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Q&A: We catch up with country music star Nathan Carter

By Chris Jones

Ahead of a series of local shows, the Enniskillen-based country music star (24) on why he’s happy being single and, er, those saucy gifts from his female fans

Q: You’ve just released your first Christmas album. Is it something you’d wanted to do for a while?

A: It was just a last-minute idea, to be honest. We wrote the title track, Christmas Stuff, and I was just going to release it as a single, and then I got the idea in September that I should maybe get a whole album together.

Q: Was it strange singing Christmas songs in October?

A: Yeah, it sure was! We decorated the studio with Christmas trees and tinsel and got mulled wine out, to try to make it a bit more Christmassy.

Q: Your grandmother’s family is from Warrenpoint, so were you introduced to Irish music from a very early age?

A: Yeah, I was brought up with the Irish community in Liverpool, playing trad and singing. When I was 16 I started gigging in pubs and clubs in England, and I moved over to Ireland when I was 18. I put the band together and we’ve been together ever since.

Q: What made you decide to live in Enniskillen?

A: I love being on the water. I’m not a man for sports, I’m not mad into football or anything like that, but I’m into getting out in my boat and spending as much time as I can on the water.

I don’t think I’ll ever not feel like a Liverpool man, to be honest with you, but I definitely have a lot of connections here and Northern Ireland is home to me at the minute. I’m proud of that as well.

Q: Do you live on your own or do you have a partner?

A: I live on my own and I’m single at the minute, thank god! And trying to keep it that way as long as I possibly can.

Q: Your style of country music isn’t normally associated with lads in their twenties. Do your mates find it strange?

A: Oh yeah, definitely. My friends don’t really get what I do but I’ve always loved it and it’s great to have young people all over Ireland into the music I’m doing. I think the perceptions of country music have slightly changed, even since last year when Garth Brooks proved he could sell out five nights in Croke Park. Even U2 couldn’t do it so that shows you the popularity of country.

Q: How would you describe your fans?

A: We played a show last week and there was a kid of four years old and a woman called Maisie who was celebrating her 101st birthday with us that night. So that’s the age range of the fans. I don’t know of many music styles that attract such a wide age group.

Q: How do you deal with the attention you get from your older female fans?

A: I don’t think you ever get used to it, to be honest, but you just take it for what it is and I generally have a laugh and a bit of a joke. It’s all good fun. I get the odd present every now and again, which is unusual — anything from pictures to kettles and, yes, underwear. But nothing crazy.

Q: Why do you think you have become so successful at such a young age?

A: Hard work and determination. I’ve always been very determined, since I was 10 years old. When I set my sights on a new accordion or a PA system I’d go and work to get the money to get it and I’d do anything possible to make sure I got what I wanted. I’ve always been very driven and I’d say that’s what’s been the main thing.

Q: What ambitions do you have?

A: Definitely to have a top 10 album over the next couple of years. I signed a major deal with Decca Records this year and my first album is being released in March, and I’m going on tour then as well, playing in 15 major theatres in England.

  • Nathan Carter plays the Hilltown Hall, Newry, on Sunday. For these and further local dates in the New Year, visit www.nathancartermusic.com

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