Guest vocalists Shóna and Simon Morgan will join Niall and his fellow musicians to perform an evening of Christmas favourites alongside timeless classics taken from his three No1 selling albums. We had a chat with them all in advance of the show.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up?
Niall – I grew up in Artane, Dublin. My two brothers joined the Artane Boys Band and I followed in their footsteps. It was fairly full on, at least two hours practice or rehearsal five times a week plus gigs at Croke Park and all around the country at weekends.
Shóna – I come from Killiney and I grew up Irish dancing until my late teens. That gave me a huge interest in Irish music and culture. From there, I started singing and began to do a lot of musical theatre productions.
How long have you being playing the trumpet?
Niall – I feel very old saying this but it’s coming up to 27 years, I started very early!!
Shóna – I feel like at this stage I could almost play the trumpet.
Simon – I only sing like a trumpet when I’m mimicking Niall or showing him how something should sound.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Niall – Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Chris Botti, Frank Sinatra and all the opera greats. I do love pop music also, the diva’s, Whitney in particular.
Shóna – Every car journey my mum played Celine Dion religiously. Eva Cassidy’s interpretations mesmerise me also.
Simon – Chet Baker, Sinatra, Gordon MacRae, Sherill Milnes, Nelson Eddy
What type of music do you like to play?
Niall – I love playing ballads and tangos. Anything with a great melody works well on the trumpet. I also love playing music that I know will connect with an audience, there’s no point in playing mad stuff if no-one will enjoy listening to it.
Simon – Easy Listening Jazz, Romantic Opera, Folk
Shóna – I think all singers love a good ballad.
Where did you study music?
Niall – After the Artane Boys Band, I went to the DIT Conservatory, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, London.
Simon – RIAM, UCD, Royal Scottish Conservatory
Niall, Rumour has it you met your fiancée here in the Civic, please tell us more?
Niall – Ha, yes, so I was in the pit for the Harold’s Cross, Tallaght Musical Society’s production of the ‘Hot Mikado’. Shóna was the leading lady on the show. She was incredible in the role, a triple threat, singing, dancing and acting. Anyway, fast forward a year or so and we finally went on a date and the rest as they say is history. We are very lucky to be now performing all over the world together. This year we performed in the USA, Scandinavia and Europe and we also did out first Irish tour with a show at the National Concert Hall with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
Are you looking forward to your concert in the Civic?
Niall – Yes, I can not wait. Our last show was so much fun. I love the Civic for many reasons, including the answer in the previous question but also, the Civic was where I played my very first professional gig about 18 years ago. It’s an incredible theatre with a fantastic community spirit. Our Valentine’s show was really special as it was the final show in our very first Irish tour and we were blown away by the reception received. Although I am from Artane on the Northside of Dublin, the Civic really does feel like a second home to me. The welcome we get from the staff and the audience here is heart warming.
Simon – I cannot wait, I love returning to such the great venue, it’s wonderful having such an intimate space, in which you can really interact with your audience.
Shóna – I absolutely love the Civic. I love attending and performing in this space. It’s especially great to be performing here at Christmas time.
What’s the best part about performing?
Niall – Without sounding cliché, it’s like going on an emotional rollercoaster and brining your audience with you. It’s connecting with a song, each person will think of something different when they hear a particular melody. It could remind them of times past, a loved one, a good time, anything really. I love it when someone comes up to us after the show and tells us their favourite song of the night and the reason why. It’s essentially about making people happy and letting them forget all their worries for at least a couple of hours. Performing on stage with your friends who happen to be some of the countries best musicians is also brilliant.
Simon – A shared moment with the audience, where all else is forgotten but the emotion and story of a song.
Shóna – Ye, what they said!!
Who do you think would enjoy this show?
Niall – This show certainly has something for everyone if they like good music. All our shows are family friendly and we perform such a varied mix of music, pop songs, ballads, classical, jazz, tango and more. Everyone on stage is featured and has their moments throughout the show, so although I’m leading the evening, I too get to be an audience member for parts of the show. Each show is different in that we change up how we play each song each night, no two nights are the same. On our last tour we had folks attend up to three shows, they loved that although the set list was the same each night, how we performed each show was different. This show ‘Home for Christmas’ is made up almost entirely new material for the festive season.
Simon – I think every age group and lovers of all types of music will enjoy this show; there is a lot of soul, a lot of great musicianship, but overall a great entertaining evening of classic pieces of music, and a programme designed for everyone to enjoy. A celebration of great Christmas pieces.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
Niall – Simon left this one blank and he’s way more interesting than me. Okay, so It’s not that interesting but I did at one point want to switch from trumpet to trombone in Artane but I was not allowed to, I was told that my arms were too short for trombone.
Shóna – I’m a qualified Psychotherapist and I have a couple of World medals from my Irish Dancing Days.
Thanks guys, we’re off to buy a hat 🙂 Congrats
Niall O’Sullivan & Friends: Home for Christmas
Wednesday 6th Dec 8pm
Tickets €22/ €20