By David Hennessy
“I just laugh,” says down to earth country star Lisa McHugh when asked about being a sex symbol. The Scottish-born Irish World Award winner is one of an exciting new crop of country singers that is rejuvenating a genre that once seemed untrendy.
“I don’t see myself as any kind of sex symbol. Obviously it’s very flattering but I never really take myself seriously. My main focus is always on the music and obviously you have to always try and look your best and stay in shape but my main focus will always be on the music and not how sexy I’m looking.”
Prior to their emergence, it may have been seen as an old person’s genre of music but performers like Lisa, Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan have breathed new life into Irish country music, bringing it back to an audience and high in the charts once again: “I’ve always been a fan of country music and Irish country and my parents would have gone along to see all the dances, the likes of Philomena Begley and Daniel and Margo and any chance I got, I wanted to go. I was without a doubt by far the youngest person in the room, it wasn’t seen as cool to be listening to country music in secondary school in Glasgow but that never put me off and when I started singing country music, it then gave me the bug to follow what I had watched for so many years.
“When Nathan started on the scene, it really did start a new trend, country music became cool. We’ve really seen a new lease of life with the younger people coming to the shows. The demand has just completely catapulted and we’re delighted. We hope that it doesn’t end any time soon.”
Lisa performed her new single Applejack for the first time on IrishTV last week: “I was delighted to be able to showcase it for so many people on the first performance and I was delighted with how it went. There has been an incredible response which is very exciting. Applejack is a very catchy song and the lyrics in it are very simple and we wanted to release a song that would make people want to sing along and get up and dance and enjoy themselves and from the reaction I’ve had so far, it seems to be going down extremely well so fingers crossed, you never know what could happen with this one.”
Applejack is a little taste of the new album that will follow Lisa’s Dreams Come True: “This is the first single from my forthcoming album which we’ll hopefully be releasing around September time, we’re working hard in the studio now getting lots of tracks down and writing some songs as well but I’m delighted with how it’s sounding so far so I’m really excited to bring it out, let people hear new music.”
And it will not be long before Lisa can be seen on IrishTV again presenting a new programme that is sure to go down well with country music fans: “I’ll be having my own TV show from the autumn time. it’s called On the Road with Lisa and I’ll be going around all the well known country artists, the likes of Nathan Carter and Jimmy Buckley, Robert Mizzell and Hugo Duncan and we’ll also have newer artists like Lee Matthews. My aim is to find out as much about these people as I can, and what makes them get out of bed in the morning and what we don’t get to see. We don’t ever get to see behind the scenes or what they do in their spare time so I’ll be drawing that out of them. The filming’s been great fun so I’m really excited to bring it to the TV.
“I’m still very much 100% focused on my music and my career but it’s great to be able to dabble into new things and to try the TV side of things as well.”
For the full interview, see the June 21 Irish World.
The single Applejack is out now with a video coming in the next couple of weeks. Lisa’s next album is expected in September. On the Road with Lisa comes to IrishTV in the autumn. For more information, go to