The A List - Irish Mirror (11 septembre 1998)
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Corrs of our fame.
Corrs have their day on St Patrick’s night.
As they celebrate the rare triumph of topping the UK albums charts, the hysteria surrounding the Corrs is at fever pitch. They’ve outsold Boyzone’s last album by 3:1 and demolished all other opposition. Andrea Corr reflects on a memorable rise to world stardom with PAUL MARTIN.
Many have tried, but few have succeeded in taking traditional Irish music into the mainstream pop charts with such authority as the Corrs have demonstrated.
The family act have scaled previously uncharted heights in the last year, climaxing last month when they topped the UK and Irish album charts with the acclaimed Talk On Corners, eclipsing the mighty Boyzone with sales of 790.000 copies throughout the UK and Ireland.
Now Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and their brother Jim are preparing for a huge world tour which will see them establish themselves as Ireland’s premier group across the globe.
“It’s fantastic and really busy all the time, but the way I see it is that if you’re not busy then you aren’t popular enough,” says Andrea.
“We’ve become so successful that I think we all feel really contented with what we’ve achieved. We really appreciate any success because our first album, Forgiven Not Forgotten went virtually unnoticed in the UK.
“We were making a big impression in places like Japan but for some reason we just couldn’t break through the market here. Even the likes of Radio 1 wouldn’t play our songs because they said we were too much like a folk band.
“But even through harder times like that we kept on touring and performing live at as many venues as possible and I think that helped us lay the foundations for where we are now.”
As the Corrs continued to perform across the UK and Ireland on an unrelenting nightly basis, they came up with a master plan which would shape their future rise to stardom.
“We weren’t selling enough albums or getting enough attention in the UK and Ireland so we thought about what we could do to get everyone’s attention.
“We realised that there was only one night a year when we could legitimately control the airwaves – St Patrick’s night.
“We booked out the Albert Hall and managed to get Radio 1 to broadcast the gig for an Irish St Patrick’s night special.
“Even VH1 did a big special series surrounding the build up to the concert. It was like a master stroke. It meant that for that one night we were the talk of Britain and Ireland, for the first time we were on mainstream radio and performing at one of the world’s most prestigious venues.
“After that, everyone wanted to talk to us and Radio 1 decided that they would play our new song Dreams. I can honestly say that St Patrick’s night was the biggest milestone in our history so far.
“I wouldn’t have minded if we had been given the chance to prove ourselves and then failed but I was determined that we wouldn’t give up without being given a fair go.”
There would be no time to pause for breath in the next three months as the Corrs transformed from a fringe folk band into pop superstars. Everyone wanted a piece of them, but it didn’t daunt Andrea.
“I suppose if we were really mad characters it could have gone to our heads but we just continued to work hard.
“I still live in Ireland which makes things a lot easier – people aren’t star struck in Ireland like London where you can’t walk anywhere without being mobbed or cornered by a tabloid journalist.”
Music aside, the Corrs also enjoy a reputation of mixing traditional Irish music with a sophisticated and sexy image.
“I have no problem when people say we are a sexy band, mainly because we are not hung up on that in the first place.
“At school in Dundalk we were always quite popular and I suppose that has stayed with us, I certainly don’t see us as sex symbols or anything though – not that I would mind if we were.
“At the minute Caroline and Sharon are dating but I’m single and so is Jim. I just don’t get time to have a proper relationship at the minute but that’s not to say I won’t have one at some stage.
“I just think at the minute with us all being so busy it’s too difficult to hold down a relationship – there’s a lot of pressure and the schedule is very demanding.
“The workload can put a lot of pressure on. Like all brothers and sisters we fight sometimes although very rarely now, especially compared to a couple of years ago.
“We used to fight quite a lot, but that was more about getting our own space. We get on fine now and are more relaxed and supportive of each other.”
Despite their victory in the record sales market, not everyone welcomed their new found chart success. Some said they has sold out on their traditional image, while others said they were trying to manufacture an image specifically designed to succeed in the pop charts. They proved the critics wrong.
“We didn’t change our style at all, anyone who listens to Talk on Corners album will see that we are still very traditional and folk orientated.
“With every new album you have to move on a bit, so some might have seen that as a bit of a change. I think the re-mixes of our songs probably did a lot to create an impression that we had changed our style but it didn’t happen.
“Music is about being free, it wouldn’t work if we were hung up on chart success or trying to get a new image to appeal to the pop market. We have managed to keep our style and break into the main stream charts, it just shows that it’s possible.”
Indeed anything does seem possible for the Corrs. But then some would say they’ve been blessed with a little luck since the day they netted a recording contract against all the odds.
“We had gone to American and we were looking around L.A. and New York for a record deal, no one was jumping up and down about our demos until we went to Atlantic Records,” she explains.
“The boss there recommended we go and see David Foster. At the time we didn’t realise who he was but now we know he was one of the biggest producers in the music industry.
“He was producing Michael Jackson’s new album, History, at the time in a studio down the road from us so we just thought what the hell and headed down there.
“We knew all the odds were against us – I mean what were the chances of someone leaving a recording session with Michael Jackson just to hear some unknown people from Ireland.
“We marched straight into the reception and said we were there to see David Foster. Amazingly he told us we could have five minutes with him and as soon as we started playing he was blown away.
“The next day we were packing our bags in the hotel when our manager rang us and said that we had got a record deal. There were a few hangovers around the next day.
“The wonderful thing about life is you never know the moment which will change your life – things like that are only supposed to happen in the movies but it was reality for us.”
So the future looks bright indeed for the Corrs. In January their Irish fans get a change to see them in all their live glory at the Point.
They’ll also be playing some of the UK’s biggest arenas including Wembley Arena – a sure sign that they’ve really made it in the music world.
“It’s just amazing to be able to say I’m playing at Wembley Arena. We’ve done all the big venues before but just as support for Celine Dion.
“This time we get the big fancy dressing rooms and have our names up in big letters above the entrance. It’s a dream come true without a doubt.
“There’s no rivalry with any of the other big Irish bands. Some have said that we are trying to beat the likes of Boyzone but there is room for all of us. I would like to think that the Irish bands can all support each other.”
And when it’s all over nothing comes close to beating a hasty retreat home. “I’m straight back to Ireland at the first opportunity to relax. I cook, go out for walks and read books.
“I enjoy spending time out with my parents, having a meal or just catching up on all the chat. Just the simple things like anyone else really.”
Their future certainly looks simple. The Corrs are just going to get bigger and bigger.
Transcript and scans: GaëlleF
Le 05/06/2006 à 23:25 par GaëlleF