Nathan Carter’s meteoric rise has seen him credited with bringing country music to a whole new generation. But the star remains down to earth and grateful to everyone who helped him along the way. He spoke to Donegal Post journalist Siobhán McNamara ahead of his upcoming concert in Bundoran.
2017 has seen Nathan Carter sell out two of Ireland’s biggest venues, the Three Area in Dublin and the SSE Arena in Belfast. He has also toured America and Canada. But the young country music sensation has a special place in his heart for Donegal and he is very much looking forward to his forthcoming concert in Bundoran.
“Donegal has been very good to me,” he told the Donegal Post. “When I first started out, a lot of gigs were all around Donegal. I played Bundoran, Donegal Town, Letterkenny, Buncrana. Donegal is very special to me.”
Indeed, the video for Wagon Wheel – the song that made Nathan Carter a household name – was filmed on Rossnolwagh beach.
Nathan last played in Donegal at a charity concert for flood victims earlier this year. He was happy to be able to do his bit to help, along with Daniel O’Donnell and other huge stars who gave so generously of their time.
His December concert in Bundoran promises to be a night to remember.
“Coming back to do a Christmas show is great,” he said. “I am delighted to be in Donegal again. We have Philomena Begley with us as well as two choirs. It is going to be fantastic.”
So what is it about Nathan Carter that appeals to so many people and has led to a whole new generation of country music fans?
Not only is he a hugely hard-working and talented musician, he clearly has a deep and infectious love of country music which shines through in his performances.
“Growing up in Liverpool, I was surrounded by country music,” he said. “My grandfather collected old records so from a young age I was listening to people like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline.
“My Nan used to take me to concerts at weekends, so I would have seen Irish stars like Philomena Begley.”
Even as a young child, Nathan's heart was set on being a musician.
“I really wanted to be in a band,” he said. “I started to play accordion and I loved to sing. It grew from there. I have been gigging properly for ten years now.”
While his own groundwork was without doubt the biggest contributing factor to his success, Nathan is quick to say he could not have done it alone.
“My family has been very important for me,” he said. “I couldn’t even have got to my first gigs when I left school without my Nan. She has been a massive support, driving me to concerts and selling my CDs.”
Even with the scale of Nathan’s success in the last 10 years, his Nan is still by his side helping him in any way she can.
“We just came off tour and she is still there selling CDs,” laughs Nathan. “She is nearly 77 and she is amazing. I am so grateful to her.”
He is also deeply grateful to his parents for helping him to follow his dream.
“They gave me so much help and support,” he said. “My Mum and Dad were always driving me to music lessons and singing lessons.”
Nathan is now offering the same encouragement to his younger brother Jake who is launching his own career.
“Jake is 19 and just starting out,” said Nathan. “He is starring as Aladdin in SSE Arena. He has always been around me helping out. Jake has seen a lot and he is well prepared.”
As 2017 draws to a close, Nathan reflects on a busy but productive year.
“We did our first tour of America in September, playing 11 dates in two weeks,” he said. “A lot of them were sold out. We were delighted.”
Of course, for any country music fan, visiting the spiritual home of the genre is always very special.
Nathan is grateful for the opportunities his success has brought, and one particular such occasion was filming in Nashville for an RTE documentary.
“I met Johnny Cash’s son John Carter Cash in Johnny’s log cabin on his estate,” he said. “It was good fun and very special. I have loved country music all my life and to go to the homeland of Nashville was really good.”
Here in Ireland, 2017 was a landmark year for Nathan. His Livin’ The Dream album went to Number One in June. And in terms of live performances, selling out the Three Arena in Dublin and The SSE Arena in Belfast is most unusual for a country music singer. The huge success of the concerts demonstrates just how wide an audience Nathan has reached with the genre of music that he loves so much.
“The Three Arena concerts were unbelievable,” he said. “We recorded and filmed a live album and DVD there and I am looking forward to promoting that. I will be doing a concert tour round Ireland and Scotland next year and then heading back to the Three Arena. It is a very exciting time.”
Nathan is also looking forward to recording a joint BBC and RTE Christmas show in Belfast with some very special guests.
“It will be in the Belfast Opera House which is a stunning venue,” said Nathan. “I will be there with an 18-piece band. We will be joined by Mel C, Curtis Stigers, Una Healy and my younger brother Jake. It should be a lovely Christmas show.”
Nathan Carter plays the Great Northern Conference Centre in Bundoran on December 9. Tickets cost €30 and are available by calling the hotel on (071) 9841204.
More information on concert dates and on Nathan’s plans for 2018 can be found at nathancartermusic.com
For the chance to win tickets to see Nathan Carter in Bundoran, see this week’s Donegal Post in shops now.
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