Andrea Corr: ‘We all missed being in the band'
After a decade away having children and pursuing solo projects, The Corrs have returned with a new album and tour. Ahead of their gigs in Belfast and Dublin later this month, singer Andrea tells Andy Welch why she wouldn't change a thing
BETWEEN 1995 – when The Corrs released their debut offering Forgiven, Not Forgotten – and 2005, when their fifth record Home was launched, the Dundalk band saw album sales of more than 40 million. Then – Jim, Sharon, Caroline and Andrea all but disappeared.
Now, 10 years on, they're back with a new album, White Light, which entered the UK charts at No 11 (it charted at number 10 in Ireland), proving there are still plenty of people who care about what The Corrs are up to.
The siblings have been busy promoting the record over the past four of five months, and youngest Corr and singer, Andrea, can't help but notice the change of pace.
"'Where am I?' That's something I ask myself every day now," says the 41-year-old. "Where am I, what am I doing here and where are my babies?"
Since the hiatus, Andrea has had two children – three-year-old Jean and Brett Jr who has just turned one – with husband Brett Desmond, who she married in 2009.
She says the band's reunion is only a recent plan, after Caroline suggested a year ago that they try to write some new music.
"We all missed being in the band but she was the one who got us together. We had gone off the radar and there was no record company involvement or anything like that. No-one knew we were going to make a comeback.
"And no-one was more surprised than me," she continues. "If you'd said to me that we were going to get back together this time last year, I'd have said, 'What are you talking about?' But if one of us had reservations, we wouldn't be here either. It's all four of us, or none at all."
After a couple of days in the studio to test the water, the siblings decided they had more than enough ideas to contemplate making another album.
"And that's the only reason we're here," adds Andrea. "If the music was no good, I wouldn't be back. It'd be too hard to talk about it and promote it if it wasn't any good. But we're so excited about it, and playing together after 10 years not doing so."
The Corrs – who received a Brit Award back in the day and hold honorary MBEs for their contributions to music and charity – quickly slipped back into their old roles, too. "But I don't think we ever left them. When you're at home at Christmas, do you feel like the little boy or girl with your parents again? We all do it – it's just the same in the band."
By September last year, the quartet were on stage in front of 60,000 people at BBC Radio 2 Live in London's Hyde Park.
"We didn't have a soundcheck or anything, and we didn't play any warm-up gigs," says Andrea. "But we played Runaway second and the crowd were singing back every word. The welcome made me really emotional – it was something else. Pretty magical, really, and that generosity was really appreciated."
Andrea's thoughts move to this month's arena tour of Britain and Ireland, which, given it's their first tour in almost a decade and they've played just a handful of live shows, is some undertaking.
"It has to be quite big, though, I suppose. You have you be brave about these things, if you're going to do it, do it. There'll be a few Hail Marys, but there always have been. They help put the mind at rest."
She admits to being a bit more nervous and anxious in general than her siblings, and while she says it's never stopped her doing anything, her anxiety does make her slightly more fearful or hesitant about a new endeavour.
"Every part of me was nervous before this comeback, before Hyde Park, and I'll be nervous before the tour, too," she admits.
"I have to ask if it's worth it. Is it worth making myself more tired, more anxious, busier and all the rest of it? And I have to say, yes, it is worth it. That's really what it's about. It's worth the anxiety I have. The others aren't as fearful as I am, it's just my nature."
She talks of family gatherings when music would come up, saying they would often sit around reminiscing, but that the band was far from their sole topic of conversation.
"Our relationship as a family away from the band was very normal and functional. When we got together, we wouldn't solely talk about music, or talk about the idea of working together again. It was no master plan. No-one thought we'd closed the door for good, but at the same time, I think it was probably more likely that we wouldn't get back together, having left it 10 years."
But with things going so well since the release of White Light, and growing demand for nostalgia in music, it's a wonder they didn't make their comeback sooner. Do any of the band regret not just carrying on in 2005?
"I don't look back with regrets. I look back and think it all went the way it was supposed to go. I don't wish we had carried on, but I am glad we started again," says Andrea.
"We want to play this record as much as we can. It's just going to take some organisation. I want to be able to do it all, and be a good mum.
"We all want to be good parents, but we should fulfil our own hopes and musical dreams if we can. We will make it work."
:: White Light is out now. The Corrs play Dublin's 3Arena on January 28 and the SSE Arena, Belfast, on January 29 (Tickets from ticketmaster.ie).
THE CORRS – DID YOU KNOW?
:: Jim and Sharon Corr began playing as a duo, often in their aunt's pub in the Seatown area of Dundalk, when Caroline and Andrea were still in school. The two younger siblings joined the band to make a quartet in 1990.
:: All four Corrs appeared in Alan Parker's 1991 film The Commitments. Jim, Sharon and Caroline were musicians in various scenes, while Andrea was cast in a speaking role as Jimmy's sister Sharon Rabbitte.
:: Their 1995 debut album, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, went to No 2 in the UK and sold a million copies, plus 500,000 in the Uinted States.
:: Talk On Corners, their second album, is the biggest-selling album by an Irish group in the UK.
:: Known for being a conspiracy theorist, Jim Corr has until recently made no secret of his views that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were "carried out by rogue elements in the Bush neo-con administration" as he put it in a 2008 radio interview.
:: Also during the band's break, Andrea released two solo albums: Ten Feet High in 2007 and Lifelines in 2011. Sharon released her album, Dream Of You, in 2010, and The Same Sun in 2013.