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Arts Q&A: Ciaran Lavery on Tom Waits, Grease and WWF wrestling

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Co Antrim singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery

Ciaran is set to release his third studio album later this year. This month he will give festival goers a sneak preview of his new work as he plays Stendhal Arts Festival in Limavady and Belfast's EastSide Arts Festival

1. When did you think about music as a career and what were your first steps into it?

There wasn't any one significant eureka moment for me personally. I began recording my own solo material a few years back with the thought that I needed to document the songs I had written. Things really took off from that point. I was still between two jobs and trying to write on lunch breaks and any free time I could find. I had the opportunity to free up some of that space for music and I took it a couple of years back. At that point I thought to myself, 'OK, this feels like a career now'.

2. Best gigs you've been to?

Rodrigo y Gabriela in Dublin, Calexico in Austria and Billy Joe Shaver in Nashville.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Elvis and Sam Cooke.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island and why?

Tom Waits's Orphans. This record is so diverse that even if I were stranded for the rest of my life I'd find something to suit my changeable mood.

5. And the book you'd take to a desert island and why?

Joy Williams's 99 Stories of God – a book that keeps on giving with a ton of little literary nuggets.

6. Top three films?

Grease, Coffee and Cigarettes and Rear Window.

7. Worst film you've seen and why?

Anything with Mark Wahlberg usually makes me feel a little empty inside. I hope he doesn't read this.

8. Favourite authors?

Raymond Carver, Castle Freeman Jr and Murakami.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I'm a big fan of WWF wrestling even to the point of recording it and catching up on it after tours.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Post-revolution Cuba.

11. Pet hate?


12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Anything apart from a Sunday roast.

Dessert? Everything apart from Christmas cake.

Drink? Coconut water is rocking my health world right now. Also, Dales Pale Ale.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

Hugo, my cocker spaniel pup. He's lived with me since he was very young.

14. Is there a God?

I hope so.

:: Ciaran Lavery's new single Everything Is Made To Last is out now. He plays Stendhal Arts Festival, Limavady, on August 11 and 12 (stendhalfestival.com) and Belfast's EastSide Arts Festival on August 13 at 8pm (eastsidearts.net).

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