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Andrea Corr returns with solo Christmas set for a special cause


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Andrea Corr

Andrea Corr

Andrea Corr

SHE was once voted the most beautiful woman in the world so it's no surprise the idea of sitting opposite Andrea Corr on Zoom on a grey Monday morning would strike fear into most female writers.

But the 45-year-old can't stop laughing when I confess that I had got up early to wash my hair and dress up especially for her, even applying a dash of lipstick - only for the interview to be switched to the phone.

"I think you would be pretty pleased with yourself if you saw me," she jokes with her soft Dundalk lilt. "You'll be glad to know that I'm not just in a slinky dress with my hair blow-dried every day that is for sure. Thank God. It's very much mother of two in a tracksuit today."

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, The Corrs - Andrea, elder sisters Sharon and Caroline and brother Jim - sold more than 40 million albums internationally thanks to hits such as Breathless and Runaway.

Having married Brett, son of Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond, 10 years ago, she moved from London back to Dublin where they had two children, Jean in 2012, named after Andrea's late mother, and Brett Junior in 2014.

But she's stepping away from her domestic bliss to return to making music, releasing a festive EP called Christmas Songs that holds special memories for her.

The songs include a cover of Judy Garland's version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, which she feels resonates as much today as it did when it came out in 1944 with the lyrics of "next year we will all be together" as well as "muddling through".

"The idea for the album began last year when I did a fundraiser for Dublin's Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross. I met residents and was profoundly affected by the dignity, the respect for people and their families at that incredibly important time in life," she said.

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The Corrs

The Corrs

The Corrs

"I sang at the concert and everyone held candles up to the sky while I was singing. I was looking down at this sea of lights and the emotion of people holding them and my own experience. I didn't have experience of palliative care in my life before this because you know my mum passed away quickly and my dad, likewise. But I felt the appreciation of a stranger actively looking after my mother. The love and care they give to that patient in the bed.

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Andrea Corr and mum Jean

Andrea Corr and mum Jean

Andrea Corr and mum Jean

"Singing that night planted the seed and then you know Covid happened and that resonated even more with me. I decided to do this to raise awareness for the hospice as well as donate some money to them."

Another poignant song for Andrea is O Holy Night, which she used to sing with her father, Gerry, and has her reflecting on previous Christmases.

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Andrea Corr with her father Gerry

Andrea Corr with her father Gerry

Andrea Corr with her father Gerry

"Christmas with the family was great in our house. When mum was alive, there was a lot of drinking and eating. And we did sing every year these carols and I sang O Holy Night with dad. Our relations would come around after dinner and we'd sing together around this table but we haven't had it together in a long time. When mum died, dad would say Christmas is a time of absences and that's true. We have to embrace the empty chair."

Like everyone, Andrea won't be having a typical Christmas this year but is grateful for her children who are excited at the prospect of Santa Claus and presents.

"It's hard to plan. It is weird as you don't really know what's happening. The kids are very excited for the tree and they loved The Late, Late Toy Show. I'm really fortunate with the age of them I think and their world is really quite nice. They are all excited. Santa's coming and it's been good," she revealed.

Despite her solo efforts, Andrea is still hopeful she will get back on the road with her siblings and The Corrs again.

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Family affair: Andrea Corr (right) with her famous siblings, Sharon, Jim and Caroline

Family affair: Andrea Corr (right) with her famous siblings, Sharon, Jim and Caroline

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Family affair: Andrea Corr (right) with her famous siblings, Sharon, Jim and Caroline

"The Corrs are still ongoing I suppose. I like the idea that we will play together but obviously this year, Covid has done a real job on live music. I'm certainly not in the position to be complaining considering what's happening with others. I'm sure we will do something similar. I just really hope that this gets sorted and we get back to our lives, and repair and move on."

It's not just The Corrs that are having a nostalgic reunion as Ant and Dec have reunited with pal Cat Deeley to celebrate 20 years since SMTV Live. The trio used to have a regular sketch about the Beautiful Corrs where they would dress up as the band.

Andrea told me: "We found that pretty funny at the time. We loved the French and Saunders one too. We used to actually play it before the concerts on the screens so they (the fans) could watch it and then Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders came to Wembley to see us. I feel like you have to laugh at yourself, especially what we do. I don't mind people laughing.

"I think Irish people have an aversion to being precious. You have to put yourself down slightly. I didn't know SMTV was coming back. That's cool, maybe they can get us back as the Haggard Corrs."

The Christmas Songs EP is available now

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