Irish music icon Christy Dignam is lead singer of the popular Dublin rock band Aslan. Born in 1960, he was raised in Finglas by his parents, Teresa and Christy, and his early jobs included working on the conveyor belt in the Player Wills cigarette factory and working as a deck boy on boats. The band emerged in the 1980s and, after early successes, infamously imploded in 1988. Aslan reformed in 1993 and their song 'Crazy World' went on to become one of the most-played songs on Irish radio ever. Christy was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a form of blood cancer, in 2013 and is currently having chemotherapy. He has been married for more than 37 years to Kathryn. They have a daughter, Kiera, who is also a singer.
What's your earliest memory?
One of the earliest memories I have is of my dad singing in the kitchen while preparing Sunday dinner.
What was the first book you loved?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. It's where we got the name Aslan from - it is the Turkish word for 'lion'.
What's your best holiday memory?
Going out by bus during the summer from Finglas to beaches such as Sandymount and Bettystown.
What is your biggest fear?
The biggest fear I have is that this cancer will get me.
What are you most proud of?
My daughter, Kiera. She is an amazing singer in her own right and what she has achieved makes me very proud of her.
What's your least attractive quality - and what is your most?
Hmmmm... I tend to have a short attention span, which is my least attractive, and I'm very honest and open about everything, which is my most attractive.
What's the first thing you'd do if you were Taoiseach?
Make sure that every homeless person had decent accommodation and was not left abandoned on the streets.
What's your biggest insecurity?
If I was to lose my singing voice.
Who'd you most like to go for a pint with?
I'd love to spend a few hours with the late, great David Bowie - my biggest musical influence.
What fictional character do you most identify with?
Robin Hood. He took from the rich and gave to the poor.
What is your most treasured possession?
My dog, Jack. He is a Yorkshire Terrier and he comes everywhere with me. I'd be lost without him.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Breeding native Irish finches. It keeps me sane in this Crazy World.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Be nice to people you meet on the way up as you'll meet them again on the way down. So true.
What item in your wardrobe do you wear the most?
I have several Pretty Green jackets that I wear on and off stage - it's the clothing line designed by Liam Gallagher from Oasis.
Who are your heroes?
David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Bono, because they became the biggest acts in the world for all the right reasons: love of music.
When did you last cry?
My father's funeral in May.
What did you learn about yourself during lockdown?
How important family is.
What are you going to do right after this interview?
Take my dog for a walk.
What keeps you awake at night?
If I'm working on a new song and looking for a chorus, the song will go round and round in my head and I can't sleep.
What's your greatest passion in life?
To keep singing and performing.
If you had to choose just three adjectives to describe yourself, what would they be?
Truthful, Irish and proud.
What's your favourite film?
This Is Spinal Tap. It's a piss-take of the music industry but so true. Makes me laugh every time I watch it.
What's the last TV show you binge-watched?
Tiger King on Netflix.
What's the phone app you use most?
What one piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Don't do drugs.
What do you regret not doing in the last year?
I was asked to get up with U2 at one of their concerts and I couldn't do it as I was already booked for a charity gig. I wish I could have done both.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be to cure cancer.
What does your dream weekend look like?
My dream weekend at the moment would be two gigs with Aslan.
Do you believe in a God?
Yes, I do believe in God. When I flatlined in hospital, I was thinking, "Please God, let me live."
Aslan's new single 'Hold On' is available on all digital platforms, including iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Deezer