Despite Five Decades In The Business Music Legend Declan Sinnott Reveals He Still Gets Nervous

Declan Sinnott

IRISH music legend Declan Sinnott has revealed he’s a big fan of modern artists such as Ed Sheeran.

And the musician, who has toured with Christy Moore for almost three decades, believes moving with the times are essential.

Declan, 65, who released his second solo studio album: Window On The World earlier this year, has a whopping 50 year experience of the Irish music scene.

Tonight (Wed Oct 7) he will take to the stage at the Black Box in Belfast alongside girlfriend singer/songwriter Vickie Keating.

Declan and Vickie

Declan and Vickie

Despite his vast experience and notoriety in the business he admits to still getting nervous before gigging.

He said: “Playing by myself on stage is completely different to playing with Christy. It’s more nerve wrecking – the nerves go up by a logarithmic amount, when I play with Christy I may not say a word all night whereas at my own gigs I talk a lot.

“If it matters to you you’re going to get nervous. When the nerves hit I just do my best and I try and concentrate on the job at hand. Vickie Keating – my girlfriend who sings harmonies with me – very often knows when I’m nervous and she talks me down. It helps to have her there.

“I’m less nervous at gigs where I’m not centre stage but at my own I like to be in the position to play right up to the minute I go on stage because that helps – I can go seamlessly to playing with no audience to playing with an audience – it’s like dribbling the ball in the tunnel.”

Although he has a lengthy career Declan wasn’t offered a record deal until he reached his 60s.

He said: “Warners Classics and Jazz offered me a record deal at 61 and it was the kind of offer you couldn’t possibly say no to.

“I was taken completely by surprise – I hadn’t written for a long time so I called a friend of mine Eoin O’Brien and asked him to give me a hand to sit down and write a few songs.”

But Declan hasn’t always been lucky in the business, the father of 10 children ranging in age from 16-42, says even he’s had his downtime.

“I spent a period of about five years at one point having very little work” said Declan, adding: “It’s not that long ago – about 15 years ago. At that time I was in a situation of not knowing which way to turn.

“I think people are afraid to talk about those times because it’s seen as a failure at that point in your career. There are so many actors who have the same thing – you don’t have a guaranteed continuum.

“I’m lucky I’ve been doing this for 50 years and I’m still doing it but when I think back to what my ambitions were as a young man – all I wanted to do was play in the local parish hall.”

Now five decades since he first started out Declan is not only embracing modern digital technology but has ambitions to collaborate with new artists.

He said: “I’ve had ideas driving along and if I have to stop at the lights I switch on the recorder on my iphone and I sing into it.

“I’m a gadget man, my father and my grandfather were both opticians and jewellers so I’m a tinkerer – on both my albums I played everything on the record – programming drums and playing bass on a keyboard to playing all the guitars and singing. I just love going down to the basement – my mancave.

“In terms of new music I really like John Hopkins, he’s not a singer he’s somewhere between ambient and dance music and he’s done work with Coldplay and Brian Eno.

“I hear an awful lot of Ed Sheeran, my youngest daughter is a huge fan.

“I’d love to get the chance to collaborate with some younger artists and I would be delighted to get asked to play with Ed Sheeran. I don’t like everything he does but I generally think he’s certainly a good player, a good singer and writes well.”

Declan Sinnott will play Belfast’s Black Box on Wednesday October 7.  Window on the World is out now.

About the Author

Tina Calder
Journalist, commentator, author and content creator specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.