independent

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Tommy Fleming celebrates 25 years in showbiz

Sinead Healy

Known as 'The Voice of Ireland' Tommy Fleming has been 25 years in the music business, receiving world-wide recognition with sell out concerts at home and abroad.

His natural singing ability was evident from an early age and he has turned his passion of singing and song writing into a thriving career.

Rounding up 2016 with the sold-out musical production of 'Paddy', Tommy is now taking his place centre stage kicking off his 2017 solo-tour in January playing in Ireland, England and Australia over the next five months.

"I have to pinch myself at times when I see I have sold out places like Australia, it is a proud moment," says Tommy.

2016 saw him tackle the world of acting, threading the boards as the lead character in the hit musical 'Paddy' set in 1960's Ireland.

It follows the journey of one Irishman - Patrick Murphy (Tommy Fleming) as he leaves his friends, girlfriend and family behind to make his fortune in London.

Rave reviews of Fleming's performance have been widespread; with sell out shows across the county the future looks bright for Tommy in the acting industry.

While he admits balancing the work load between acting and singing was hard, he won't close the door on acting just yet: "Taking the step into acting was huge for me, having to leave me behind and be someone else on stage. It was a brilliant experience and really enjoyable. However having a solo singing career and acting in the same year was quiet a task.

"I have three scripts on my desk at the minute, but I have to look at them and see time wise, what suits me and what would be worth doing. One of them is for the West End."

He adds: "Spending two hours on stage five nights a week and learning over 140 pages of script was very draining. It was a little under two years in the making and we spent a lot of time getting the script together as we had to get the story right.

"We then started rehearsals in early 2016 so we had months of preparation leading up to the opening night. We had brilliant training and working with the cast was amazing."

Proving popular among audiences the play was originally planned to run for a few weeks in Castlebar but took on a life of its own, selling out five nights in The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin and the West End in London.

Fleming believes its popularity was down to how relatable the story of emigration was and still remains: "The first few shows were emotional, it was amazing to see it strike a chord with the audience and to look out and see grown men crying in the crowd.

"My character was from 1964 and emigration was very different 40-50 years ago. In those days it took as long to go from Mayo to London as it does to get from Dublin to Sydney today. The world has become a much smaller place with the likes of Skype and the internet," adds Fleming.

After 'Paddy' Fleming went to America for his own solo-singing tour playing 27 sell out shows around the States from Boston to San Francisco.

So after 25 years, how does he keep his passion for music alive?

"I love my job, simple as. It does get hard with all the tours, flights and long nights. But I love doing what I do, the creative process of bringing back old songs and doing something different with them. The band is like a second family so it makes a big difference. I have a fantastic team behind me, from production, to management and a full orchestra and band. I love it."

While he has travelled extensively around the world Japan, America and Australia to name but a few, home is where the heart is and his Sligo show is a night not to be missed.

Tommy will play the Raddison Blu Hotel Sligo on the Saturday the 11th of February at 8.00pm.Tickets are €30 and are available on: 071-9140008 or from www.tommyfleming.net

Sligo Champion

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