Ten minutes with Irish singer-songwriter James Keegan

Ten minutes with Irish singer-songwriter James Keegan

JAMES KEEGAN is a songwriter from Co. Cork.

This week he took time out from his songwriting and music-making to talk to the Irish Post…

What are you up to?

I’m currently working on some new music and preparing to record my next single.

Which piece of music always sends a shiver down your spine?

Where the Streets Have No Name by U2 always does. The opening riff, lyrics and vocals get me every time.

Which musician has most influenced you?

Glen Hansard. From the way he performs, writes and encourages songwriters - he’s amazing.

Who would be in your ideal band?

My ideal band would have The Edge on guitar, Paul McCartney on bass and vocals, Taylor Hawkins on drums and Jimi Hendrix on guitar.

How did you get started in music?

I started in secondary school. When I saw my friend could play the guitar, I thought that it would be cool to be able to play. Never turned back.

If you were told “musicians are no longer welcome in Ireland”, where would you go?

I would head over to England. There’s a great music scene over there.

Where are you from in Ireland, and what are your roots?

I’m from Mayfield in Cork. My family roots are from Keady in Armagh. My grandad moved down to settle in Cork in the 1970s.

What’s on your smartphone playlist at the minute?

Tomorrow’s Paper by Mick Flannery. Such a great song that I’ve only recently discovered.

Pantomime or opera?

Definitely pantomime

What is your favourite place in Ireland?

Cobh. Such nice people, a beautiful place with a historic background. I also cut my teeth gigging in Cobh.

Mozart or Martin Hayes?

Mozart. Symphony No.40 all the way.

What would be your motto?

Learn to smile. No matter what’s going on in your life good or bad, always smile; someone somewhere has it worse than you.

Which living person do you most admire?

I admire Roy Keane, as we’re both from the same area so it’s cool to see what he’s achieved. I’ll never forget him coming into my school and telling me to keep my head down and to keep going.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given this year?

To treat this year like any other year, but this time you have more experience.

Have you a favourite line from a song?

Definitely this lyric from First Times by Ed Sheeran

“The greatest thing that I have achieved

This four little words, down on one knee”.

It feels like will you “Marry me” has to come after, but it doesn’t and suits it so much.

In terms of inanimate objects, what is your most precious possession?

My most precious possession has to be my first guitar. I learned and wrote lots of songs with it.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

How supporting the community is of their own. They are the best.

....and the worst?

The stereotype the area has of being “rough”. All it does is make people think it’s a horrible place when in general it’s actually grand.

What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you?

Life has taught me to always be myself. I’ll always stand by that.

What do you believe in?

I believe in everyone trying to be the best person they possible can and to treat everyone with respect.

What do you consider the greatest work of art? 

In terms of music, I would definitely consider Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles as a great piece of art.

Who/what is the greatest love of your life?

I’m a mammy’s boy. No one is closer to me than my mother.