When Damian McGinty scored a role on the phenomenally successful US TV series Glee in 2011 he didn’t think things could get much better than that - but 2012 has seen his star ascend further than he could have imagined.
Just this week pre-sales on his debut EP saw him chart higher than Justin Bieber, Adele, Christina Aguilera and even the Glee Soundtrack, causing an internet frenzy.
On top of this he has announced details of his re-appearance in Glee’s Christmas special - and says that returning to the set of the show as Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan has shown him just how far he has come.
“It’s always a pleasure to be back on that set,” Damian told the ‘Journal’. “It’s so much fun, and I had a great time during my year there. I made a lot of friends, and worked with a lot of incredible people. I learned a lot which is only going to help me out further down the line.”
Describing the Christmas special as “really fun”, Damian said. “I play a role in a segment that is like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with Kevin McHale who plays Artie.
“And it was funny, after having a break and focusing on other things, I felt incredibly refreshed there, and I could sense my own progress whilst filming, compared to where I was when I started filming 18 months ago. And that is a strange thing. Normally you are acting and hoping it’s O.K. But I just felt much more comfortable, and that was down to the experience I have gained while on the show”
The show has helped Damian earn around one million fans and followers on social media sites. He says it is “wonderful to know I have the support behind me”.
And he doesn’t rule out a return to the halls of McKinley High in 2013 - or indeed to another acting project ,saying he hoped to grow even more in 2013 “whether it’s Glee or another project”.
Speaking of his music plans, Damian said his self-titled EP will be released worldwife on December 12 through his own record laber Walled City Records.
“It was produced in my own house in Los Angeles by Cameron Mitchell (fellow Glee Project contestant), who is a genius. There is a studio set up in our house, so it’s great to always have the chance to record, or put writing ideas down there and then.
“I have put four tracks on it, with a bonus track making it five.
“I’m over the moon with how it turned out. I have always been pigeon-holed into a certain style my whole life. Now that I have gained a big enough reputation to do things by myself, to a certain degree, I thought it was time I experimented. And although its early days, I am very excited in the direction we have taken.
“I have never been a man to play it safe - leaving Celtic Thunder to chance my arm on a reality show with 40,000 people is an example, And that paid off. So I don’t plan on starting now. No-one gets anywhere if they are comfortable. You have to go for it, if you really want to realize your dream.”
While Damian admits he now sees his future Stateside, he said he still wants to feed as much back into Derry as possible - which is evident through his investment in two local businesses with friend Oran O’Carroll. The pair have set up two businesses - their recording studio Audiobooth and their record label, Walled City Records.
“These businesses have somehow turned into a girlfriend in a weird way. Getting calls from Oran at 5am Los Angeles time to be on a Skype meeting in 30 minutes, my sleep schedule is slightly mad.
“And we are on the verge of having an investing company come on board Our Record label, so it’s very exciting.”
Bringing it all back home, Damian is looking forward to a special home coming gig in the Nerve Centre on Friday, December 21.
Under the guise of the Walled City Sessions, the gig will see Damian sing alongside his former school mate Ben Kelly - who is forging his own way in the music industry.
“It’s always great to perform in Derry, nothing like it. And they tell you how it is, which is the best thing about it! I will be performing tracks from my E.P amongst other favorites.”
Damian describes Ben Kelly as “phenomenal”.
“He blows me away every time. We go back quite a bit now. We always did the original ‘From The Heart Concerts’ in the Millennium Forum every year together for Bebe Johnston. Myself and Ben have always had an understanding and a mutual respect. I really do love that guy.
“He’s an absolute star. His new Single ‘Home’, released January 1st for City of Culture, is going to be with our record label, so I can’t wait to work along side him in that.
“The single could be potentially huge, and will hit home with a lot of people.”
Tickets for the Nerve Centre gig are selling well and music fans are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Tickets can be purchased from www.wegottickets.com