Sharon Corr loves flying solo
WITH album sales in the tens of millions and a history of shows around the world, Sharon Corr has plenty of good memories from her time in The Corrs.
The family from Dundalk — Sharon, her brother Jim and sisters Andrea and Caroline — were among Ireland’s most successful exports of a 15-year period that saw them sell 45 million albums and be awarded the accolade of their own MTV special.
Sharon, however, is not one to rest on past glories.
Her eyes are fixed firmly on the future as she makes a name for herself as a solo artist.
"I’m not one for looking back, especially when things have been amazing," Sharon declared.
"It was absolutely astounding what we achieved and I’m tremendously proud that we did those things together as a family — and stayed friends!
"But if I’m looking back, I’m not learning. For me, I’m a constantly evolving musician, songwriter and singer."
However, writing for Sharon Corr, solo artist, did require a different approach from writing as one quarter of The Corrs.
"I had a phase where if I wrote a song, I wrote it for The Corrs and for Andrea to sing," she admitted.
"For me it’s total freedom of expression. I adore being solo. It’s extremely empowering to be front and centre and taking my music on a journey that only I can."
Sharon returns to the Highlands this weekend having already been introduced to north audiences by another Celtic band with an international following — our own Runrig.
Sharon was a guest at the band’s 40th anniversary celebration Party on the Moor at Muir of Ord.
"That was good fun. Big audience and tons of people in from Norway and loads of different places," she recalled.
Sharon was looking forward to catching up with her fellow Celts on her Scottish trip — "We’re absolutely intertwined," she added — yet despite growing up surrounded by traditional music, by training she is more classical violinist than Irish fiddle player.
Not that a classical music career was ever an attraction.
"There are elements of classical music that I enjoyed, because it is so beautiful and elegant, but I hated the discipline," she admitted.
"I was always a bit more rock and roll — whenever I played Beethoven, I wanted to add in my own bits. And I never wanted to be part of an orchestra, I wanted to carve out my own way and that’s extremely difficult in the classical world."
So rather than classical influences, her own songs, as Sharon acknowledges, bears the stamp of the well crafted and melodic songs of the 1970s her parents introduced her to.
Not too far from The Corrs sound, perhaps, but according to Sharon "less clean and more real".
At home in Ireland, Sharon has been adding to her CV as a coach on RTÉ’s version of The Voice, a role she took on at the suggestion of a director friend.
"Before she asked, I would never have dreamed of going on something like The X Factor. The idea coming off The X Factor was that Simon Cowell could just create a star, which is utter rubbish. You can’t make talent," she said.
"I loved the idea of The Voice because we couldn’t choose who we put forward by looking at us and if a number of us wanted a certain person, they could choose us so they had their input too.
"It was great and the only reason I didn’t do it last year was that I was heading out to launch this new album across the world because my own work comes first. But it was full on — I was exhausted at the end of it: take me on tour for a rest!"
• Sharon Corr is at The Ironworks, Inverness, on Sunday 14th September and The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, on Monday.
New album The Same Sun is out now on Bobby Jean Records/Absolute/Universal.