Entertainment / Q & A

Q&A with Gilbert O’Sullivan

Irish singer songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan will be celebrating five decades of music with a brand new album and UK tour. The 70s family favourite, with his hit tracks ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ and ‘Clair’ will be performing at The Grand Opera House York on March 20th For tickets please Click here!

How did you get into music?

In 1961 The Beatles came along, they were young, different and as you watched them you related to them. You thought to yourself, ‘I want to form a band like that’. This is what I started on. First a school band, then the idea became more serious over the years, then you have a career choice and I decided to have a go at music.

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How many instruments can you play?

I can play the drums, but the piano is the key to what I do. There’s always a piano in the house, and there used to be one in the shed when I was younger, that I used to practice on when I came back from college… at least until the neighbours complained!

What was the inspiration for your new album?

Well at the moment I’m preparing for a tour, so I won’t be writing songs. I’m meeting with the producers, and the ideas for my next album will depend on who I work with in terms of production. That’ll take place in the next few weeks.

What can fans expect from your tour?

I will be performing for two and quarter hours, so I’ll sing all the well-known songs that people want to hear, and tracks that people are looking forward to hearing. I’ll perform some new material, so it’ll be a good mix and in that time I’ll get to cover pretty much everything.

How does it feel to be back on tour? Is it bringing back good memories?

Everything I do revolves around the songs. If there are no songs there’s no artist. I think I have a good mix of material, and people seem to like it, so I enjoy it. I guess the key to live shows as apposed to making a record, is that you get to meet the people who are interested in you. You get to find out what they like, why they like you and what they don’t like about you. It’s bringing back good memories for people. I put heart and soul into everything I sing, even though I’ve done it a million times. It’s nice to meet fans and them telling you that your song means so much to them.

 Last week I did a solo show in Liverpool. I went to The Cavern and I did a show with me just on the piano. There’s something special about just sitting down on your own with a piano in front of an audience. The nice thing about that is the people get to hear the lyrics that you are singing, because there’s nothing else to detract from them. That experience of just performing on my own is very special.

gilbert-osullivan-brochureHow many tour dates do you have at the moment?

I don’t know at the moment, the idea is that every couple of years I will have a new album, and then get out on the road and tour. So you include all the well-known songs that people want to hear, then you include some of the new stuff, and that’s pretty much how it works. This year is a combination of what we started last year but we will be going to the places we didn’t get to cover last time, and it ties in with me being 50 years in the music industry.

Anywhere you’re looking forward to playing the most?

Liverpool is always very special to me. I played Liverpool last year and I’m going back there, Manchester and Birmingham are very special venues as well, but it’s nice going to places we haven’t been in a while. But it’s also nice to go back to places where you get a really enthusiastic welcome.

How does it feel to be celebrating 50 years in the music industry?

I accept everything that goes on, within the world I live in. I buy everything to be influenced not necessarily by the song but by the production value. I buy a Beyoncé albums or Jay Z records because the production value is amazing. After 50 years what can I say, I released my first record in 1967, and here I am all these years later. I’m still happy, enthusiastic and still enjoying what I do.

How has the music industry changed for you?

It’s changed for everybody, pretty radically. You just accept that change is there with downloading. The younger generation don’t really buy albums anymore, they just download them. If you want the album you download the album, if you want the booklet you can download it. It’s interesting to see the rise in vinyl. The technology is great, sitting in a studio with all the digital and up to date equipment. But for the work I do, I mainly use the piano or keyboard. So that’s the good thing for me, the technology isn’t necessary to me to be able to write songs. It would be sad for me if technology was necessary to write songs, that would be depressing.

Are there any artists you like in the charts?

I’ve just bought the new Little Mix album, I love The Weekend, he’s great. I also like empire the sun and Christine and the Queens. I think it’s important to keep up and its important as a writer to notice what’s going on.

By Georgie Dias

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