and performer too. And to prove it yet again, the singer/songwriter and TV personality has just released DON’T SAY GOODBYE, an original pop-country style record that big name American country acts such as Lady A would be proud to call their own.
And the good news for country fans in the midlands is that we’ll soon be able to enjoy Caitríona ‘live’ because she’s among the artists who will be lending their support to the VOICES FOR PEACE concert at the TUAR ARD Arts Centre in Moate on April 14th. Caitriona will join event organiser, the singer/songwriter Larissa Tormey, along with P.J. Murrihy, Charlie McGettigan, Alex Roe, this year’s Glór Tíre winner Aishling Rafferty, Dave Lawlor, Ger O’ Brien and the night’s MC Eddie Rowley of the Sunday World, for the fundraiser which will donate proceeds to the Irish Red Cross in aid of Ukraine.
With intimate yet powerful vocals and catchy hooks, Don’t Say Goodbye is a heart-felt, radio-friendly, modern pop-country love song co-written by Caitríona, Stephen Andreucetti and John Walsh / Symphonic. It was produced by Ray McLoughlin and features some of Nashville and Ireland’s top instrumentalists. The track was mixed and mastered in Ireland and the UK, and was released on all digital platforms on March 25th, giving Caitríona a #1 in the process. The accompanying video was shot in the beautiful Barrow House, Tralee by Cinetex films and is scheduled for release on April 1st.
Caitríona also scored a #1 hit on iTunes in the Irish country music charts with her original duet This Country Girl in 2021, a co-write and duet with renowned Irish country-rocker Johnny Brady. That single earned the duo airplay across both national and regional radio stations.
In recent times Caitríona has also enjoyed performing and releasing numerous songs on social media with Mark Cahill on The Ivory Sessions, and numerous other online and live gigs such as her Sounds of Cinema series performed with Kerry’s Scotia Ensemble, a project that met with great enthusiasm from music fans.
Hailing from The Munster Bar in Tralee, Caitríona grew up listening to and performing a wide variety of music there in her parents’ bar. Classically trained in voice and piano, she studied at the Kerry School of Music and went on to study opera with renowned voice coach Dr. Veronica Dunne in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She has a first class honours B.A. in music and Irish, B.Mus. and was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Masters in music from UCD.
A prolific songwriter, Caitríona wrote the Irish language lyrics to the chart topping tune Fionnghuala in 2016 in collaboration with John Walsh / Symphonic which featured on the Eir ad and on The Late Late show in 2016, and was sampled by renowned DJ Vini Vicci.
Caitríona’s musical story also includes a very successful album of original songs entitled Fallen Angel froma few years back. That project included the single I’ll Be There, which topped the airplay and Irish music charts, being playlisted on radio stations nationwide. Some of the tracks from that album were featured on RTE’s award winning drama-documentary Proof.
As her long stint as a staple on Glór Tíre suggests, Caitríona is also passionate about the Irish language and is author of no less than EIGHT Irish language secondary school textbooks for Gill Education, including Aois na Glóire 1, 2 and 3, and she is co-author of Mol an Óige 1, 2, 3 , Samhlaíocht and Spreagadh.
One man we’d love to hear Caitríona duet with someday is CHAYCE BECKHAM.
Now it sounds like a cliche, admittedly, but when it’s true, it’s true, and the fact is that Chayce is one of the most buzzed about newcomers in American country music today, having won over millions of hearts while competing on Season 19 of ABC’s American Idol. The reigning Idol winner and 2022 Artist to Watch – from the likes of Country Now, Sounds Like Nashville, Country Swag, Music Mayhem Magazine – has released the smooth, southern comfort track TELL ME TWICE. With what Wide Open Country has described as Chayce’s “raspy, blues-rock voice” front and center, the catchy, easy-listening track boasts a vibe reminiscent of that golden-era of 90s country.
Beckham, who Katy Perry said sounds “like the heart of America”, was also scheduled to perform on ABC’s American Idol on Monday of this very week March 28that 8/7c (1am BST), as he mentors the remaining hopefuls through Hollywood Week.
“This title was my mom’s idea for me to write because it was something we had said to each other,” reveals Beckham in talking about his new record.
