Keith takes America by storm

REACH FOR THE STARS... Keith Harkin's debut album went straight in at No.1 on the World Album Charts upon its release last month and has held the top position every since. (121012JC3)
REACH FOR THE STARS... Keith Harkin's debut album went straight in at No.1 on the World Album Charts upon its release last month and has held the top position every since. (121012JC3)

When we caught up with Keith, he was in Salem, West Virginia, preparing for his latest sell-out Celtic Thunder show.

The 26-year-old Derry man is clearly making the most of the supergroup’s hectic touring schedule, cleverly promoting his own solo material in every city they visit.

Thankfully, having honed his skills and amassed legions of adoring fans over the past five years, Keith needs little introduction to his US audiences these days.

Speaking of his solo success and his new album going straight in at No1 on the Billboard World Music Album Chart, Keith remains surprisingly humble.

“It is mad,” he laughs. “It’s all happening so fast, I’m just trying to make the most of it. I’ve been doing so much promotion for the album and it all seems to be paying off.”

Besides his solo album retaining the No1 spot this week, Keith actually features twice more in the World Album Chart - with Celtic Thunder’s latest offering ‘Voyage’ charting at No.3 and the re-entry of their follow-up collaboration - Voyage II - also charting at No.8 in the same album chart!

It’s a hard-earned success for the local man.

“We’re touring with Celtic Thunder at the minute, and in every town or state we play I’ve set up TV and radio appearances to play stuff from the album as much as I can. It’s obviously been hard at times, juggling all that with the Celtic Thunder shows, but it’s all good and it really has been great craic.”

Despite playing to thousands of people a week in Celtic Thunder and now performing solo up and down the country, Keith insists he is rarely nervous in the limelight.

“I’ve been doing Celtic Thunder for five years now so that part seems almost easy for me now,” he says.

“We’re all well used to it now and so being on TV or performing all over doesn’t make me nervous at all. I suppose because of the training I’ve had through Celtic Thunder, I know how to communicate what I need from TV production teams and how to get it all done properly and make it work best for me.”

Keith is now arguably the most successful member of the Celtic Thunder team.

“I’m delighted that the Celtic Thunder family are 100% behind me and the album,” he adds.

“That’s been really important for me. But it’s all happening now, slowly but surely. I’ve worked hard and the album is being really well received all over.

“I’ve been a-listed a few times on radio stations and I’ll be playing some big event in Las Vegas next month too.”

“I’ve put so much work into this album and it’s good - so it’s only a matter of it being heard now. I’m hoping some of it will be perfect for movie scores and stuff like that too. I’m just looking forward to seeing what happens next and I’m enjoying every single minute!”

Roots are vitally important to Keith too, and he is also delighted at the support he’s gained from home.

“I have had great support from home and my friends have been really pushing the album where they can too, so that’s been class,” he says.

“I know people always say ‘support your local music scene’, so I just hope people don’t forget that I’m still local, no matter where I am! In saying that, it feels like I haven’t done a gig at home in ages, so ideally I’d like to come back home around Christmas and do some kind of show there too.

“But massive thanks to everyone who’s bought the album back home, and to Mark Patterson who plays it a lot on his BBC radio show.”

The self-titled debut has 12 tracks, but initially many more were recorded.

“We actually had a lot more songs then you hear on the album.

“But once I realised the kind of songs they wanted, I knocked out as many as I could and so, in the end up, the album has six covers and six originals, and it’s all songs that I love too. I’m really pleased with it.”

‘Keith Harkin’ by Keith Harkin is available to buy now. Follow Keith and his debut album on: or: