Daniel O'Donnell on his brand new album 'Daniel' and his hopes to be back on tour and performing in Blackpool in 2021
He’s the record breaking country music inspired singer, who is adored by millions of fans across the world and in 2019 broke his own world record, becoming the first recording artist to chart at least one new album each year in the artist albums’ chart for 32 consecutive years.
But unassuming Donegal-based entertainer Daniel O’Donnell MBE insists he just loves to sing.
And to prove the point the 58 year-old crooner this week releases new studio album ‘Daniel.’
He describes the 13-track recording as a slightly new sound, having teamed up with famed producer Nigel Wright, known for his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber and as a member of the 1980s English jazz funk outfit Shakatak.
Fans will have to wait a little longer for the rescheduled tour, which O’Donnell and his band were due to embark on earlier this year but is now penned for autumn 2021 with a date at Blackpool Opera House on October 12.
Visit; https://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/whats-on/daniel-o-donnellIn the meantime like many other artists he has turned to the digital world to share his craft and next month live from the Millennium Forum Theatre in Derry he will perform his first ever virtual concert.
He is giving his services for free in recognition of the plight of many workers in the entertainment industry and ticket proceeds from the show will be shared with many of Daniel’s wider team.
He says: “Obviously the tour was postponed but that is the case for everybody in the music and arts and other areas too but especially in entertainments.
“There’s no possibility of doing a concert where people will be in front of you for the foreseeable future.
“We were supposed to be on the road this month obviously and the first shows we will do, please God, will be next August in Ireland in Killarney and then going away from that the UK tour.
“No one really knows but you have to plan and hope in a positive way that we will be able to do these things.”
It is with hope and positivity, Daniel has embraced the best part of 2020, at his home in north west Ireland, which he shares with wife Majella, an avid mental health campaigner.
Having been an open speaker on living with depression, she founded Donegal Mind Wellness in 2014.
Daniel says during lockdown, the peace and beautiful setting of Donegal was “a real blessing”.
He explains: “We have so much open space to walk around, a beautiful garden - that part wasn’t so difficult for us.
“It’s still difficult for many people, with so many restrictions in place and that’s why I sat and thought what can I do?”
Daniel is one of Ireland’s most successful recording artists and has travelled the world numerous times over but insists he has the same love and affection for his music as he did when he first joined his sister Margo’s band in the early 1980s.
The youngest of five children, growing up in Kincasslagh, he loved music as a child and after a very brief spell considering a career in banking, instead embarked on a path to musical fame.
It was in 1985, he was introduced to his manager Sean Reilly and in his career since has amassed 39 Top 40 albums, including 17 Top 10 albums.
He says: “I enjoyed the early part of lockdown but now I do periodically take breaks of a month or so now so I had planned in March I wasn’t going to do much anyway with exception of a few of my charity shows I said I would which, of course, then got cancelled.
“Then there was a TV show supposed to be recorded that couldn’t go ahead, in August I was supposed to be in New Zealand and Australia and that was pushed back.
“But I have enjoyed the time off, nicer if it hadn’t have been the circumstances it has been and the uncertainty of it all now for everyone is difficult.
“So now I’m promoting the album and then on November 1 I’m streaming a live show, going into the theatre in Derry and this came about because I am very aware of the people who work with me, the crew, the band to the office staff who haven’t had any income since March, other than Government payment. It is helpful but not enough and I was prepared to do the show, I don’t need the money.
“It is €20 to get the live access for the show from 7pm on the night but once people have paid the subscription, you can watch it for seven days after and more than once.
“I just felt for the team and this once it was right to charge and do something.
“There is nothing like a live audience but this way people can at least enjoy the songs from the comfort of home with no queue for the bar.”
Daniel has embraced the digital world and says this year he has performed virtually for fans through his Facebook page but admits his heart is in true live performance and that intimate interaction he has built with his fanbase in the past three decades.
He adds: “There are so many songs that have got us this far, there are an amount of songs people expect to hear and that’s what we try to do, pick out the songs that have got us to where we are, with a few new ones I’ll be adding from the recent album.
“It’s a mixture always - the songs Stand Beside Me, I Just Want To Dance With You, Our House Is A Home, I Need You all these songs I sing at every show and never take them out or tire of them.
“The interaction with people, wherever it is, no matter the venue, a theatre, a small venue or a bar in Tenerife when I go on holiday and sing with a local musician, I get as much out of that as I do in a big theatre.
“I do love Blackpool as a place for performing, I’ve been coming for many, many years it has a very special charm about it and the theatres are just fabulous. The Opera House has such a lovely atmosphere and has such history with it.
“Blackpool is just, as a destination for music, as it always has been and it’s accessible so fans like to travel to the shows.”
Among his new tracks on the Daniel album is a song he has re-recorded as a duet with Majella called Remember Me.
He says: “We sang this song on the Late Late Show in Ireland during the pandemic, we went on to assist a charity. But we dedicated the song to all who had lost loved ones and it was very acoustic the way we did it and it sounded just right, so we re-recorded it that way, remotely and that’s the album.
“We’ve always loved it.
“It was a very relaxed experience putting this album together and I enjoyed it.”
Other highlights of the record include Memories Are Made Of This, made famous by Dean Martin, Daniel’s version of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect; Forever Young written by American folk legend Pete Seeger, Love Can Build A Bridge, which was originally released by The Judds, Come What May, Dance The Night Away, and his take on the classic hit Take Good Care Of My Baby by the legendary Bobby Vee.
He adds: “It will be interesting to see how the audience responds to this album or if they’ll notice any difference.
“I have to like all the songs that appear and feel them to sing them. I love Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, from the first time I heard it, I like so many of Ed’s songs but not all I feel I would be able to sing myself.
“Perfect was the one, I instantly thought maybe I’ll record that someday, so here it is."
Daniel the album out October 16.
For information on the virtual concert visit danielodonnell.org