“It made me think about all the things in life that you should just do and not have to think twice about it. Growing up I really did learn the value of a dollar because I watched my family work hard for everything we had. This song is a reminder to not take the good things in life for granted and remember to appreciate them.”
After winning American Idol and the hearts of fans across the nation just last year, Beckham released his self-penned track 23 that skyrocketed to the top of numerous viral charts, racking up more than 75 million on-demand streams, a figure that’s still very much on the rise even now.
Also climbing the country radio charts with his sensual yet supercharges duet Can’t Do Without Me with label-mate Lindsay Ell (the recently announced host of Canada’s Got Talent and an artist we’ve been privileged to chat to for OTRT), the “rugged, country crooner” as Beckham has been pronounced by USA Today, really shows the depths of his artistry with the life-lessons taught in his new track Tell Me Twice.
Written by Beckham with Isley Juber and ace producer Ross Copperman, the song highlights how it’s the simple things in life that are most important, with Beckham singing lines like; To take a day off when you need the rest / Loosen up the drag on a two-pound test / Drink a cold beer when the weather’s right / But you don’t got to tell me twice.”
Beckham actually auditioned for American Idol after undergoing a particularly difficult year, but went on to become the first-ever show winner to claim the title with an original song, an achievement which kickstarted his journey to fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a singer, songwriter, and entertainer. With his family, his hometown of Apple Valley and now America behind him, the mellow 25-year-old released his debut single, the aforementioned 23.
The song, a semi-autobiographical account of his struggles with alcohol and of the lows it can take on a person, quickly shot to the top of both the iTunes Country and All Genre charts, and numerous viral charts, racking up on-demand streams in the millions upon millions. Now signed to 19 Recordings in partnership with BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records and finding his home in Nashville, Chayce is getting ready to share his signature sound with his legions of fans with more new music slated to drop this spring, with Tell Me Twice giving fans their first taste of what they can expect.
Currently on tour with Jimmie Allen, Beckham is also headlining shows across the country and will join Luke Combs on the road this autumn. For more information and a full list of tour dates, visit www.chaycebeckham.com.
~ DON’T SAY GOODBYE by CAITRÍONA O’ SULLIVAN is OUT NOW, available on all platforms and to request from radio.
Caitríona is also one of the featured artists performing at the VOICES FOR PEACE concert at the TUAR ARD in Moate on APRIL 14th, with proceeds going to the Irish Red Cross in aid of Ukraine. Also performing on the night are LARISSA TORMEY, P.J. MURRIHY, Eurovision legend CHARLIE McGETTIGAN, ALEX ROE, Glór Tíre winner 2022 AISHLING RAFFERTY, DAVE LAWLOR, and GER O’ BRIEN, with EDDIE ROWLEY from the Sunday World as MC. Tickets are just €20, available from the Tuar Ard box-office at 090-6482042.
TELL ME TWICE, the brand new single from AMERICAN IDOL winner CHAYCE BECKHAM, is also OUT NOW and available on all platforms.
By this day next week, GLÓR TÍRE will have added a new name to its eighteen season-long roll-of-honor. The big question is, will last year’s winner, Galway girl EMMA DONOHUE, have passed on her crown to a new queen – for only the fifth time in the show’s history – or will we get a new king of country in 2022? Well, a couple of people with more than a passing interest in how it all unfolds are two of this year’s semi-finalists, COLIN KENNY andAISHLING RAFFERTY.
If you believe in signs, then Aishling might well be waking up with a gigantic smile adorning her face a week from now given that her mentor this year is country superstar MIKE DENVER, who also guided Emma to glory last year. And that was Mike’s second time to taste victory as a mentor, having helped Mayo woman Eunice Moran navigate her way to the title back in 2010. Could Tipperary’s Aishling help Mike land his hat-trick?
Well, not if Colin and his mentor OLIVIA DOUGLAS can help it! Olivia, herself a former contestant on the show, has become one of the hottest names on the Irish country scene over the last few years. And in choosing Colin – a native of Banagher, but now based in Borrisokane in Tipperary – as one of her contestants this year, she clearly knows a star in the making when she spots one herself. With Colin’s recent debut album ANNIE featuring ten original songs, all either written or co-written by the man also known as ‘the singing barber’, his talent as a songwriter has been keeping speed with his ever-growing reputation as a vocalist and assured entertainer.
