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Ticket sales for online gig will benefit my talented crew and their families, says Daniel O'Donnell

Ticket sales from performance will go to singer's team

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Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel O'Donnell

It's hard to believe that Daniel O'Donnell has been around entertaining and leading the country music industry in Ireland for almost four decades now.

From his very first appearance on stage at 19 with his sister Margo in January 1981, he has built up the most loyal following of fans which spans all ages and from all over the world.

Affectionately known by his lifelong fans as 'Wee Daniel', the Donegal star has broken his own world record for becoming the first recording artist to chart at least one new album in the UK album charts for the last 32 consecutive years.

The 58-year-old's new release, simply called Daniel, has entered the UK album charts with his highest charting to date at number 2, beating his highest rankings in 2004 with The Jukebox Years and Daniel in Blue Jeans in 2003.

For Daniel the Covid-19 regulations have obviously meant hundreds of gigs being cancelled and his team of 13 self-employed musicians and road crew haven't been able to work since the original lockdown in March. Next weekend Daniel is putting on a live online show to help financially support them.

He told me: "It's absolutely terrible for people in the business and I've so much compassion for the many families and businesses who have been hit by the lockdown, not just the entertainment business. I've employed people for over 35 years now and all these people are highly skilled in their profession and their skills aren't transferable. I currently have 13 self-employed musicians and road crew who haven't had the chance to earn anything from March, with not touring and making money.

"I think more could and should be done to help, especially the new artists who have been working so hard and invested both their time and money into establishing themselves for the last few years. And maybe we all need to be more vocal and push the case through the right channels.

"My first ever online concert is on Sunday, November 1 and will come live from the Millennium Forum in Derry. It's something I'm very happy to do for my crew and I won't be taking any fee from it. The only reason I'm doing this show is solely to benefit these talented people and their families, as I regularly interact with my fans and sing live free on Facebook.

"I would call upon my fantastic fans to show their support by getting their tickets for this event costing £20."

While his concerts have been put on hold, Daniel admits he has enjoyed being able to overindulge while stuck at home.

He told me: "Like everyone else I've been doing very little during the coronavirus apart from piling on the pounds. I could easily do with losing a stone and more if the current circumstances continue.

"I have to say I love Cadbury's Dairy Milk, that's probably my favourite. With having so much free time at home, you find yourself eating much more and I've never had so much spare time since I left school and that's not today or yesterday. I have to say I'm really enjoying the timeout at home with Majella and we are fortunate to live in a beautiful scenic area in Donegal."

While fans will have to wait until next year to be able to be in the same venue as Daniel again at one of his shows, they can enjoy his new album. He explained: "The album had already been recorded before the start of the year and it includes 13 songs including Leaving On A Jet Plane, Love Can Build A Bridge and a duet with Majella entitled Remember Me which we performed live together on RTE's Late Late Country Special last year. It's a great song and we changed the arrangement a little so it's more simplistic to better suit the lyrics and the story."

You can purchase Daniel's new album and tickets (£20) for his online concert on Sunday, November 1, at 7pm at www.danielodonnell.org

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