Arts Q&A: Country singer Derek Ryan on Bryan Adams, Tom Hanks and Carlow GAA

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, country music star Derek Ryan

Thirty-two-year old country singer Derek Ryan from Co Carlow will be headlining the first ever Farmer's Bash next week at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Also appearing are Lisa McHugh, Robert Mizzell and Marty Mone

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

My dad is a singer so we would have grown up in the business, listening to and playing Irish traditional music and country music from a very young age. I suppose in my late teens I began to realise I was maybe at a level where I could do it professionally and now I am very fortunate to do what I love and make a living from it.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

Bryan Adams at Slane Castle, Garth Brooks at Croke Park and Michael Buble at the 3Arena.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

Not being lazy, but probably the three lads above, and maybe Carrie Underwood to add a female vocal and a little bit of glamour to the occasion.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Bryan Adams's MTV Unplugged. As a teenager I must have listened to it a million times. It's my favourite album by a country mile.

5. And the book you’d take to a desert island?

I’m an avid sports fan so a sports star’s autobiography is always good. I’m not a Manchester United fan, but I did find Roy Keane’s book very entertaining.

6. Top three films?

I love war movies so in no particular order, the ones that spring to mind are: The Green Zone; American Sniper and Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks has to be one of my favourite actors.

7. Worst film you’ve seen and why?

P.S. I Love You. It was overloaded with stereotypical Irish scenes, from us all drinking Guinness to laughing at funerals. I almost walked out of the cinema, and that would have been a first.

8. Favourite authors?

I don’t have any.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top team?

I've started back playing handball in my spare time to try and keep fit. I'm an Arsenal fan, but I keep that fairly quiet because they're not doing well at the moment. I’m a big GAA fan and would go to Croke Park regularly. My county Carlow had a great year this year, considering our resources.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Anywhere sunny. I have a soft spot for the Algarve as I lived and gigged there for three summers back in the day.

11. Pet hate?

People who skip queues.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Steak.

Dessert? Banoffee

Drink? Beer or gin.


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

Probably my friend Damien. We were in a pop band together for years and we live close by to each other. We're more like brothers really.

14. Is there a God?

It’s all part of God’s plan.

:: Derek Ryan will be headlining the first ever Farmer's Bash, Ireland's biggest ever indoor country music dance, on October 6 at Belfast's SSE Arena. Tickets from or

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