Popular country artist, Charlie Landsborough, has spoken of how Derry broadcaster Gerry Anderson helped launch his music career.
The Birkenhead singer/songwriter was speaking ahead of his concert this Sunday in the Millennium Forum.
Charlie said that Ireland, in general, has always been special to him even before the country gave him the break that would result in a music career that has now spanned over 20 years.
“It was early 1995 and Gerry Anderson had put me on his show [Anderson on the Box]. Pat Kenny, I believe, was watching that and then put me on his show.”
It was this stroke of luck that was to result in Charlie topping the charts in Ireland with his self-penned song ‘What Colour Is The Wind?’
Charlie said he was stunned by how Irish people had reacted to his music, a reaction that was to catapult him from playing dockside pubs in Merseyside to big theatres.
He immediately went on the road and was now playing with a band, something he hadn’t done in years.
“I was coming to Ireland long before my success. My lad used to take the Mickey out of me saying ‘where are you going on your holidays?’
“I had already loved the place and then there was this extra reason - if it wasn’t for Ireland I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing.
“Before I’d have been playing covers of everything in pubs and occasionally playing one of my own songs, but I never told the audience. I thought if nobody noticed that wasn’t a bad sign. Before that, I was just a singer who wanted to sing and I had started to write from the frustration.”
Before the ‘90s, Charlie had had a long and varied career away from music, including as a navvy, a postman, was in the army, a fibre glass factory and a teacher.
“I was down and out for a while as well,” he added. “The music was always there. All I wanted was a life in music, it wasn’t about the money or anything.”
It was during his early dabblings on the pub circuit that he met and became firm friends with Derry man, John Smith, who was living in Britain and who had heard Charlie on the radio and initially thought he was American.
He was told, however, that the same artist was playing in a pub down the road in Birkenhead and went along to the gig, striking up a conversation later in the gents.
The Derry man would end up as his manager on the tour and today continues to tour with Charlie, his family and his band. “He’s a great character, my right-hand man” Charlie says.
Charlie also remembers playing one of his first gigs in the Bogside, after driving from Belfast with his mate.
“ I couldn’t get over the people in there who knew my songs. It was incredible for me.
“I’ve played the Forum a few times and it’s a great venue. Before that, I played the Rialto as well,with just myself, the guitar and two Bose speakers.”
Tickets for Charlie Landsborough’s performance on Sunday at the Millennium Forum can be booked by telephoning 028 7126 4455.