ARTS AND FEATURES — 29 July 2014

Manchester-Irish country singer Shaun Loughrey

By David Hennessy

Country singing star Shaun Loughrey’s journey to winning countless awards, playing some “amazing arenas” is all the more amazing for the fact that he never thought of himself as a singer until relatively late in life.

Shaun’s father John Loughrey was a very popular and successful country and Irish singer who sang in the pubs and clubs of England long before Shaun’s arrival. In fact, John was singing when his wife Mary was in labour and announced his good news from the stage.

John Loughrey lost a brave and courageous fight against cancer in 2005. Two months later, the disease also took Shaun’s mother. Unsurprisingly, Shaun has spoken of how this was an extremely traumatic time in his life but the support of his friends and fans helped him through.

Manchester-born Shaun had never thought about pursuing a career on the stage himself until, at a family wedding not long after his parents’ passing, he was invited to sing with Rock Stewart’s band. Rock Stewart is Shaun’s uncle and a successful country singer in his own right.

Shaun reflects on his journey with The Irish World: “Up until my thirties, I’d never had any notion of singing at all but obviously with the tragedy in the family. It was my sister at my mum’s funeral who started the ball rolling by saying, ‘our Shaun can sing’. She’d never heard me sing ever, I asked her why she would say that. She said she has no idea herself but I really do believe it was a divine intervention of sorts, that maybe the way forward for me was singing, following in my dad’s footsteps- Not being the next John Loughrea but sing a few of my dad’s songs.”

Blown away by Shaun’s wedding performance, Kevin McCooey, who had managed Shaun’s father and other country names like Big Tom and Patrick Feeney, asked Shaun how he felt about fronting his dad’s band. Although he was unsure and reluctant, Shaun did get to work with the band and that was how a new career began. He has now recorded eight albums and is working on the eighth.

“It brought so much happiness to a lot of people because they just adored my dad and his music and thought it was fantastic that I was continuing on his name and singing his songs. I took great heart from that, that I really was doing something that was worthwhile.

“Also I believe it helped the family cope with the double loss, it gave us something to focus on other than the loss of my mum and dad. Everyone was then piling their energy into Shaun’s singing career. No one could believe I had just come out of the woodwork. Dad would never have mentioned me as being a singer in any way shape or form. People who knew dad very well probably thought: ‘How come John kept Shaun a secret?’ But he never had any idea, it wasn’t a secret. It wasn’t in the thought process of anyone.

“I really find it fascinating myself looking back because I’ve played some amazing arenas, some enormous crowds and I often go out there on a stage and think, ‘what am I doing here?’ It wasn’t in the script at all way back when and I’ve lost count of the number of shows I’ve done now. I enjoy every minute of it. I’m very blessed.”

For the full interview, see the August 2 Irish World. 

Shaun’s single It’s Me Who Loves Ya Baby is out now.

Shaun tours the UK in September playing St Margarets Irish Centre, Luton on September 5, South Croydon Irish Centre on September 6, Hampswaithe Memorial Hall on September 7, St Bernadettes on September 12, Conways 3 on September 13, Potters Leisure Resort on September 14, Lazyacre Shrewsbury on September 15, Royal British Legion, Banchory, Scotland on September 19.

Shaun will launch an album of covers on these dates with a new album of new material to come next year. His third DVD will be out for Christmas.

For more information, go to: http://www.shaunloughrey.co.uk/

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