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Better Late Late than never

Country music star Clodagh Lawlor told David Hennessy about what it was like to win the Late Late Show’s search for a country music star and what she learned from The Voice of Ireland.

It was May 2019 that Clodagh Lawlor from Clare won The Late Late Show’s Search for a country music star. Now it is a year later Clodagh has just released the single Me and Johnny Cash and is working on an album.

Clodagh told The Irish World: “Going on The Late Late Show last summer kicked it off for me.

“Singing was always the dream. The country music scene is so small that nearly makes it a lot harder to try and just come in and say that you belong too. I said to myself, ‘If I don’t prepare myself, then I’ll never be ready for an opportunity’.

“I heard Mike Denver and Ryan Tubridy talking about this competition. I just said I would enter it. I went for the audition and just said, ‘If I don’t give my all here, I’ll only be kicking myself’.

“I was like, ‘This is my opportunity now’. I was gearing myself up and everyone was like, ‘Are you not nervous to be singing on The Late Late Show? I was like, ‘No, I’m not. I’m ready for this. All the years of getting things prepared and finally this is my break.


“My life changed when I won it. It was a snowball effect after that night. It was one thing after another.

“It’s only a year since all that happened and I never would have thought a year ago that I would be in the position to say that I’m doing an album and that I’m doing an interview with the Irish World now. It’s been incredible.”

The pandemic has put a stop to what Clodagh hoped would have been a busy summer of performing as well as finishing her album which was coming together.

“I had so many really, really good festivals lined up and unfortunately now they’re not going to go ahead.

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“And I suppose when you have committed to an album as well, you’re kind of thinking, ‘How will I pay for it? When am I going to generate enough money to finish the album?’

“But I’m the same as everyone. Everyone’s in the same boat at the moment.”

The Newmarket-on-Fergus country singer can’t conclude recording of her first album until the lockdown is relaxed enough to let her to meet with producer Peter Maher.

“It’s just a matter of getting down to Peter and finishing it. Peter text me the other day saying, ‘If they just lift the restrictions a tiny bit, you could come for work’. I don’t know if I went up to a checkpoint in the morning would the guards think my music was essential work.”

Busking since the age of 17, Clodagh was no stranger to RTÉ screens prior to her Late Late appearance having appeared on The Voice of Ireland in 2016.

“That was definitely a learning curve. TV shows are very funny, they’re not about music. I would say that.

“I think it kinda helped me decide what I wanted. For that I’m thankful but I wouldn’t be encouraging anyone to do any of those shows unless you have a really hard skin on you and that you know it’s not about music.”

On the tough rejection suffered by hopefuls on these kind of shows, Clodagh says: “It can get you down for a while and it got me down for a while but I woke up one morning and I just said, ‘You know what? If a producer who is 24, 25 does’t think that I’m a good singer who knows nothing about music, is that any reason to be getting down like that?


“That’s the kind of attitude I have now. I wish I had it when I was 18. I wouldn’t have got so down.”

We are in lockdown now. What crime would Clodagh be locked up for if she ever went to jail? “I’m very gullible. If I robbed a bank, I’d probably leave my number. I’m one of those people who can’t lie or anything like that. That’s why I would go to jail.”

The single Me and Johnny Cash is out now.

For more information, go to her website here.

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