Last Friday, despite having hectic weekends ahead, both Colin and Aishling were kind enough to take a little time-out from their busy schedules to have a chat about their Glór Tíre adventures so far…
Having watched the show at home on his couch for so many years and seen people he knows, such as his mentor Olivia Douglas, his good friend Alex Roe, and not forgetting John Molloy from the midlands as well, how does it feel for Colin to now be part of that very show himself?
“It’s an amazing experience really, to be honest. From looking at it at home with my parents or with my family [to now], it’s a dream to be on the show. And now while I’m on the show, I’m really embracing it for what it is. I’m really enjoying myself and having fun with it. A lot of people are talking about the show. They come into me in my business, my barber shop in Borrisokane, and tell me they’re voting for ‘the singing barber’, which is always great to hear! [Laughs].”
When Colin says he’s embracing Glór Tíre “for what it is”, what exactly does that mean for him?
“Well the show is different this year, of course, in that there’s no crowd. But that almost suits me better because it’s kind of a concert style, even though there are audiences at concerts but it’s a quieter environment. So you’re more relaxed. I’d be more relaxed in that environment myself, personally. But embracing it also means the cameras, make-up and all of those wonderful things that are thrown into something like this [laughs]. I’m very fortunate in that I’m being supported by the brilliant Guy Clothing menswear store in Tullamore so this gives you an opportunity to dress up for the day as well, which is always good!”
When Colin talks about the cameras floating around or getting his make-up done before performing, those are things that he wouldn’t usually experience at a normal show, so what has it been like for him adapting to those situations?
“Very, very easy, to be honest! Not so much the make-up side [laughs], but usually my shows consist of working all day of a Saturday, then leaving work, going home to get changed, shower, back on the road again for maybe an hour or two hours of a journey, lifting equipment into a venue, getting it set up, being ready to go. And then, doing that whole procedure again in reverse at the end of the night. The easiest thing is singing. At least with Glór Tíre, when you go down to the show, you’re actually treated like royalty down there. The production team and everybody look after you so well, it’s a very easy environment to be in. And like I said, I’m really enjoying it.”
What would Colin say has been his own personal highlight of his time on the show so far?
“I have a couple, to be fair. Number one I would say is singing with such fantastic talent this year. There’s a broad spectrum there of American country, Irish country of course, Americanna, and country and western as well. That’s a big deal for me to meet those people. But also, to be able to sing my own songs as well. I had the opportunity as well in week one to sing a song I wrote called ‘I’m A Country Singer’, and last week I sang a song I wrote about my parents called ‘Will You Dance With Me, Annie?’ And after the show I got an awful lot of well-wishes from people saying they really liked ‘Will You Dance With Me, Annie?’, and that’s always lovely to hear. And of course, hearing that from my mother, that was the highlight for me! [Laughs].”
From a career point of view, how important is it for Colin to be recognised so widely now as ‘the singing barber’, but also as a songwriter, as someone who is bringing something new to the Irish country music scene?
“Well of course like anything else, in the music business you want people to remember you, both as a singer and a songwriter, and also to remember the songs you sing. The tag-line of ‘the singing barber’, I have my own business in Borrisokane in north Tipperary as I mentioned – there since 2015 and I hope to be there for some time into the future – but I hope to be a full-time singer as well. I enjoy doing all my shows on Saturday nights, but also my guest appearances at concerts or dances and some fundraisers, and what I do online, too. I do a lot of different work on the music scene, and really, I just want to become a full-time fixture on that scene. So being so widely known as ‘the singing barber’ is a big plus for me.”
Last week Colin was able to enjoy performing without having the threat of being up for elimination on his shoulders. This week, that will all have changed. As we spoke last Friday afternoon and looked ahead to last night’s semi-final, I asked Colin how he was feeling about everything, and what the next few days were going to be like for him?
