Lurgan talent goes with the flow to produce ‘River’

Lurgan born singing star Conleth Kane is gearing up for the release of his debut single, just in time for Christmas.

The single entitled ‘River’ will be out exclusively to iTunes on December 1, while the music video was released last week.

Conleth even managed to get Van Morrison’s musicians to play on the record with him.

He told the ‘MAIL’: “The single looks like it’s going to get radio play on some great stations so I’m thrilled.

“I also started rehearsals for Snow White at the Grand Opera House on Monday with May McFettridge and co so it’s going to be a manic season.”

Of his debut single he said: “I have always wanted to do to it, from a very young age, but now definitely felt like the right time.

And on the inspiration behind the single he said: “Well my one man show ‘All I Want for Christmas’ at the Black Box last December was a huge success and I was overwhelmed at the response.

“I had so may many people approaching me asking where they could get my record but I didn’t have one to promote/sell. I was getting messages weeks after the show so I was seeing a demand for it and I started to really consider it, but the next thing I knew it was February and I was right in the middle of my West End run of ‘Molly Wobbly’ so my focus was on that.

“I just didn’t really think any more of it really until September came around again and I sat up in bed one day and thought, ‘I’m going to record that Christmas EP’.

“I selected four songs, planned a few meetings, effectively opened my own label with iTunes, booked a few flights, and off I went to Belfast in October to hit the recording studio, then the next thing I knew I was in London filming a music video.

“It all happened very quickly. In the end I didn’t use all the songs and I decided to just go ahead and release ‘River’ as a single, as it was very radio-friendly and current.

“So it’s now a single with a bonus track (a very beautiful mash-up of ‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale’ featuring Jolene O’Hara).

Conleth is well used to performing in front of live audiences and in front of the TV cameras, we asked did he get nervous on stage?

“Sometimes, although I think it’s good to be a bit nervous. It shows you care. I can’t say I ever get stage fright though. A few years back when I did that RTE Television show ‘Fame the Musical’, I remember opening two of the live shows and I remember a production assistant putting me on my spot about 30 seconds before I sang live to a million people, a studio audience and a panel of judges and both times I had to give myself a serious talking to inside my head.

“I used to say things like ‘Come on Conleth, you’ve got to this point, DO NOT let nerves kick in, just enjoy it, these three minutes that are about to happen will never happen again’, and I really did. I always think if I can do that, I can do anything. That’s why I have so much respect for people who perform on the X Factor and other reality shows. It’s so easy for certain viewers to sit home and criticise and write something nasty on Facebook. Trust me, it takes guts. I am really happy nerves are not an issue, otherwise I’d change career. I want to enjoy my job.

Of the change of scene to the recording studio: “I loved it. Seriously. Here I am singing in a microphone booth surrounded by some of the best musicians in Ireland (who tour with Van Morrison by the way), I kept thinking ‘This is amazing’. I also had moments of ‘Who the hell am I trying to kid?’, haha! I had to pull my vocal right back, because usually I have to project and sing with power in theatres but I would say I dipped my vocal impact by about 50%. I wanted the songs to be easy to sing along with too. I didn’t want to throw my vocal acrobatics around so I was very happy to sit back on the vocal and I achieved the exact sound I wanted. It was very casual. I was stood with my massive headphones on sipping tea from a flask and I felt very much at home. I recorded ‘River’ in one take. It sounds very authentic.”

Conleth produced the track himself. he said: “Everything you see and hear was my decision. I’m not with a record label, I was in charge of the budget, I was very much in control of the business side and the artistic direction. What was so beautiful about the project was I had close friends on there to help me to. Mark Dougherty my Musical Director (who looked after the music on Riverdance) is a dear friend and he was the perfect man to have on board to achieve the sound I wanted. My friend Simon Wegrzyn directed my music video and my friend Ross McBride did my photoshoot for the artwork. It was vital that I had people on board who would listen to me and help me achieve exactly what I wanted. It is very important I look back on this and have no regrets so picking the right team was crucial.”

He said the feedback he received had been ‘unbelievable’: “I am blown away by the response and the support. The music video went live only a few days ago and my phone went crazy.

“I even had Andy Bell from the pop band Erasure tweet about how much he loved it! That was a moment I’ll never forget. I adored Erasure growing up, and I still listen to their music, so to have the lead singer give my single the thumbs up was the best feeling in the world! I’m performing live on BBC Radio Ulster the week before Christmas so that will be exciting.”

And of Chritsmas, he said: “Well I am mega busy this Christmas. Apart from promoting the single I am going to be appearing as the role of ‘Skipper’ in ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ at the Grand Opera House in Belfast with Many McFettridge and X Factor’s Chico. We do 12 shows a week, we open on November 28 and run to January 10 then I am straight back to London the day after.

“Obviously I will want to see my family and friends as much as I can in my spare time too as that is what Christmas is all about after all.”