Michael English on Andy Williams, Charlie Pride and The Late Late Toy Show

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Irish country singer Michael English

Irish country singer Michael English will be joined by Lisa McHugh and Mike Denver in Country Comes to City 2018 in Derry

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it? My dad played accordion in a local group and every Friday night in our home in Castledermot, Co Kildare, we had a traditional Irish session and eventually I would play some tunes on the upright piano. When I was around seven my parents enrolled me in Carlow’s Harmony Music School, then I went to The Royal Academy in Dublin. When I was 12 I sang on The Late Late Toy Show, which kick-started my career – straight away I was asked to play at parties and I joined a band.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Charlie Pride in The Waterfront Hall in Belfast; Joe Dolan in a hotel in Carlow; Elton John in Belfast and Andy Williams in England, Dublin and Belfast – he must have thought I was a groupie.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Rod Stewart. I'm a huge fan and his set is sure to keep everyone on the dancefloor.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? A combination album of my favourite artists including Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Charlie Pride and Elton John.

5. And the book? Andy Williams’s autobiography, Moon River and Me.

6. Top three films? The Green Mile, The Silence of the Lambs and The Greatest Showman, which I just watched recently with my niece. It's gripping and inspirational and the soundtrack is fantastic.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? I don't know, as usually if a movie isn’t good I fall asleep in the first 10 minutes.

8. Favourite author? John Grisham. I love thrillers and have read most of his books, usually when I'm in the car heading to a gig – with someone else driving, of course.


9. Sports you most enjoy and top team? I love cycling and swimming and cycle every other day to keep fit. I follow Gaelic football, hurling, horse racing and golf, if I have the time.

10. Ideal holiday destination? Hawaii. I've toured every state in America, but have yet to go to Hawaii.

11. Pet hate? I’m a little bit OCD – everything has to be perfect. And I hate when people are late.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Fish, boiled potatoes and plain vegetables.

Dessert? I don't have a sweet tooth. I'd prefer a starter and a main if I’m dining out.

Drink? Guinness and I drink lots of water.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? My best friends are my two sisters. They do so much for my parents while I am away on tour.

14. Is there a God? I've always believed there is a God and don't think I would have got where I am today without believing that.

:: Michael English will be performing at Country Comes to City, in association with The Imac Group. The festival, also featuring Mike Denver and Lisa McHugh, is at Ebrington Square, Derry, on Saturday June 30. Tickets from or call 028 71264455.

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