Belfast Telegraph

Cookstown singer Eamonn McCrystal set for stardom in US

By John McGurk

Cookstown-born Eamonn McCrystal, back home for a triumphant home town concert this week, is set for stardom in the United States.

The 25-year-old Los Angeles-based singer is being steered in his career by the woman responsible for the success of country superstar Randy Travis.

Modest Eamonn said All Ireland Catholic primate, Sean Brady and Downtown Radio host George Jones were both instrumental in helping him focus upon a full-time music career.

“My school, Holy Trinity College is really where all the music started for me. I had a fantastic music teacher, Mrs Dinsmore.

“She was one major reason why I got started in music. But George Jones is another reason.

“When I was younger (nine years old), my mother called BBC Radio Ulster and I got to sing the Eva Cassidy version of Fields Of Gold over the phone to George. Because of that, I got to sing at George’s live Christmas show broadcasts from the Ulster Hall and later on, I actually did my work experience on George’s show. We became friends and radio became a passion of mine.”

Eamonn trained as an English and RE teacher and also worked for the BBC — setting up a radio station at a London college.

The creative all-rounder revealed that he had also once considered the priesthood. But it was ‘the man at the top’ who insisted that he concentrate on his first love — music.

“I was very serious about the priesthood around the age of 17 or 18. My father Jim got a Papal medal from the Pope and a lot of religious people were always around at our house.

“When I was getting ready to make the transition from school, Cardinal Sean Brady told me ‘well, I don’t need another singing priest. I need a real priest’.

“He advised me to go and pursue my music career and if that didn’t work out, come back and see him. So, I haven’t seen him since!” laughed Eamonn.

It was taking a series of wrong turns while working as a driver in Ireland in 2009 for country singer Randy Travis and his former wife-manager Elizabeth which set him on the road to Stateside stardom.

Highly impressed after hearing one of Eamonn’s CDs, Elizabeth immediately gave Eamonn a slot during Randy’s Irish live shows; signed him up and brought him to Los Angeles.

A St Patrick’s Day 2012 appearance on the top rated Rosie O’Donnell US chat show and regular touring has made Eamonn one of the top tips for Stateside stardom. But home is where Eamonn’s heart is — and that’s why he is set to debut his new stage show in Cookstown’s Burnavon Theatre this Thursday.

In the audience will be proud parents, Jim and Ann and countless relatives and friends and the show will be streamed on time delay in the USA on his new internet TV station, The Eamonn McCrystal Network.

As he plans his next career moves in his ‘condo’ in the Hollywood Hills, Eamonn acknowledges that it’s all a long way from singing at weddings and funerals in Cookstown.

“I always wonder ‘how did I get here?’. I realise that grateful words from one person to another have changed my life. I am so grateful to all of the people who helped me to get to where I am today.”

Tickets for Eamonn’s Burnavon Theatre, Cookstown show on Thursday are £16.50 — available from the box office, 028 86769949 or online at

Belfast Telegraph


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