“Yes, last Tuesday was a breath of fresh air really, to be honest. I haven’t experienced what the other contestants were going through in that eliminator round. But this week coming it will be my turn! I suppose, like anything else, it’s a campaign trail that I’m on. So what I’m doing is getting out into my local community and meeting people who would have supported me before I was ever on Glór Tíre. So for example, all the local businesses in Borrisokane. I’ve called into the local vet, the hardware store, the fruit-and-veg and grocery shop. But also as well, places like the North Tipperary Ploughing. In my home county of Offaly, in my local town of Banagher, the businesses there from my local takeaway Angelo’s to the supermarket, Flynn’s. And going back to my own GAA roots, Offaly GAA have got behind me as well, so I have a big thank-you to say to the chairperson Michael Duignan for that.”
As we were talking ahead of the show, but this interview wouldn’t be available until after it aired last night, Colin was able to let us in on what he had in store for fans in the semi-final showdown!
“On Tuesday night I’ll have two songs, and the good news is that one of those is in Irish and one is in English. So that’s obviously going to be a challenge in its own way. But it’s one I’m looking forward to. One of my songs will be Derek Ryan‘s ‘God’s Plan’, and Derek, of course, is a tremendously talented songwriter and performer from Carlow. My second song is from another midland’s gentleman, Mr. John Hogan, and that’s ‘Those Brown Eyes.’ I’ll be delighted to sing that because I’ve met John in the past and worked with him on different shows, and he’s a gentleman in country music, also known as the prince of Irish country. A lot of the songs I’ve performed on the show, I’ve either written myself or have been by Irish writers, which I think is important. Apart, that is, from my very first song which was ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’, but that was also my very first single so I had a good reason – a good sentimental reason! – for singing that one.”
A show like Glór Tíre is an amazing learning experience in so many ways. I wondered if Colin had taken any lesson from his time on the show so far that he’ll be taking forward with him for the rest of his career?
“Yeah, I think the biggest thing is song-choice. And that goes for doing your own shows as well. You have to think strongly about your song-choice. So moving forward, when I’m releasing songs in the future, I won’t be just recording songs so that I have something to release, I’ll be releasing songs that I think will do well, and also songs that I like and that the public will like, which is most important. The second thing is that you get used to talking into microphones and being interviewed, which is great, like today [laughs]! But also, the show is a chance to meet others in the industry which we don’t get an opportunity to do that often either. Generally, I’m a one-man show and I travel from town-to-town every weekend, so you don’t actually get an opportunity to meet the other singers out there. So the chance to do that is something else I’ll cherish from this show. And, of course, the experience of singing on ‘live’ television. While it was daunting, it was also very enjoyable looking back on it.”
We couldn’t fail to mention Colin’s mentor Olivia Douglas, someone Colin has known for many years already, and a previous Glór Tíre contestant herself back at the beginning of her career…
“Yeah, Olivia – for me and my fellow contestant Rachel McConnell – has been our rock, really. When things were beginning to get nervous and things like that, she was always there for us with a calming word, and a positive word as well, which was fantastic. She was also very helpful for me when it came to song-choice, we spoke at length about that, about what types of songs, and about my own songs. And she was very confident in any decisions I made, so I was very happy with that.”
Aside from Glór Tíre, what else is happening in Colin’s career right now, and what has he planned for the rest of 2022?
“Well, my big plan at the moment is that I would like to bring a concert tour to the public, bring that on the road, maybe perform it in three different locations around the midlands. Hopefully we’ll be booking those dates soon, and then when Glor Tíre is finished people will be able to come and see…possibly Olivia [laughs]…and myself and some of the other Glór Tíre contestants on the road, somewhere near you, as they say!”
Given that we didn’t know how Tuesday night would eventually unfold as we spoke last Friday, I asked Colin if, nevertheless, he had any message for all of his fans and everyone who had supported him during the course of the show – and, indeed, his career – so far?
“Just a big thank-you! Thank you to everybody who took the time to view the show. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me as well. It means the world to me! I hope everyone will stay supporting me in the years to come, both as a solo artist and when I’m on different shows too.”
As with Colin, I began by asking Ashling how it felt having watched Glór Tíre on television for so many years – and even making the trip down to the Quays in Galway to be there in person a time or two – to now actually be one of the stars of the show herself?
