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My Money

‘I felt so guilty about buying a guitar that I paid for my wife and her friend to go to Barcelona’


Dan Donnelly, of the Celtic Social Club

Dan Donnelly, of the Celtic Social Club

Dan Donnelly, of the Celtic Social Club

Dan Donnelly is the lead singer of the Franco-Irish band the Celtic Social Club. Originally from Belfast, Donnelly is now living in Stockton-on-Tees in England with his wife and two young children. Well-known for his previous work with the Nineties indie band Watercress, and the alternative rock band The Wonder Stuff, Donnelly has been with the Celtic Social Club since 2018. The Celtic Social Club released their new single ‘For Real’ last month. The single is from their fourth album, ‘Dancing or Dying’, which will be released this autumn. celticsocialclub.com 

What’s the most important lesson about money which your career as a musician has taught you?

You need multiple revenue streams – rather than one. You can only do so many live gigs without burning out. As well as my work with the band, I teach music and produce music videos.  

What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?

I’m surprised I’m still alive. I was so reliant on the live music scene that initially [when the crisis hit], I thought I’d starve. I’m surprised at how financially resilient I was. I never missed my mortgage and I made money in other ways. The pandemic has taught me I don’t need to be as busy as I was before. 

Your favourite song about money?

‘Money (that’s what I want)’ by the Flying Lizards. 

What’s the most expensive country you ever visited?

Finland. It was insanely expensive.  

What’s the most you’ve ever spent on musical equipment?

I’m setting up a music school and we’ve just spent about £30,000 (€35,000) on music equipment. In terms of equipment for myself, I spent €2,000 on a guitar before as I needed a decent one when I joined The Wonder Stuff. However, I felt so guilty about buying it that I paid for my wife and her  friend to go to Barcelona. My guitar has been called Barcelona since. 

What’s your favourite Irish coin?

I love the old Irish 50p with the bird on it. I like the old Irish coins.  

What was your worst job?

I started in bands when I was very young. My main job has always been a musician. When my first daughter was born, I became a school teacher for a few  years but I’ve since gone back to music. You’ve got to live on your own terms and be in a job that you like. Otherwise, all you’re doing is living from pay cheque to pay cheque. 

Your biggest financial mistake?

It’s yet to happen. I don’t have any savings or pension – but that’s the way I’ve chosen to live. Maybe in 20 years’ time, I will think that [lack of savings or pension] is a mistake. 

Are you better off than your parents?

No. My dad was in bands by night and a school teacher by day. So he worked 9-5, had savings and a pension and was responsible with money.  

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I’d get a bigger house. My five-year-old son has grown out of his room. 

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iTunes or Spotify?

Spotify is terrible for musicians. Everyone’s paying something to stream music these days so in some respects, Spotify is good for music – but the people who make the actual music aren’t getting money. Unless something is done about this, you’ll only hear music from rich people who have nothing to complain about.  

The last thing you bought online?

A PowerPoint clicker for my wife as she does podcasts. 

Do you ever haggle?

I won’t haggle for the sake of it. If I know something is good value, I’ll pay for it but if it’s overpriced, I’ll haggle. 

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

My computer – I need a decent one for editing. A good guitar. A decent microphone.  

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