From Daddy’s Girl to mother of six going for Glór Tíre glory

Mary Hoey told David Hennessy about her current bid for the Glór Tíre crown, getting started with music with her parents’ band at the age of nine and returning to singing after having six kids.

While her first steps as a singer were in her parents’ band Mary Hoey from Cullyhanna is making a bid for stardom on the current series of TG4’s Glór Tíre.

“It’s been great,” Mary says of the reaction to her performance on the show which got the Irish language country singing contest off to a strong start with her strong and assured performance of My Man Understands by Tammy Wynette.

“The phone’s been hopping with the messages and the comments. It’s been crazy.

“Even while the show was on, my phone was literally hopping. It was just, ‘Ping, ping, ping’: Just so many messages coming in people wishing me luck. Then of course after the performance my phone actually crashed a few times because there was so much going on on my phone.

“It’s been fabulous. I’ve never done TV before. It was crazy good. I even said it was like my mini Opry stage. I loved it. I absolutely had a ball. I really did. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to get back in there. Hopefully I get enough votes to get me into the live shows.”

Asked why she has never thought to enter such a show before, Mary says: “I never thought about it to be fair. I just wanted to get out and sing onstage. Theatre, pub or a club or wherever, I’ll do it. I never thought about doing any kind of TV show before. I was asked a few times before if I would do The Voice or The X Factor and things like that. That’s something that wouldn’t really interest me. It just wouldn’t suit me. I’d rather just take my own steps and if it’s meant to happen, it will happen.”

It was the well known musical family the Sheerins that convinced Mary to go on the show.

“It was actually Tom Sheerin that phoned me. He phoned me one Tuesday morning and said that he watched a few of my Facebook videos and he said that as a group, as a family they would love to have me on the show as their contestant.

“He said, ‘Would that be something you would be interested in?’ And I just said, ‘Absolutely, yes’. I didn’t even need to think about it. I was on the ball. I was ready to go.”

Mary has admired the Sheerins for a long time: “They’re so good. They would blow your mind they’re so good. They’re amazing. They’re too good. I was delighted to be asked.”

Mary has entered the show as Carmel Sheerin’s entry.

“I met Carmel a few years back in Monaghan at a country show. She’s lovely. She’s really, really sweet.

“We wouldn’t have been close friends but I’m sure we’re going to be really close after this.”

Although she has never done TV before Mary has been a long time in the business.

“I started singing in public when I was nine years of age.

“I started off with my parents. They had a little family band when I was small. I was showing a big of interest in playing the keyboard and my parents encouraged me to learn a few songs and then go out with them at the weekends. Back in those days, it was really busy. You would be doing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night gigging and then getting up for school Monday morning. It was quite hectic.

“I remember people in the audience looking at this little thing behind this huge keyboard. They had that, ‘Ah, would you look…’ That kind of look on their faces.

“And I remember TR Dallas had a song out called Daddy’s Girl and I used to sing that with my Daddy and up until my twenties I was still being asked to sing Daddy’s Girl and I was like, ‘No, I’m a bit too old now to be singing Daddy’s Girl. I’m not nine anymore’.

“When I was 17, I left my parents’ group because I wanted to go to the country shows. Then I got married, had a few kids and I always missed singing. Then I said, ‘My time is my time’. I went back out again.”

Mary was able to enter the show due to her six kids now being old enough (now between the ages of 22 and 5) to not require her at home as much.

“I’ve three boys and three girls. I have two sets. I have an older set and I’ve a younger set but the older set’s pretty big now and they take care of the younger set. I just leave them at it. It was like, ‘It’s time for me to get back out singing’.

“We say we have one to set up the gear, one to carry the gear, one to plug in the leads. We’ve got a job for each of them.”

How has the family dealt with the pandemic? “It has been strange. Not being out singing in public has been very strange but we’re a very private family and we always stick to our own group because there’s so many of us, I suppose. It’s a laugh a minute in this house. It’s just good fun here with the whole lot of us together. We’ve very glad of the time being together.”

Mary got very strong comments from the judges that included being compared to Karen Carpenter: “We actually recorded it back in November and because they were talking in Irish on they day I hadn’t a clue what they were saying.

“But they were all smiling so I said, ‘That’s got to be a good sign’. So I just smiled back.

“So whenever we watched the show on TV that was when I actually knew what they said about me. I was buzzing. They were fantastic comments. They were amazing. Loved it.

“Anybody who is anybody in the music business is going to be watching the show every week and hopefully they’ll pick up on something they like as far as I’m concerned. If I get to the end obviously it’s going to be fabulous. The exposure itself is incredible for me.

“Because I do a lot of songwriting as well some people might want to write with me or record with me. There’s an endless amount of possibilities in store for me at the minute. I’ll keep my options open and I’ll jump on any bandwagon that’s going.

“I would like to thank everybody who voted and supported me for all their comments. Like I said to a friend earlier, there’s not enough thank yous in the dictionary, there’s not enough words to say thank you enough for everybody’s support and the encouragement.”

Mary used to visit family members in London when she was still a child and says her musical family have been immensely proud: “Beaming smiles from ear to ear. Just very, very proud. It was nice for me to see them being so proud of me as well. It was a nice buzz.”

You can view Glór Tíre on the TG4 player.

You can vote for Mary by downloading the Glór Tíre app and getting five free votes.

You can get more information on Mary by searching for Mary Hoey Music on Facebook and YouTube.

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