It's Friday, which means it's time to sit down with another Irish celebrity. This week, we're chatting with Matthew from the Irish band 'The Celtic Tenors' about the future of the music industry in Ireland, what they've been up to over lockdown, and the inspiration behind his love for music.
Q. So Matthew, just to start, we want to ask how Lockdown has been for yourself and The Celtic Tenors? Have you been able to stay in touch?
A. We were at the beginning of a major tour of the USA and Canada, a busy year ahead when the shows began to cancel. We had seen it coming of course, we thought it would maybe be controlled or at least delayed in North America, but alas it was not to be. We did our last show near Pittsburgh and while driving towards our next show in Connecticut the whole tour fell apart. I think we were all slightly relieved when the decision was finally made to come home. We changed direction and headed for Philadelphia where Aer Lingus got us home.
Since then we have all been hunkering down. Daryl has been taking care of his young family, James has managed to ease into online singing lessons, teaching has always been a great love of James. I have spent many great months with my family; we painted the house, the windows, cut and stored timber from fallen trees, repaired an old speed boat, made a pergola, made a table, watched my brother get married. Strangely, I seem to have achieved a way more diverse amount of things since all this has happened. Written songs, sung operas, the list goes on.
I have also realised that I must keep the wolf from the door so I've re-kindled my engineering and loving that journey too.
Q. What is your all-time favourite song to perform with the Celtic Tenors?
A. There are so many! One of the most challenging songs we sing is one that's been with us longest. "Remember me" is such a journey to sing and it's emotional, its quiet, its loud, it's high and exciting, it's stark. It's a big and powerful song that challenges us every time we do it.
Q. Tell us your fondest memory of gigging?
A. For me, its 2003 in Trafalgar square in London. Huge event, and the last time we performed with our friends the Dubliners. Fantastic aftershow party - it was just brilliant.
Q. What has been your favourite city to gig in?
A. Again, so many. Maybe Melbourne, it's a beautiful, not too big, culturally alive and diverse. The Melbourne recital centre is one of the most beautiful venues I've ever performed in.
Q. What’s next on the cards for The Celtic Tenors?
A. Crazy times. The uncertainty lately has meant that we are digging deep to find a secure path forward. We are still creating music, still moving forwards with live show bookings, but I feel that we will probably go through the live ticketed streaming show, this is probably in the not too distant future.
Q. In your opinion, What does the future of the music industry in Ireland look like, given the current pandemic situation?
A. Live music as we know it is over for now. It could be years before its back to where it was. It may never be the same as it was. For now it will be virtual.
Q. When did you discover your love for music and what inspired you?
A. I cant remember a time when I wasn't moved by music. Seeing my 17 yearold boy playing and enjoying music reminds me that around that age, for me was the time I realised that music was a life changed for me.
Queen, Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfuncle, ELO all rocked my world. My only surprise was that I ended up in a Quasi classical genre.
Q. Who has been your biggest inspiration in the music industry?
A. The industry is a scary sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, always challenging thing. I loved Tom Petty, he ploughed his own furrow and with his kicking band 'The Heartbreakers' rocked my world