“I don’t even know how to describe it! I can hardly believe it still [laughs]. When I was down there before there were cameras everywhere and I was just completely taken aback by it! And now that I’m there in my own right, I just can’t believe it. And I’m still blown away by it [laughs]. I’m privileged and honoured to have been asked to be on the show. It’s a great platform to get myself out there. And even my ‘likes’ on Facebook are after going up by so much as well! It’s brilliant, and it’s a huge milestone for me on my musical journey.”
Aishling referred to it as being a great “privilege” to be on Glór Tíre, and indeed it is. So I asked her to take me back to the moment that opportunity came her way, courtesy of her mentor this year, the man who guided Emma Donohue to glory last year, Mike Denver...
“Yeah, well I had a few gigs with Mike over the summer, Willie Carty – Mike’s manager – had got in touch with me. So we’d just been working away on those few gigs, and, as Mike says himself, I went down a storm at the gigs [laughs]. Then, once they found out about Glór Tíre this year, Willie contacted me straight away to see if I’d be interested. And of course, there was no hesitation on my part in saying yes! [Laughs]. That was back in October, I think. The phone just rang and Willie asked me the question, and I said yes straight away, I didn’t even have to think about it [laughs]. I was honoured. It was a shock, it really was. I never really expected that Glór Tíre would be something that I’d be on, because I think every young singer aims for it. So yeah, it was a very big shock. But then, the more time goes on, the more I think I was deserving of being asked onto it because I have been putting in a lot of hard work and I think this was a sign of it beginning to pay off.”
Has there been any particular moment that stands out to Aishling as being her personal highlight of the show so far this year?
“I suppose just doing my family and my friends, and my neighbours and everybody proud has been a huge thing, seeing all the comments coming in on Facebook. Even if I had never got through to this stage, everyone would still have been so proud. It’s been great to see all those lovely comments coming in and everyone being so supportive, and I suppose, just realising how much of a fanbase I really do have, ya know. Sometimes you kind of doubt that, and you don’t realise how big of a deal it is. But now, I do, and that’s from seeing all the messages and comments rolling in. That’s been a big thing for me.”
In last week’s eliminator round, three contestants were unfortunately sent home, with only one – Aishling – living to sing another day. What was the experience of that show like for her?
“Well, I had done all my work and I knew I was ready for it. But it was still a shock to the system coming in and doing things ‘live’, and it was a long day and everything. But as I say, I had done my work so I knew that whatever happened I was going to be proud. So to even get through it was huge. But it wasn’t the be-all-and-end-all if I didn’t either because I’d have known I had put my 100% effort into it. I was prepared for it either way. If I didn’t get through, I’d still be going out and doing my gigs at the weekend, it wasn’t going to change anything drastically. And if I did get through, that was just going to be a bonus. So I was taking it, and am taking it, one day at a time.”
Again, when Aishling and I spoke last Friday evening, last night’s semi-final was still to come. So I asked her how she was feeling about everything in the build-up to the big night?
“I’m just going to go to my gigs this weekend as normal, and just keep working hard on my songs, and learning my Irish songs by heart. I’m very lucky that I’m in college in the Academy (the Irish World Academy in Limerick, where Aishling is a student of Voice) so I’ve been practising my songs up there as well, so it’s been great to get feedback from world-class tutors too. So yeah, my next few days are going to consist of me just concentrating and really putting my head down and working as hard as I can for the semi-final. And, of course, trying to get through to as many people as possible for votes as well [laughs].”
As Aishling and I were speaking on a Friday evening, that meant last night’s semi-final would have aired before our chat was published. And that being so, I asked Aishling to let me in on what she had planned for her semi-final performance…
“Well I’m singing ‘Will Ye Go Lassie, Go’ in Irish, a song I’m very familiar with because I’ve been singing it for years. And I love Irish as well, I do some Irish up in college, so it’s great to have such a lovely song that I’m able to do in Irish. The other song that I’m going to sing is one by Jimmy Buckley, it’s called ‘Roll Out The Red Carpet’, another song that I’ve been singing for ages. So I hope everyone enjoys them because I absolutely love singing them, and every time I sing them at the gigs as well I get great feedback.”
Has there been any lesson that Aishling has taken from her time on Glór Tíre so far, that she’ll now take with her into the rest of her career, given that the show provides so many new experiences for contestants?
