Ten minutes with... Tommy Fleming

Ten minutes with... Tommy Fleming

Tommy Fleming was born in Aclare, Co. Sligo in 1971. The youngest of six children, he started singing while still at school before fronting his own local band. His break came when he bumped into songwriter and musician Phil Coulter.

Fleming sang on Phil's US tour and was signed as a solo artist. His career was looking up when a car accident left him with a broken neck. Fleming recovered, made it back to the stage and has since enjoyed a successful career spanning the past 18 years.

What are you up to right now?

I'm recording my new album in London. It's called The West's Awake. I'm working on it with producer Mike Moran who worked with Freddie Mercury and Queen. He wrote their hits Barcelona and Don't Stop Me Now. This is the first time I have recorded an album outside Ireland and it has given me a chance to work with many famous musicians from all over the world.

Who are your heroes?

Musically - Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Rod Stewart. You couldn't find a more diverse gathering of singers but they represent what real singing is about for me.

I have other heroes in my life. My late parents, my wife Tina who's the strongest person I know. I could also go down the route of Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, etc. these were heroes to the world, so my heroes are people who have influenced me in my life.

What's been the best decade of your life so far and why?

The 2000's. I made huge changes in my life when I left behind a lot of influences and people in my life that were causing me a lot of problems. I took control of my life and my career and from that point on I enjoyed working and living. I also got married in that decade.

What record sends a shiver down your spine?

Andrea Bocelli's Vivere. It's the most relaxing and enlightening album I listen to and never ceases to give me the goose bumps.

What is your favourite place in Ireland?

The west. I have lived in several countries and cities around the world and I never realised exactly what the west of Ireland had to offer until I returned and settled there. The west offers living that is healthy, active, tranquil... it might rain a little too much but when the sun shines there's nowhere in the world like it.

What makes you angry?

Cruelty to children or animals. Corrupt politicians and governments and, of course, the most modern frustration has to be slow broadband!

What book influenced you most?

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. I read it on holiday in Spain about five years ago and it changed my outlook on many things in life including religion.

What was the worst moment of your life?

March 2012 at London 02 Sheperd's Bush Empire, when I received a phone call from my sister Cathy to tell me that our mum was dying. The call came in about 10 minutes before I went on stage to perform a concert to a full house. It was too late to cancel the show and there was no way of getting a flight at that point, so I had to go on stage and perform the concert.

It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do and I can only apologise to anyone who was in the audience that night as I certainly was not myself. A week later both my mam and dad passed away on the same day. I pray I never have another moment like that.

Which local star in any field should the world outside Ireland know about?

Rebecca Storm. She has the most enchanting voice.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?


What is the best lesson life has taught you?

Time is a great healer. I have had many disappointments, troubles, losses in life and love. The one and only thing that got me through all these tough times was time.

What is your favourite film and why?

The Prince of Tides.

What do you believe in?

I was raised Catholic but I'm not a practising Catholic. Over the years my attitude towards religion has changed drastically. There have been too many lives lost and too much bloodshed in the name of religion so, I have my own way of talking to God. I talk to my mam and dad every day. I probably talk to them more now than when they were both alive.

Where do you live and what is the best things about it?

On the north west coast of Ireland by the ocean. It's heaven on Earth, even when the storms are force 10. That's when I like it the most.

What trait do others criticise you for?

Being direct to the point of being blunt. As I get older I'm less tolerant of crap from other people. I'm pretty impatient too.

On what occasion is it OK to lie?

It's never really OK to lie but, when the truth will cause more damage than the lie, I guess sometimes it may be necessary.

What do you consider the greatest work of art?

The Storm on The Sea Of Galilee by Rembrandt.

What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

Lazy Sunday afternoons when we're in the pub with friends and pints, it's probably an obvious answer but I don't get to do that very often.

Who is the love of your life?

My wife Tina.

For tour dates in September visit www.tommyfleming.net