Friday 20 October 2017

Watch: Irish musician with new single for 'anyone who has ever been bullied'

Northern Ireland-born actor and singer Conleth Kane is back in the limelight with the launch of his new single, Proud.

The Lurgan man, who had roles in the West End and appeared in high-profile TV shows including Casualty, revealed what inspired him to put pen-to-paper for his latest foray into the pop world.

"I wrote Proud because I was invited to perform at Pride in London this year, which was something that was very big for me," the 33-year-old said.

"I thought, I am starting to get noticed for singing so I'll write something specifically tailored to it."

What he was not expecting was the reaction he received about the song.

Proud was not written with the political slant on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in mind.

However, Conleth said he has been consistently asked if he wrote the piece with that in mind.

He added: "I suppose it is poignant and, of course, relevant to the LBGT community back home.

"That question kept coming from a London-based audience. People constantly ask me what sort of island is Ireland when you can only get married in three-quarters of it," he said.

Conleth has been a consistent and highly vocal advocate of equal rights for the gay community in Northern Ireland for a considerable period of time.

Unafraid to take direct swipes at political opponents of same-sex marriage, he said that his youthful experiences of discrimination and bullying because of his sexuality has only served to galvanise his resolve to keep on campaigning until the law is changed.

"The best writing comes from experience and therefore from the heart and from what you know," he continued.

"When I was 14 there was a non-uniform day at my school and I told my mum and dad I was going to wear a Spice Girls T-shirt.

"I could tell by their reaction that they thought I was going to get bullied or a battering for it, but they said, 'Wear what you want'.

"So I did, and for the next six hours at school I was made to feel very uncomfortable.

"In the video for Proud I made sure I wore a Spice Girls T-shirt and I told the cameraman to make sure it was included."

Conleth also contends that Proud is not a song solely for the LGBT community but for all people who have experienced bullying and discrimination in their lives.

Earlier this year the High Court dismissed two cases challenging Northern Ireland's ban on same-sex marriage. Delivering his judgement Mr Justice O'Hara said that the matter was something for the Stormont Assembly to decide upon, not the legal system.

He said: "It is not at all difficult to understand how gay men and lesbians who have suffered discrimination, rejection and exclusion feel so strongly about the maintenance in Northern Ireland of the barrier to same-sex marriage. However, the judgement which I have to reach is not based on social policy but on the law."

Proud can be download from today on both iTunes and Spotify.

Belfast Telegraph

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment