Belfast Telegraph

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Antrim singers put their faith in music after overcoming drug and alcohol addictions

 

Singers Jordan Mogey and Andy Calderwood.
Singers Jordan Mogey and Andy Calderwood.
John Toner

By John Toner

A pair of Co Antrim singers have opened up about how music, faith and love turned their lives around.

Jordan Mogey and Andy Calderwood met last year through a common love of gospel and country music, but also have a shared experience of alcohol and drug abuse.

After striking up a friendship the pair have begun collaborating on music which explores their struggles.

Speaking in a BBC documentary, Mr Mogey said: "I did a lot of stupid things, self-inflicted things I will say, but I've had a lot of mental health issues as well. There's a stigma to it and that needs to get stamped out.

"You find your way of coping I suppose and with me it would be music, which is my church I suppose. I struggled a lot with mental illness since my teens and music is my escape.

"I didn't even think I was going be a singer, it wasn't in my mind to do it. All I wanted to do was drink and take stuff, I left school to pursue a career in that. Music pulled me out of that hole. I would call myself more spiritual than religious really but I think music is a very spiritual thing.

"Hankaholic" Mr Mogey sports a Lonesome tattoo inspired by his hero, country music legend Hank Williams, and struggles with his mental health throughout the filming of the BBC show.

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He is supported by his friend Andy Calderwood, who also left behind a dark past of violence, drugs and sectarianism after finding God and music.

New father Andy tells the show: "For me the most important thing is my faith and singing my faith and the truth that contains.

"I was aggressive, violent, sectarian and addicted to everything. I could be six foot under years ago between alcohol abuse and being involved in drug abuse. I'm very thankful to be still here.

Singers Andy Calderwood and Jordan Mogey.
Singers Andy Calderwood and Jordan Mogey.

"I was 17 and I went to Amsterdam, I was a wee bit green on it, ended up discovering some things over there that I probably shouldn't have discovered.

"My love of the clubbing scene grew and I got deeper into the rave music, drugs and all. I became very sectarian and had a lot of hatred as a young person. I never thought I'd meet a beautiful nurse and even get married."

During filming Jordan suffered mental health issues and ceased taking part in the show but returned once he had recovered.

He speaks openly about his struggles but says he is recovering well and has found love.

He added: "The pressure of the whole world is on you, that's what it feels like. I'm getting stronger and stronger, I'm as strong as I've ever been and I've folk around me to help me and encourage me. At the minute I'm in a very good place, I've got a beautiful lady by my side and I'm feeling good."

Lonesome is due to be broadcast on BBC Two NI tonight at 10pm.

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