Shy and miserable? It’s all White Lies

Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Mick Flannery, because it’s all hype. Well some of it! The hype around his music is all true. He may have lost out to Jape for this month’s Choice Music Award but he’s still in the running for a Meteor Award.

But as far as the misleading hype, the bits about him being shy, difficult to interview, and generally a touch miserable - forget about it. It’s not true.

OK fair enough he calls himself miserable, and when asked what fans can expect from a live Mick Flannery gig, he simply says, “miserable songs, and an awkward guy on stage”.

He has been described the world over as a shy stonemason from Cork, who certainly doesn’t want to talk about himself in interviews. And that’s fair enough. You have to respect him for wanting to keep his private life, well, private. Although looking at the lyrics in his two albums it’s fair to say, he’s probably one of the most open singer/songwriters out there at the moment. His songs are beautiful, honest, and a lot more real than many of his peers on the Irish singer/songwriter circuit. Not that Mick wants to get into anything like that.

He might not come across as shy as I have been warned he would be, but admittedly he is some what uncomfortable. “I’m not good at interviews,” he says, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable doing them.”

In his defence Mick has been somewhat thrown into the deep end. His first album was released when he was just 20 and five years later his second album is getting serious air play. And he’s up for a Meteor Award for best Irish male next week. Not that Mick seems to bothered by it all.

“It’s been weird, I didn’t expect these award things. I guess it’s a bit of a reality check, I am a musician. Being nominated is cool but I wouldn’t die if i didn’t win. It’s just nice to be recognised.,” Mick said before the Choice Award winner was announced.

One thing is for sure Mick has humility. He admits that’s he has never watched the Meteor Awards before, and unlike some nominees isn’t interesting in pushing his fans to spend money on voting for him. Then again with such a well crafted second album and a Choice Music Award nomination he really doesn’t need the extra publicity.

Mick is currently in the middle of a whirlwind tour of the country which includes playing Fergie’s Bar in Tullamore tonight (Friday March 13 ) and Belvedere House, Mullingar on Saturday March 21.

Mick is an advocate of small gigs, as you would expect from a singer/songwriter. Small, intimate settings suit his style of music. “I’ve done a few big gigs, but the small ones are always nicer. I’m not very good at audience interaction. But when I’m closer to them it feels more natural than being say 20 foot away,” explains Mick. “Big places are scary,” he adds. But saying that Mick would have no problem playing the O2 in Dublin if he were asked!

Mick has been working hard to promote his second album White Lies which was released last September to critical acclaim. But he still finds it hard to listen to himself on the radio! “I’ve been at this for a while, but I still turn off the radio when I hear one of my songs,” Mick admits.

“But I’m not sick of my songs yet. Then again it might be different for the band! They’re a great band, and they’re probably the only people around I take advice from!”

As for musical influences it’s obvious from listening to Mick's music that he’s a Tom Waits fan. Just don’t ask him about current music. “I don’t buy CDs, and I don’t even have an iPod. People make me listen to music they like. I never understood how people know so much about music,” he says.

Mick has been “banging away on the guitar and piano” and has been writing and recording more songs. “I’ve got about 13 songs, but only six of them are decent. There should be a new album next year. One of the nicest parts of making music is recording the CD.”

Mick Flannery will be playing in Belvedere House, Mullingar on Saturday March 21, doors 7.30pm.

Tickets are €20 and are available from Belvedere House box office on (044 ) 9349060.

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