“I suppose just hard-work pays off. I’ve worked so hard to get to Glór Tíre, and I’m working so hard on the show as well, and I think that could have been seen last week as well. Hard work, that’s it. And I’m always going to keep doing that, because if you stop you’ll be left behind. So loads of hard-work, that’s what it takes.”
Leaving Glór Tíre to one side for a moment, I asked Aishling to share both what else is happening in her musical career right now, and what she has planned for the rest of 2022 as well…
“I’ll have my album coming out in the next few weeks, which I’m really excited about. Everyone will know a lot of the singles that I’ve already released from my album, there’s ‘Darling, Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old’, ‘Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days’, and ‘Truck Driving Woman’, to name but a few. I’ve worked so hard on this over lockdown, so it will be great to finally bring it to the people. I think there’s something there for everybody to enjoy. And of course, I want to keep the gigs going as well. I’m only twenty years of age and I’m out three and four nights a week, which is great. And I’ve started on the social dancing scene as well, as some of your readers might know. And I want to get busier at that as well, and it’s slowly starting to happen. So all of that is my plan for the rest of the year.”
Fingers crossed that as you guys are reading this now Aishling is already making plans for next week’s Grand Final, where – hopefully – she’ll also be joined by Colin. As with Colin, though, when we spoke on Friday last the semi-final was the next hurdle facing both. But regardless of how things went, I asked Aishling if she had a message that she wanted to send to her fans, and to everyone who has been behind her so far on her Glór Tíre journey?
“From day-one, since I started out on the country music scene, I’ve been blessed to have great people following me on Facebook, and supporting me by coming out to the gigs. And even being on Glór Tíre wouldn’t be possible without those people. So just a big thank-you to everyone who has requested my music, who has streamed my music, who has messaged me on Facebook wishing me well, and who has voted for me. It’s overwhelming! And I can’t believe the support I’ve been getting for such a young girl from Tipperary! It’s mad [laughs]. So yeah, thank-you to EVERYONE who has been supporting me so far. And I’m sure Glór Tíre is only the start of a lot of things for me as well, please God!”
~ The Grand Final of GLÓR TÍRE takes place next Tuesday night at 9.30pm on TG4. NEVER SAID GOODBYE, the brand NEW single from COLIN KENNY, and SUDS IN THE BUCKET, the brand NEW single from AISHLING RAFFERTY, are both OUT NOW, available to request from radio stations nationwide.
COLIN KENNY has announced a surprise for his fans across the country this week, with the news that he’s sending a brand new single to radio. From Friday, February 4th, NEVER SAID GOODBYE, written by the man himself – and taken from his highly impressive debut album, Annie – will be available to request from stations nationwide.
Having already built up quite a following on the country scene over the last few years, Colin, known by many as ‘the singing barber’, is very much in the public eye right now as one of this year’s contestants onGLÓR TÍRE. Now in its eighteenth season, the hit TG4 show has proved to be a hugely important milestone in the careers of many household names where country music is concerned; Lisa McHugh,Sabrina Fallon, and more recently Colin’s fellow Offaly native Alex Roe being just three. Another, of course, is Colin’s mentor this year, also hailing from the Faithful County, the brilliantOLIVIA DOUGLAS.
And as he prepares for the ‘live’ shows, the Banagher man has been quick to praise Olivia‘s contribution to his progress so far…
“Having Olivia as my mentor this year has been a real added bonus, to be honest, on top of just being on the show which is a great privilege in itself. Myself and Olivia have known each other for years, and it’s great watching her establish herself as one of the best-loved and most admired young female artists on the Irish country scene. The double benefit of that for me, is that Olivia has a wealth of knowledge to pass on now, both from her own time on Glór Tíre, and from everything she’s gone on to achieve since then. And she’s been more than generous, to both myself and to Rachel (McConnell, Olivia’s second contestant on the show), it must be said, in always making time to have a chat about what we should do.”
“But because we know each other from years back”, laughed Colin, “Olivia doesn’t have to be polite with me! She can tell me everything exactly as it is, and that can be a good thing at times, too, I think!”
