I spoke to the record-breaking Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell ahead of his shows in Blackpool

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The record-breaking performer Daniel O’Donnell speaks to us ahead of his highly anticipated shows in Lancashire next month.

Irish born singer Daniel ODonnell has had a career spanning over forty decades which has seen him become a household name across both sides of the Irish Sea.

During this time, the 62-year-old also became the first artist to have a different album in the British charts every year for 25 consecutive years - now extended to 36!

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Although Daniel is curently part way through a global tour which sees him perform in Australia, New Zealan, America, Canada and Ireland, he is only stopping over in the UK to visit one venue - and it’s right here in Lancashire.

Daniel will be performing at The Blackpool Opera House on May 3 and 4 and tickets are limited tickets are still available here.

Before he comes to Blackpool, celebrity reporter Aimee Seddon was able to sit down for a chat to him so read the exclusive interview below...

How are you feeling about coming to Blackpool?

Daniel replied: “Oh, we're looking forward to it! We enjoy the Opera House, we enjoy the atmosphere, and Blackpool itself, I suppose there's that buzz about it, you know. It's always been good so it’ll be lovely to be back.

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“And I meet people after every show so a lot of the people I would have met on previous visits to Blackpool,I look forward to meeting them again. But there's always people who come for the first time and that's amazing after 40 years.”

Top l: Daniel O'Donnell attends the red carpet launch of "Strictly Come Dancing 2015". Bottom l: pictured in 1988. Right: Daniel in his Blackpool show posterTop l: Daniel O'Donnell attends the red carpet launch of "Strictly Come Dancing 2015". Bottom l: pictured in 1988. Right: Daniel in his Blackpool show poster
Top l: Daniel O'Donnell attends the red carpet launch of "Strictly Come Dancing 2015". Bottom l: pictured in 1988. Right: Daniel in his Blackpool show poster | Getty

So you have definitely performed in Blackpool before? 

Daniel: “Oh lots of lots and lots. I'm sure more than 20 times… I’ve also performed at the Preston Guild Hall and Blackburn’s King George’s Hall.”

And what are the Lancashire audiences like?

Daniel: “Always good! And then you have an influx of people from everywhere, they come from all areas so it's a great gathering of people,, and I think when people come out, they make a great effort to be there so the show is always good.”

Outside of performing, do you have any other memories of Blackpool?

Daniel: “If the weather's nice, it's lovely walking around the front there, and Blackpool has a very, very extensive front, there's a huge area from one end to the other. So yes, we usually do two dates in Blackpool and a lot of the time it's the weekend.”

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What can people expect from the setlist?

Daniel: “Well, it'll be a mix of songs. When I do the show, I go from then to now, I start at the beginning and weave my way through as best I can. We've been recording for over 40 years so there's a huge amount of songs to choose from but we try to start it as we did in the beginning and then do the songs that we think people want to hear.

“If I went to two or three nights of Cliff Richard, I'd want to hear Living Doll and the Young Ones every night, it wouldn't matter to me if I was there the night before… I don't mind a few new songs as well but the songs that are familiar, that's what we want to hear and I base my show on that too.”

How have audiences or your performances changed over the past forty years?

Daniel: “Well I suppose I've got older and the audience maybe I feel are getting younger but that's because I'm getting older. But the music, I'm singing songs that I sang at the very beginning so it's a trip along my career when I do the shows… Things change, of course, but the essence of the show is the same.”

Daniel at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, May 16, 1988. Credit: GettyDaniel at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, May 16, 1988. Credit: Getty
Daniel at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, May 16, 1988. Credit: Getty | Getty

And over that time, what have been your career highlights?

Daniel: “Oh, there's been a lot of things career wise…. Down through the years, when I started out, the first song that got played on radio in the UK was ‘I Need You’ in 1986 and then in 1992, I was on Top of the Pops with a song called ‘I Just Want to Dance with You’ and I was on it a few times then with other songs. In 2002 I got an MBE from the honors list and I was on This is Your Life, All these things, you never ever think will be part of your life, growing up.

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“I’m obviously coming to Blackpool but I got to play just recently, the Sydney Opera House on the tour. And when you hear about that or the Royal Albert Hall or Carnegie Hall or all these renowned venues in the world, I've been lucky to play in all of them. It's quite amazing. 

“People always say ‘where do you like best’? Wherever the audience has gathered is fantastic. I mean, the Opera House is impressive but it only becomes alive when the audience is there - the Sydney Opera House or the Blackpool Opera House - both are just halls until you bring people in and then it's the marriage of of everything that makes it.”

Blackpool is your only upcoming date in the UK, why is that?

Daniel: “My manager was my promoter in the UK and he was in the process of doing tours for this year and he decided we would do Blackpool and then later in the year, we would do more shows but unfortunately he passed away at the end of January so it has left us a little bit at sea. He wasn't an old man, he was 67 and very fit but sadly he got a brain tumour. 

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“Certainly, professionally, it's a big loss to me, but we were very good friends, his name was Kieran Cavanagh and I spoke to him every day, sometimes about nothing. So our loss is great, but our loss diminishes compared to the loss his family, his wife and his children, are experiencing. So you just never know what the future holds.”

Daniel pictured with his late friend and manager Kieran Cavanagh. Credit: daniel_.odonnell on InstagramDaniel pictured with his late friend and manager Kieran Cavanagh. Credit: daniel_.odonnell on Instagram
Daniel pictured with his late friend and manager Kieran Cavanagh. Credit: daniel_.odonnell on Instagram | daniel_.odonnell on Instagram

We’re sorry to hear that, does Kieran’s death add a poignancy to the Blackpool show?

Daniel: “Oh yes, he loved music and that was his life, that was what he did from 14 years of age, he played in bands and then eventually became a very successful promoter and then my manager in 2015. He had promoted my shows in Ireland since 1980, so we have a very, very long friendship. I suppose the music that we're doing, we’re really going out there in his memory.

Why do you think Kieran chose Blackpool as his first UK location to book?

Daniel: “Blackpool has always been a good area for us and I enjoy it. I suppose it's also central to a lot of places in the north and it's not a million miles from Scotland so there's a big catchment area there and Blackpool is a place that people enjoy to go to.”

For people who haven't got tickets for the Blackpool show yet, why should they grab the last ones?

Daniel: “Well I hope they'll enjoy it… If you like the type of music I do, I think you'd enjoy it, it's a mix of country, a few Irish ballads, a bit a gospel, a bit of rock and roll, it's just a fun night.

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