Trio shoot to fame with hit on YouTube
INTERNET country music superstars simply shouldn't have to worry about sitting their Leaving Cert.
But that's the headache now facing an 18-year-old boy whose family group, Crystal Swing, has become an overnight internet sensation thanks to a tidal wave of hype generated by bloggers.
Mother Mary Murray-Burke and her children Derek (18) and Dervla (17) soared from relative obscurity in their home village of Lisgoold in East Cork to the point where Newstalk and RTE are now fighting over their next appearance.
It was confirmed last night that Crystal Swing will feature on 'The Late Late Show' next Friday -- and that news has absolutely thrilled the Burke family.
Until recently the family group was only playing private functions like socials, weddings and club events.
Four weeks ago, the group's new single 'He Drinks Tequila' had 600 views on YouTube -- but yesterday the viewing figure had skyrocketed to a massive 143,718.
More than 80,000 views have been recorded in the past seven days alone.
"The whole thing has been a life-changing experience -- I don't think we would ever have thought this possible even in our wildest dreams," Mary said.
The only downside is that the tidal wave of publicity has occurred at precisely the time that Derek is preparing for his crucial Leaving Cert exams, which start next June in Midleton.
Mary admitted she was a little concerned at the impact all the hype would have on the teen's studies -- but said the overall reaction both in east Cork and nationally had been overwhelmingly positive to the band and its music.
Dervla and Derek have even been stunned by numerous requests for autographs. "We haven't had time to respond to it all -- there has been so much interest it has taken us all totally by surprise," Mary added.
She hopes that the publicity will give her children a priceless career opportunity -- and that they might even be invited to tour with an established group as a support act.
But she admits that the youngsters might have to branch out on their own if they are to enjoy a long-term career.
"We have worked very well as a threesome. But I think they want to have a career, maybe get to play some big concerts and, who knows, maybe even tour in America," she said.
A key trigger in the band's sky-rocketing profile was an appearance on digital channel Rural TV where the new single was featured in the 'Hot Country' slot.
"It has been crazy -- we never expected anything like this kind of interest," Mary explained.
"We have had every Irish newspaper and radio station on to us.
"We've even had calls from overseas. The song has been played a lot, and the amazing thing is that people are now starting to even recognise us on the street.
"We've even had to get new photos taken. The whole thing has been manic and the phone has never stopped ringing."
Mary has worked in the music industry for eight years while Crystal Swing, formed with her two children, has been performing since 2006.
American TV talk show star Ellen DeGeneres has 'tweeted' about the Irish group, and advised viewers to check out the new video.
The group has been swamped with requests for singles, CDs, videos and even a starring appearance at the Alternative Miss Ireland Show.
However, the guest slot with Ryan Tubridy has meant Crystal Swing cannot appear on Newstalk's Sean Moncrieff Show -- an RTE demand that Sean Moncrieff slated as unfair and "mean-spirited".
Sales of the new album 'The Best Years of Our Lives' have also started to soar, while requests for major concert appearances have started to flood in.