Never Said Goodbye will be the latest single Colin has released from his album, Annie. And it’s notable that the Borrisokane based barber has had a hand in the penning of all ten songs on that collection, with this particular track being one of a few that carries only his own name on the credits. Regardless of where his Glór Tíre journey comes to an end this year, one thing that’s for certain as far as the rest of his career is concerned, is that his original music is always going to have a central role to play in his plans.
“We all have the same dream of following in Emma Donohue‘s footsteps from last year, and managing to be there on the last night, and to be the last name called out. But only one of us will get to experience that moment. So for me, this is all about taking it all in, enjoying every moment, learning as much as I can from Olivia, the judges, the lads in the band, and everyone connected with the show. All of that will be immensely valuable for what comes next. And part of what comes next will definitely be more original music. I love performing, but I love songwriting as well, and it’s been a pleasure to be able to combine the two.”
Laughing, Colin remarked that, “I think with ‘Never Said Goodbye’, I’ve nearly released every song on the album as a single at this stage! So when I finally get to launch it officially – which I’ll be able to talk more about soon, please God – we’ll definitely have earned that night of celebration! And after that, it’ll be back to work on the second album!”
~ NEVER SAID GOODBYE, the NEW single from GLÓR TÍRE contestant COLIN KENNY – taken from his debut album, Annie – will be available to request from radio stations nationwide from FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4th. You can follow Colin on Facebook and Instagram at Colin Kenny Music.
MARIA TO LAUNCH ‘HERO’ WITH ‘LIVE’ SHOW THIS MONTH
Award-winning singer/songwriter MARIA BUTTERLY has announced a ‘live’ show this month to celebrate the release of her new single, HERO.
The Meath native’s creative talent has been acknowledged and recognised by respected bodies as diverse as the New York International Film and Music Festival overseas, where she was awarded Best Celtic Sound, and by IMRO here at home when she was a finalist in the prestigious Glinsk Songwriting competition in 2011. Maria will take to the stage of Dublin’s Seamus Ennis Arts Centre in Naul, Friday, on February 11th to officially launch her latest work, the Bill Shanley produced HERO.
Recorded at the world famous Windmill Lane Recording Studios,Maria describes the track as being, “An upbeat song that touches on what is an important and – unfortunately – a hot topic still hitting young people today, and that’s anti-social behaviour and bullying.”
HERO takes Maria down a somewhat different path to that followed on her most recent album, a long-player of her own material called Blue Mandolin also produced by Bill Shanley, but it’s something she felt compelled to write because of her belief that, “Music has the power to connect with people. Hero is another example of that. A lot of my songs are inspired from true stories. Some are my own, and some – like this one – are inspired by others.”
Maria continued, “‘HERO’ is a story of a young teen being called names in school, but who then dreams up a fictional hero character that represents the inner strength within us all. That inner strength is what allows us to confront and overcome the challenges presented to us, whether internal or external. So that’s how the song looks at addressing issues like anti-social behavior and bullying, just two of the biggest challenges that young people can be faced with in their world! I think the story of the song is a good talking-point in itself, but it’s also a radio-friendly production too.”
A recent graduate from Pulse and Griffith College in Audio and Sound Technology, and in Music Producing for Games, Maria has expanded her compositional skills by working on commercial pieces for both film and TV, while specialising in games. Her wide and varied arsenal of talents also saw her recently sign with the prestigious Avant Music Port agency to represent her music. In her career to date, Maria’s original compositions have been featured on a host of top TV and radio programs, across RTE, Virgin Media One,TG4 and SKY, and including live performances and interviews on shows such as Nationwide, Ireland AM, Seoige and O’Shea, and Glor-Tire.
Effortlessly at ease amidst the glamour of the world-stage, Maria has also had the honour of headlining the Angelica Huston Gala Event at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, and even performing her own song, Quiet Man, to Hollywood Star Maureen O’ Hara on her 90th birthday. Both the National Concert Hall and Cork Opera House have also borne witness to her vocal prowess, with audiences in both eminent venues being charmed by her unwavering elegance on several occasions.
Ever the performer, though, right now the eyes of the 2013 Songwriter of the Year winner at the Leinster Entertainment Awards are set firmly – and only – on the next stage she’ll soon walk onto, and that’s the Seamus Ennis Arts Centre in Naul for the February 11th launch of Hero.
