Arts Q&A: Tommy Fleming on Francis Black, Mary Poppins and Madness

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, singer Tommy Fleming

Irish singer Tommy Fleming who stars in Paddy – The Musical, which tells the story of emigration.
Irish singer Tommy Fleming who stars in Paddy – The Musical, which tells the story of emigration.

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

Music was always a hobby that I loved from a young age. I started doing gigs around Sligo and Mayo and I quickly realised that I got a great buzz from being on the stage and performing. I was introduced to Phil Coulter in 1992 and that was the start of the journey that has lead to where I am today.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

My first big show to attend was Madonna in Roundhay Park in Leeds as a 17-year-old. In 2006 I attended a Barbra Streisand open-air concert in Dublin where she performed with an entire symphony orchestra. Also the musical Mary Poppins in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin. I was 'brought along' not really thinking I would enjoy it. I couldn’t have got it so wrong.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

If I was to have a ‘special birthday’ party in five years from now (hint hint), the two bands I would have are Madness and Blondie.

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

Mary Black's The Holy Ground. I’ve listened to that album constantly since 1993.

5. And the book?

I’m an autobiography person so I’d have to take a few.

6. Top three films?

Prince Of Tides, On Golden Pond and The Shawshank Redemption.

7. Worst film you’ve seen?

Grease 2. It's simply torture.

8. Favourite authors?

John Grisham, Meave Binchy and Stephen King.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?

I work out a lot in the gym but sports were never my strength. I do watch tennis during Wimbledon.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Portugal – we go every year for a complete switch off. It’s a short flight from Ireland, the weather is always great and the food is superb.

11. Pet hate?

People who are not punctual. I cannot stand being late or under pressure for time.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Sushi.

Dessert? Cheesecake.

Drink? Hendricks Gin or a nice cold pint of Heineken.

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

The only person I know that knows me well enough, warts and all is my wife and manager Tina. We work, travel, holiday and socialise together all the time.

14. Is there a God?

I believe in right and wrong, good and evil and if a person lives their life in a good and honest way, but not letting anyone take advantage of you, then that to me is believing in God.

:: Tommy Fleming stars in Paddy – The Musical at Derry's Millennium Forum on September 25 and 25. Millenniumforum.co.uk