Saturday 25 March 2017

Star Simon lives Nashville dream

Up and coming young country star Simon Peters poses with his guitar in the snow
Up and coming young country star Simon Peters poses with his guitar in the snow

Edel O'Connell

Move over Daniel O'Donnell: Ireland's newest country music star is a Stetson-wearing 10-year-old schoolboy who writes his own songs and has taken Nashville by storm.

Talented Simon Donegan, from Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, has been writing his own lyrics and music since he was eight and his performances have received thousands of hits on YouTube.

The schoolboy recently became the youngest person ever to be invited to perform at Nashville.

His mother, Tammy Donegan, said she knew her little boy was special when he started singing at a very early age and composing his own songs. But she had no idea he would become such a music sensation.

Simon, who goes by the stage name Simon Peters, sang one of his own songs in public for the first time at his uncle's wedding when he was just eight.

Popular country singer Eamon McCann, who was a guest at the wedding, was so impressed by Simon's melody that he helped him to record it.

"Simon sang a song he had written called 'The Offaly Rover' which is about another country singer John Hogan; he recorded it and his career really took off from there," said his mother.

The young boy was delighted when he was contacted by RTE to audition for the recent 'Late Late Toy Show'.

"He got through on the first round and performed live on the show, which was absolutely fantastic. Every child absolutely loves the 'Toy Show', so he was over the moon," she said.

However, his most memorable performance so far was in recent weeks when Simon became the youngest person ever invited to perform live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Simon sang on the second oldest running radio show in the world, 'The Midnight Jamboree', which is performed in front of a live audience and reaches millions of listeners across the US.

Show-stopping

The invitation came after Simon's show-stopping performance at the third annual country music festival in Letterkenny with country music legend George Hamilton in June. Hamilton then asked Simon to perform in Nashville.

And he made such a big impression on Hamilton that he was invited to return next year.

"We were absolutely gobsmacked by his performance and the standing ovation he received afterward," said his mother.

"We are so proud of him, he is a little star. He was always singing when he was a little baby, but we never thought it would come this far."

Simon's new CD, 'Living My Dream', is out now.

Irish Independent

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