“Any time you get to play a show in Ireland, it tends to be special. But I think that’s even more true given what we’ve all come through over the past couple of years. And having a song like ‘Hero’, one that I believe in so much, to properly introduce to everyone, that just adds another layer of excitement and expectation to everything.”
~ MARIA BUTTERLY plays the SEAMUS ENNIS ARTS CENTRE in Naul, Dublin, on Friday, February 11th, to officially launch her NEW single, HERO. Tickets for the show are ON-SALE NOW and available from www.TSEAC.ie, or from www.mariabutterly.com. HERO is also OUT NOW, available on all platforms, from Maria’s official website, and to request from radio.
NEW SINGLE FOR AISHLING AS TV DEBUT BECKONS ON GLÓR TÍRE
With 2022 shaping up to be the biggest year yet in her young career, rising country music star AISHLING RAFFERTYis set to get the year underway with a brand new single. With a first television appearance to look forward to when she takes to the GLÓR TÍRE stage under the mentorship of country superstar MIKE DENVER in the coming weeks, the Tipp lady is about to treat her ever-growing legion of fans to her take on SUDS IN THE BUCKET.
The song was a hit for American artist Sara Evans back in the early 2000s, a period now regarded by many as coming at the end of the country genre’s most recent golden-age in the States. Evans was one of the biggest names on the scene at the time, and Suds In The Bucket gave her a #1 back in 2004. Close on two decades later, and as her career continues to bloom here in Ireland, there’s every chance that Aishling – who is certainly putting her Tipperary homeplace of Knockshegowna on the Irish country music map – will take that song back to the top of the charts.
“We’ll see what happens”, laughs Aishling, “that would be lovely, of course! But the chart side of things is only a small part of what’s important when you release something new. And the charts can change so quickly too. It’s a lovely feeling when your single does well when it comes out, and that support from fans always means a lot to me. So yeah, hopefully it will get a good response to it. Fingers crossed, as always!”
2021 was a busy year for the Irish World Academy music student, with five very successful singles no doubt playing their part in bringing Aishling to the attention of Mike Denver who will be her mentor on TG4‘s long-running hit show Glór Tíre in the coming weeks. Darling, Say You’ll Love Me When I’m Old,Truck Driving Woman, Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ol’ Days), Thanks To You, and Mama He’s Crazy all topped the Irish iTunes country chart. But not only that, all five singles quickly became fan favourites and made their presence felt at radio throughout the year, and indeed, are still being requested regularly. And it’s that same level of airplay that Aishling is hoping to achieve again with Suds In The Bucket.
“I still get excited whenever I hear one of my songs on the radio! I don’t think that feeling will ever get old for me, to be honest. And what’s really so satisfying as a recording artist is when you hear a song still being played months and months after you released it. To know that presenters and DJs still enjoy giving it a spin, and that fans still want to hear it, that’s the best feeling. With this new single, because of the time of year it is and everything, I wanted to give people something that was fun to listen to, something nice and upbeat. ‘Suds In The Bucket’ is always that kind of song for me when I hear it, and singing it always puts a smile on my face too. So hopefully with this song I can spread a few more smiles around the place!”
And as for Aishling’s soon to begin Glór Tíre journey, how is she feeling about that?
“I’m delighted to be taking part in the show this year. I was gobsmacked when Mike asked me to be involved. He’s obviously one of the biggest stars in Irish country, and has been for years. And Glór Tíre is a show that I’ve always watched on television growing up. I’ve even been down to a few of the ‘live’ shows in years gone by and I’ve loved everything about it. Now, to actually be a contestant this year, that’s an amazing honour for me. Everyone will have the same dream of possibly winning, of course, but that dream will only come true for one of us. That’s just the way it is, and I think once you’re ok with that, then you can really make the most of the experience. No matter what happens, I know it’s going to be a brilliant learning curve for me and that’s something that can only stand me in good stead in the future.”
With her voice of gold and a personality that glitters, not to mention a head fitted perfectly in place upon her young shoulders, the future is gleaming for Aishling. And already, 2022 promises to be an exciting next chapter.
~ SUDS IN THE BUCKET, the brand NEW SINGLE from 2022 GLÓR TÍRE contestant AISHLING RAFFERTY, will be available on all platforms from January 10th.