An Inishowen musician is “over the moon” after being named as Best Newcomer at the Hot Country TV Music Awards this week.
15-year-old Keelan Arbuckle joined with the likes of country music stars Mike Denver, Nathan Carter, Foster and Allen and Sandy Kelly to be named as an award winner at the event, which was held on Tuesday in the Sliabh Russell Hotel in Co. Cavan.
The Burnfoot teenager not only won a prestigious award but also received the “honour” of interviewing the great ‘Big Tom’ for his TV show ‘Keelan’s Country.’
Keelan told the ‘Journal’ he was still letting his win sink in and revealed he even went on to school for his lessons at Crana College the very next day.
He said: “I’m just over the moon. I never, ever expected it. When they called my name out. I just thought: ‘Oh my God.’ I can’t believe it. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling.”
Keelan, who is managed by Steve Bloor, only released his first album early last year.
In just over 12 months he has hit number one on iTunes, presented his very own TV shows, won awards, performed on stages and festivals across the country and gained fans not only in Ireland but internationally too.
He achieved all this while also been studying for his Junior Certificate exams and even took his books with him on the way to performances.
However, Keelan said one of the highlights of his year was getting to interview Big Tom.
He said: “I’ve loved Big Tom’s music ever since I could listen to it. I really admire him and look up to him and it was an absolute honour to interview him. We did a six or seven minute interview and he was very nice. A few of the other musicians said it was amazing as Big Tom doesn’t do too many interviews. It was the best part of the night.”
Keelan attended the awards ceremony with his parents May and John, sister Megan, his grandparents Nuala and Gerard Gallagher, uncles Johnny and Barry Gallagher and aunts Rose Devlin and Geraldine McGlinchey.
His feet haven’t touched the ground since and Keelan said his friends all knew about his win when he arrived in school on Wednesday morning.
Keelan is also now concentrating on song writing and recently wrote a song in memory of his late Granda and Granny Arbuckle. This will feature on his new 16-track album which is due for release soon.
Keelan described the past year as “amazing” and paid tribute to his family, friends, all those who supported him, his manager Steve Bloor and Hugh O’Brien and all at Hot Country TV.