From Ireland to America: singer excited for her first Celtic Woman tour
WANT TO GO?
Celtic Woman with the West Virginia Symphony
WHERE: The Clay Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
TICKETS: $48.50, $68.50 and $82.50
INFO: Call 304-561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mairead Carlin really hasn't seen much of the United States.
The Irish soprano and newest addition to Irish folk band Celtic Woman said, "The only place I've been in America, apart from New York, is New Jersey."
And well, one time Los Angeles, but that was just a short visit.
But, over the course of the next month, the 23-year-old and the rest of Celtic Woman will see quite a bit of America. The group, known for its breathtaking vocals, will perform at the Clay Center Tuesday with the West Virginia Symphony. The show is part of a tour that will take the quartet all over America, with shows in Kansas, Texas, Georgia, and even a few in Canada.
It all sounds good to Carlin, who's looking forward to doing a little sightseeing when she gets a weekend off.
"My mother and Dad are coming over to visit," she said. "We're going to see the Grand Canyon!"
Carlin hopes to explore the country a little bit and visit some of the hidden gems in the places where Celtic Woman plays.
"I like to go where the locals go," she said.
For the last year or so, Carlin has been on a great adventure. Aside from joining Celtic Woman a few months ago, the singer was featured during January's Sons and Daughters Gala in her hometown of Derry, which helped mark the Irish city's years as the U.K.'s "City of Culture."
She recorded Carly Simon's "Let the River Run" with singer/actor Damian McGinty ("Glee"), which became an anthem for the city and got noticed by the songwriter.
Carlin said, "She liked it and invited Damian and I to come sing it with her at the Oceana Partners Award Gala with her son Taylor and Natasha Bedingfield.
"That was a real honor, and Carly has gotten behind the song."
Carlin said she and McGinty are planning on releasing the song. She also plans to release her own solo debut record in 2014.
But right now, she's on tour with Celtic Woman. Carlin said she could hardly believe it.
"It's funny how these things work," she said. "It was only six months ago that I was teaching singing three days a week in a theater school in London, doing that to support my singing. It's been a busy year, but it's been a great year."
But it took a long time to get to this year.
Carlin grew up in Derry in a musical family that liked to get together with friends and sing folk tunes around the fire. Her cousin is opera singer Ina Carlin.
While studying classical singing at Trinity College of Music in London, her cousin heard that her friend, record producer Frank Gallagher, was looking for someone to sing old Irish folk songs. She suggested Gallagher give Carlin a listen.
"So, he came to Trinity, and we got on like a house on fire," she laughed.
He liked what he heard and helped her develop her sound, while she continued her studies. Three years later, in her last week at Trinity, Carlin was signed to Decca Records. She recorded an album of pop songs. Celtic Woman got an advance copy of it.
"They liked it," she laughed.
Carlin was asked to come sing for David Downes, Celtic Woman's musical director.
"A couple of weeks later, I got the call, asking me to join," she said.
While she does have the single and the album coming out in the coming months, Carlin insists Celtic Woman is her chief project.
"The wonderful thing about Celtic Woman is they not only embrace you as being part of the group, they also embrace you individually."
All of the women in the group, she explained, come from different musical backgrounds. They have a variety of musical interests and the group has been fluid over the years with different members have left either permanently or temporarily to pursue them.
Carlin joined after soprano Chloe Agnew decided to take a break from Celtic Woman to focus on solo projects.
The rest of the group, she said, has been quick to welcome her.
"Everyone has been so lovely." Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.