Mairead Carlin.
Mairead Carlin.

Mairead Carlin is a past pupil of Thornhill College. She studied Vocal Performance at Trinity College of Music in London. She is the daughter of Hugo and Marie Carlin. Mairead has toured the UK and Ireland supporting Don McLean, sung for Hilary Clinton at the behest of Carly Simon and is currently touring the world as a lead vocalist with Celtic Woman.

How would you describe yourself?

My dad always says that I’m the most loyal person he knows and I like that. I’m also known for being a bit of a joker and not taking myself too seriously. But I am a thinker too and like to consider myself to have depth.

Happiest childhood memory?

I have a really great memory of being in my Granda Carlin’s house in Foyle Park and him drawing hopscotch on his tiles with chalk, recording little radio episodes on his tape recorder and making jelly ice-cream drinks.

What was your first job?

As a singer I’ve always worked- but my first professional job was when I won BBC Talent young singers competition at age I5. I got to travel to London and record in Abbey Road with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Not a bad first gig really!

Favourite book?

Just Kids- Patti Smith’s autobiography

Favourite film?

Pierott le Fou- the 1965 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard with Ana Karina. I adore her.

Favourite television programme?

I don’t really watch TV- I never turn the TV on when i’m on tour. I’d much rather be outside in the fresh air.

Favourite expression?

‘Waking up to who you are requires you to let go of who you imagine yourself to be’

Favourite method of relaxation?

I find cooking and baking incredibly therapeutic-I’ve recently been dabbling in veganism so it’s really cool trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients and flavours. I guess it’s also made easier by the fact my sister Aine has a vegan cookbook out called ‘Keep it vegan.’ I’ve also recently got into yoga which keeps me focused and clear of mind.

Favourite holiday destination?

Definitely Cornwall- my sister lives there with my very cool brother in Law Jason in a gorgeous little fishing village called ‘Mousehole’- it’s as cute as it sounds!

Who would you most like to meet?

The late Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention.

What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?

Falling flat on my face on stage my very first night with Celtic Woman!

What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?

Quite honestly my dad being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 8 months ago.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting sick myself.

What has been the high point of your life to date?

I have a few - Performing at the Royal Albert Hall supporting Don McLean on his 40th Anniversary tour, playing Radio City in New York with Celtic Woman and performing with Carly Simon in LA for ‘Oceana’ alongside my lovely friend, Damian McGinty.

If you won the lotto what would you do with it?

Make another album. I’d get all my friends involved as a big collective- Like a proper 1960’s Greenwich Village style collaboration- Buy my mum and dad their dream home in Cornwall by the sea- Donate as much as I could to Spruce House in Altnagelvin Hospital-find my dream little cottage in the countryside with a red door, an apple tree, a white picket fence and fill it with lots of lots of vintage music gear, tea and memories.

If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?

For my dad to get better.

If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?

To tip my hat to the great Spike Milligan himself ‘I told ye I was sick’