Mark Doherty - the ''powerful' teen singer being compared to Johnny Cash

Many of those who hear Mark Doherty sing - without seeing what he looks like - believe he is somewhere between ‘40 to 70 years old.’

Mark Doherty
Mark Doherty

But, the Carndonagh singer’s deep and powerful voice truly defies his real age, as he is just 16-years-old.The teenager, who is a sixth year student at Carndonagh Community School, has been compared to such greats as Johnny Cash and his star is truly rising.He is in big demand to perform gigs across the North West and the videos he posts on his Facebook page ‘Mark Doherty Music’ receive thousands of views and numerous positive comments.Next month, Mark will also headline his first and very own theatre show at the Alley Theatre, which he is ‘really looking forward to.’Speaking to the Journal, Mark revealed that he first performed on stage when his stepfather, Paddy Farren, said he’d give him money if he did so.“My stepdad had a guitar first and he taught me my first song. I went to guitar lessons for two years and then started learning myself more advanced stuff.“I started listening to Johnny Cash and liked the style of music he was playing. I hadn’t listened to country properly before, but I started learning his songs.”It was at a 50th wedding anniversary party that Paddy made the bet with Mark.“He said to me: ‘I’ll give you 150 euro if you go up and sing three songs.’ I said: ‘No bother.’ 150 euro was a lot of money! I sang the three songs and everyone loved it.”Along with Johnny Cash, Mark also cites his musical idols as John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. While Mark’s idols are world-known and renowned stars, they are not always the musicians you would associate with a 16-year-old.“I get that a lot,” said Mark.“At the end of gigs people will come up to me and ask how I know the songs at my age.”Mark is delighted to be compared to Johnny Cash ‘as he is a huge figure, and has this big, powerful voice’.Mark’s popularity really accelerated in the last few months, following a video posted in May.It and the videos that followed have attracted numerous shares and comments, as people are in awe at the deep, powerful voice of someone so young.Mark’s family, including stepdad Paddy, his mother Diane Doherty and older siblings Amy, Sean and Christopher are delighted with his success, as are his classmates.They and Mark himself are really looking forward to his show in the Alley Theatre on October 14, at which guests will be treated to ‘all the songs’ he likes to sing.He is currently focusing on his live performance and regularly also gigs around Buncrana, Carndonagh and Clonmany, where those listening to him sing sometimes struggle to put him with his voice.“A few people have told me they’ve heard me sing, but never saw me, and thought I was a 40 or 70-year-old man, due to my voice. They don’t expect me to be as young as I am.”Tickets for the Alley Theatre on October 14 are available online at the box office.You can hear more from Mark and follow him on Facebook at ‘Mark Doherty Music.’