Belfast Telegraph

Singer Anthony Toner: 'I feel happy and relaxed if I'm left to my own devices in a cafe with a newspaper'

We ask local celebrities what are their most favourite things. This week: Anthony Toner

By Kerry McKittrick

The 52-year-old singer-songwriter has just released his latest album, Ink. He lives in east Belfast with his wife Andrea and has one daughter, Sian (32).

My best moment

Receiving a standing ovation at a sold-out audience at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast for the launch of my new album in April this year. That kind of achievement seemed unthinkable when I released the first one back in 2002.

My best song

It changes all the time. As a songwriter I'm always looking for something well-made that also grabs at the heart. It's hard to find anything that blows my mind more than America by Paul Simon (above) though.

My best way to relax

Good coffee, a good newspaper and some free time. If I can be left to my own devices in a cafe with a Saturday or a Sunday newspaper, I feel happy, relaxed and well-briefed.

My best job

After three decades of holding down day jobs, I went freelance to work as a full-time musician and artist about a year ago. I'm having the time of my life and will hopefully continue to do so as long as the phone keeps ringing.

My best bit of advice

My first father-in-law, the late Hugh McShane, told me to always buy the best you can possibly afford - in terms of tools, equipment, instruments, clothes, shoes and that sort of thing. The older I get I can see he was absolutely right about that.

My best movie

I'm a sucker for John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. My daughter Sian and I have a tradition - we watch it together every Thanksgiving and cry together at the end.

My best gift

About 10 years ago my wife Andrea bought me a little moleskine pocket notebook to carry around with me and capture ideas on paper. A habit was born, so by now I've filled about a dozen of them with lyrics and chord diagrams that I think would otherwise have floated away.

My best achievement

It's probably the corniest thing in the world to say, but my daughter Sian makes me proud every day of my life. Especially when I look around and see how easy it is to screw up as a parent.

My best buy

My lovely old Lowden O10 acoustic guitar. It cost me every penny I had at that time - about 25 years ago, but it has never let me down, always sounds good and looks well-loved all these years later.

My best book

Rock Springs, a collection of short stories by Richard Ford. I first read it about 20 years ago, and regularly pick it up. I'm such a book nerd, I flew to London last week to hear Ford read from his new book, and got to shake his hand.

Anthony Toner's new album Ink is now available, visit anthony or download from the usual sources. He is currently touring to promote the new CD, with dates at Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick on June 10 and the Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy on June 16

Belfast Telegraph


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