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'Every time something went wrong in my life my go-to was drink and drugs', says Derry singer Jordan O'Keefe


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Jordan O'Keefe

Jordan O'Keefe

Jordan O'Keefe with his son

Jordan O'Keefe with his son

Jordan O'Keefe with his son Matteo

Jordan O'Keefe with his son Matteo

Jordan O'Keefe with baby Matteo, stepson Enrique and Myllena

Jordan O'Keefe with baby Matteo, stepson Enrique and Myllena

Pictured with his brother and mother, Jordan O'Keefe from Derry rings his dad after appearing on Britain's Got Talent. Jordan got four yes's from the judges 21-4-13

Pictured with his brother and mother, Jordan O'Keefe from Derry rings his dad after appearing on Britain's Got Talent. Jordan got four yes's from the judges 21-4-13

Jordan O'Keefe

Jordan O'Keefe

Jordan O'Keefe preforms at the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Picture Colm O'Reilly 16-06-2013

Jordan O'Keefe preforms at the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Picture Colm O'Reilly 16-06-2013

Jordan O'Keefe

Even Jordan O'Keefe finds it hard to believe he is only 25 after the rollercoaster journey he has been on for the past seven years.

When the singer made the 2013 final of Britain's Got Talent it changed his life for ever, setting him on a path of ups and downs.

First came fame and a record deal with dreams of making it as a pop star.

Then came a string of setbacks when he was axed by his label and his partner suffered a miscarriage, sending him into a spiral of depression, drink and drugs.

But now he has his mojo back and has found love. Engaged to be married and a dad to two boys, he is building a new home and has rekindled his passion for music again.

He said: "I've learnt. Whenever I came off the show I was definitely inexperienced, immature and the main things in the whole business didn't mean a lot to me, it was more about the life and all that craic.

"Whereas now it's more about enjoying the music, which I never really did. I mean, I just wanted to get drunk and go out and meet women and do all that craic.

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Jordan O'Keefe with baby Matteo, stepson Enrique and Myllena

Jordan O'Keefe with baby Matteo, stepson Enrique and Myllena

Jordan O'Keefe with baby Matteo, stepson Enrique and Myllena

"When you watch these TV shows and you see it and think, 'That looks great'. But it's not really, it's not what it's cracked up to be."

Jordan said he was brought back to earth around six months after BGT propelled him into a showbiz career.

He explained: "I definitely got a reality check and it came at the end of the year of 2013 when things were just not going well, I was drinking quite a lot.

"It wasn't a very good place I was in because all I was doing was gigging, and the time I wasn't gigging I was out drinking and partying.

"I just dealt with it in the wrong way but now things are completely different, where I'm doing things myself and not having to worry about anything else or putting pressure on myself, which is a big thing.

"I think the pressure I put myself under, I crumbled, but this time I'm just enjoying it and getting along with it, enjoying music and enjoying my family life and finally being happy for once."

But while he is enjoying life now, he admitted he'd been in a dark place.

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Pictured with his brother and mother, Jordan O'Keefe from Derry rings his dad after appearing on Britain's Got Talent. Jordan got four yes's from the judges 21-4-13

Pictured with his brother and mother, Jordan O'Keefe from Derry rings his dad after appearing on Britain's Got Talent. Jordan got four yes's from the judges 21-4-13

Pictured with his brother and mother, Jordan O'Keefe from Derry rings his dad after appearing on Britain's Got Talent. Jordan got four yes's from the judges 21-4-13

He said: "Do you know what, at the start I took a lot of alcohol and drugs and I'll be honest, that was my go-to at the time. That used to be my go-to every time something went tits up in my life that's where I went to, straight to drink and drugs.

"And it will never be happening again because I know how to deal with it now and get on with things and be a lot better in life.

"I had a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, and it was all down to my lifestyle too and how I handled certain situations.

"Like my diet wasn't good, I wasn't exercising, I was getting up at six o'clock in the day, I was drinking, taking drugs quite a lot.

"To be honest, I'd lost the love for music a couple of years ago. Once I'd lost the record deal I just went, 'Nah, f*** it.' Sorry for swearing but I just thought, 'This is ridiculous.'

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Jordan O'Keefe preforms at the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Picture Colm O'Reilly 16-06-2013

Jordan O'Keefe preforms at the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Picture Colm O'Reilly 16-06-2013

Jordan O'Keefe preforms at the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign at the Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Picture Colm O'Reilly 16-06-2013

"I remember me and my girlfriend were trying for a baby and we had just lost a baby and I had lost the record deal literally four weeks after that, with them knowing, but they said, 'No, we have to let you go'.

"And I was getting paid by them at the time so that was my income, that was everything that I was doing and it just went tits up and that was me.

"Ah it was a rough, rough, rough time but we got through it again and now I have a little baby boy and I've got a stepson as well, so things are good."

His son Matteo is four months old and he is stepdad to six-year-old Enrique and engaged to his Brazilian-born fiancee Myllena.

Before the virus shutdown, Jordan was playing almost every day of the week across the country and has been building a new family home in Drumahoe, outside Derry.

He said: "Myllena and Enrique both changed my life because if I hadn't have met them at the time that I did, I probably wouldn't have gone anywhere, I'd have been still partying away.

"Enrique's a great stepson but I don't look at him as a stepson, I look at him as a son because we have that relationship and he's a great kid.

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Jordan O'Keefe with his son

Jordan O'Keefe with his son

Jordan O'Keefe with his son

"And at the minute I'm building my own house which is something great to look forward to and I'm building a recording studio at the house as well, so we're going to be opening that this year and get people down if they want to record YouTube videos or if you want to come in and do a songwriting session with me.

"It's a good wee business idea so we'll open that up and have it as a practice space as well, so if anybody wants to bring their band down they can come in no bother and practise all day."

In order to reboot his life Jordan went back to work in his dad's estate agents for a year or two and took a break from the music dream to get his priorities right. He said: "Everyone thinks you need this big massive success, it's not about that, it's being happy and enjoying what you're doing. I didn't find it good, even my small experience of fame, I didn't enjoy it.

"People can tell you exactly what they think of you. If they think you're a d***head they're going to tell you straight to your face.

"I remember being on nights out and people coming up to me, people who I've never met and didn't know me, and just giving me grief.

"You can have as much thick skin as you want but when you're on your own you definitely think about those things.

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Jordan O'Keefe with his son Matteo

Jordan O'Keefe with his son Matteo

Jordan O'Keefe with his son Matteo

"The thing is, I put a lot of pressure on myself and think, 'I haven't done this and I haven't done that and I haven't achieved what I really wanted to achieve'. But I'm only 25 but because I've been around that long, it feels like I'm 35! It's nuts.

"There's many things I can take away from everything I've done, I always think things happen for a reason. I'm at the stage where I'm happy and I'm putting out music which who's to say it could be the best I've ever put out?

"It could be great and it could take me to different levels and it might not, but who knows? So everything has happened for a reason and I don't really regret anything, because then I'd have never have met Myllena, I'd never have had the baby and never be as happy as I am now."

  • Jordan's new single Honest has just been released and you can check out the rest of his music on his YouTube channel http://bit.ly/2eqnYm2

Belfast Telegraph