An Inishowen musician has released his first album at the age of just 14.
Kellan Arbuckle, from Burnfoot, recently recorded his debut album, titled ‘That’s Important to Me.’
The video for his single of the same name has already been a huge hit on Youtube.
Speaking to the Journal, young Kellan told how when he was just two-years-old, his granda John recognised that he was a real star in the making.
The young boy’s family were big country music fans and his grandfather recorded the toddler as he sang the songs of Philomena Begley and Susan McCann.
Now, at just 14-years-old Kellan is one of the youngest up and coming country music stars in Inishowen, Donegal and indeed the country.
I remember going to a charity event in the Cyclist Rest and David Craig was playing, I sat watching all the time.Kellan Arbuckle
The teenager recorded his debut album, titled ‘That’s Important To Me,’ after being approached by Steve Bloor Productions, who recognised his talent when he saw him on facebook.
The video for Keelan’s single of the same name has also notched up almost 2000 views on YouTube in its first two days of release.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for young Kellan, the son of May and John Arbuckle.
As he speaks to the ‘Journal’ at this home on Brae Road, it’s clear the modest Crana College student is excited but is also taking it all in his stride.
While his grandfather John Arbuckle - himself an accomplished musician - has sadly passed away, Kellan speaks warmly of him.
He also credits him for introducing him to and instilling in him a love of music.
He said: “It all began from listening to granda on his accordion down in the front sitting room. I loved watching him play and sing.
“I loved listening to country music. My mum always played it in the car and at the house and when visiting my other granny and granda’s, (Gallagher’s in Bridgend) there was always country music on the radio. My mum was saying that when I was two, Granda Arbuckle used to record me on the tape recorder singing Susan McCann and Philomena Begley songs.”
Kellan is also a big fan of country music stars such as Jimmy Buckley and Nathan Carter and also recalls finding inspiration from watching local singer David Craig, from Inch, perform.
He said: “I remember going to a charity event in the Cyclist Rest and David Craig was playing, I sat watching all the time.
“I remember then asking if I could get a guitar off Santa when I was nine and I did - not the proper acoustic guitar. David Craig gave me some advice, he said not to pay dear om the first guitar if I wasn’t going to keep playing so I bought a second hand one then.”
However, Kellan kept on playing and his mum later bought him a Tanglewood guitar.
He then began to perform more in public, including at school concerts and at Mass in St. Aengus Church Burt - something he still continues to do.
Kellan, who has a younger sister Megan, also performed at family birthday parties and for his cousins at home.
His talent was officially recognised in 2013 when he was a pupil at St. Aengus National School in Bridgend and he entered ‘Pop Goes Primary’ in the Plaza. He was “delighted” to come second.
His aunties then entered him into the Clonmany Festival Talent Show in the Under 15 category, which he won.
Kellan tells how 2013 was a “great year” for him in many ways, adding how he fulfilled what is a dream for many by visiting the home of country music - Nashville.
He revealed how he even got to perform on the famous circle stage at the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’
He said: “I travelled to the USA with my mum and dad, to their friends in Chicago. They had arranged for us all to go to Nashville for a few days and it was the best trip of my life.
“We got to do a tour of the ‘Grand Ole Opry’ and while we were there, they were setting up for a concert that evening. The backstage crew of the TV show ‘Nashville’ were there. I had my guitar - which I had purchased in a second hand shop- and they asked me if I’d like to play on the famous circle, where people like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, George Jones, Alan Jackson and Harth Brooks all played. I have never had a feeling like it.”
As 2013 ended, 2014 brought even more opportunities for Kellan, including the purchasing of his dream guitar, a Martin.
His teacher at Crana College, Miss Keogh, also suggested that he enter to perform at the Roaring Meg Busking Festival in Derry. There were over 40 people taking part and it was open to all ages and categories. Kellan won one of the four prizes on offer, which he “couldn’t believe.”
He then went on to perform at the Clipper festival, first at the band stand at Sainsburys CAR PARK and then on the main stage up at the Quay.
“What an experience that was,” he says.
Most recently, Kellan set up the Facebook page KA Music.
Through this, his music was shared in locations such as France, Australia, Spain, England and Scotland. It was also how he was contacted by Steve Bloor Video Production, and asked to go into the well-known Percy Robinson’s studio to record an album.
The album, called ‘That’s Important To Me’ as it was important for Kellan to record it, has ten tracks and will be available to buy soon.
He said he “can’t believe” he has his own album and video and is also amazed at “how quickly it has all happened.”
Despite his success, Kellan is keen to thank all those people who have helped him on his path to where he is today, including his parents, family - especially his uncles Johnny and Barry Gallagher- friends and his late grandfather for “passing this on to me.”
He also paid tribute to his teachers and principal at St Aengus NS, especially Ms Maureen McLaughlin, who gave him his first song to sing at Mass and “had faith in me” as well as Ms. Keogh, Crana College for “everything she has done for me and giving me confidence I didn’t know I had,”
He also thanked his guitar teacher Ms Brogan, Stevie McBrearty, “who gave me inspiration and I continue to teach myself;” David Craig, “for his advice,” and to all who helped and supported him, including the Burt Residents Facebook page, Derry Journal, Percy Robinson and to Donal Kearney, Noeleen Doherty and Olivia McBride for being in the video and France’s Doherty at the Red Door for the use of the location for the video. He also issued a “big thanks” to Steve Bloor.
Kellan’s video for ‘That’s Important to Me’ will be premiered on ‘Hot Country’ on Sky TV on Sky channel 266 and Freesat 157 next Monday between 8-9pm.
Check out his facebook page for album updates and release dates.