Conleth is a London based singer/songwriter from Ireland who writes lyrics from an LGBT perspective. He loves fish and chips, the Spice Girls and Vanity von Glow and will be at The RVT this Friday.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from a small town called Lurgan in Northern Ireland, it’s very near to the south coast of Lough Neagh, which is the big patch of water in the middle of N. Ireland on a map.
And where do you live now?
I am so lucky to live with with one of my best friends–Caoimhe. We met on an Irish TV Series nine years ago and we have been incredibly close ever since. We live in Chiswick in West London in a really cute flat with a lovely balcony that overlooks the road we live on. It’s great for drinking wine on in the summer. I love Chiswick, I went to college here, and have lots of fond memories here. It’s a very pretty part of London, and I have everything I need on my doorstep.
What do you love about London and why?
I just adore London. I first came here at the age of six to visit my dad’s sister who lives in Wimbledon, and even from that young age I said that I wanted to live here. I think London is a very beautiful city with so much to offer and for an artist it’s ideal because of the opportunities it brings. I’m still discovering new parts that I love.
How would you describe your musical style?
Celtic-acoustic pop. It’s very piano/guitar driven. I think the secret to a good song is it can be played on just a guitar or piano and it sound as good as it would with a full band. My music is very emotive, and it has definitely been written from an LGBT perspective. I think a strong melody and chord sequence is essential–my aim is to make people able to hum my song after one listen. My lyrics aren’t over-complicated either, I’m very direct. I definitely feel my musical theatre roots have overspilled slightly into my music career as my overall performance and delivery is very much about storytelling.
What can we expect at your Royal Vauxhall Tavern show on Friday?
You can expect the more uptempo side of my repertoire. It’s very much an acoustic night with piano (Alex Williams) and guitar (Huw Roberts). It’s definitely an opportunity for me to showcase songs from my album and other originals to the RVT crowd, but I have also arranged a mash-up of three big Eurovision hits (as it is Eurovision weekend after all), and I wanted to give a little nod to that of course. I’ll also have the hilarious, and very talented Vanity von Glow on stage with me as my special guest for some duets. She will absolutely bring a comedy element to the show. I love her!
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
I saw the Tina Turner musical and I loved it. I thought it captured what the West End should be about! It was fun, camp with a nice amount of drama, and wonderful performances across the board. I thought Adrienne Warren as Tina was stunning.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Fish and chips. MMMMmmmmm! I have to have them every Friday because I spend the rest of the week being good!
I’m not really an ‘extravagant’ kinda guy. I like the nice things in life like expensive footwear and a nice holiday now and again etc, but I’m not into people that are flashy. My health is my wealth.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
in 2017 I won the ‘ LGBT Personal Contribution Award’ at the GNI Magazine Awards in Belfast–voted for by the public. I had my mum at the awards bash with me and it was one of the highlights of my entire life. So winning that award in particular was the best gift I have ever received.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
Definitely going to Number two on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Charts this year with my debut album. I wrote, produced and funded it myself so the success really did mean so much more. My music is everything to me, and it’s not an easy road I have ventured down, however, when moments like this happen–it really does make it all worth it. Stepping away from an acting career in 2016 was daunting to say the least, it took well over two years for me to find my feet as an artist/writer, so to get this kind of recognition on a chart level was mind-blowing.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
I love the music and the fashion of the 80s, so I would definitely go back to that time period.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
Last year I sang at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in London. I was mesmerised by the glamour and the glitz. The highlight of my evening was having Kylie Minogue coming up and talking to me after I sang. The whole evening was epic, even Prince Charles was there to collect an award!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Winners never quit and quitters never win. My dad told me this years ago, and it resonates with me on a daily basis.
Who is your LGBT+ hero?
Definitely John O’Doherty and everyone who works at The Rainbow Project in Northern Ireland. They are out there every day battling homophobia and supporting Northern Ireland’s Gay Scene, and most importantly–fighting for equality on equal marriage which is denied to the LGBT community because of the DUP. I salute them.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
All of the Spice Girls! I’m obsessed. I was a MASSIVE Spice Girls fan growing up.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
New York. I have been to lots of major cities, but never there, not yet.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That it would all be OK. I didn’t particularly have the easiest school-life and my social-life was practically nonexistent. I felt quite lonely and found it hard to envisage a path that I could work towards to make my dreams a reality. Every single day is a blessing.
Conleth is performing this Friday (17 May) from 7pm at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Road, Vauxhall, SE11. Tickets via vauxhalltavern.com