A young Inishowen musician is taking the country by storm, with his latest single reaching the number one spot in the iTunes charts over recent days - ahead of superstar Taylor Swift.
14-year-old Keelan Arbuckle from Burnfoot also performed in front of 5,000 people and alongside some of the biggest stars in country music at the Roscommon Racecourse on Sunday, at the invitation of well-known promotor and DJ, Joe Finnegan.
I hope for their continued support as my dream is to be on the road with a band in a few years time.Keelan Arbuckle
Keelan shared the stage with top names like Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Robert Mizzell, Jimmy Buckley, Michael English and many more.
It topped off what was a fantastic week for the Crana College student, as his single, a cover of George Strait’s ‘Amarillo by Morning’ recently hit the top of the Irish country music iTunes’ chart ahead of Nathan Carter and worldwide superstar Taylor Swift.
Keelan, who only released his debut album, ‘That’s Important to Me’ a few months ago had his biggest breakthrough when he came to the attention of Steve Bloor of Steve Bloor Media.
Steve told the ‘Journal’ he was so impressed with Keelan he immediately signed him as an artist.
Under Steve’s guidance Keelan has released his debut 10-track album and recorded six music videos - all of which have been shown on most of the Country TV Shows on SkyChannels 191 and 266.
He is also featured on the upcoming ‘Feile’ TV Show which will be shown in July on TG4 and will appear on Frank Kilbride’S show this Tuesday on Sky 266 and Freesat 157 at 9.30pm.
The modest teenager says he “couldn’t believe” his luck when he was asked to perform in Roscommon alongside some of his music heroes.
He said: “Looking out at that crowd, it was like a dream. I couldn’t believe it and the crowd was amazing, I got a great reaction - I’m still in a daze from it.”
He added: “Meeting all the stars was just unbelievable. They were all so helpful and kind.”
Keelan disclosed he is “amazed at how things have been going,” adding he wanted to record ‘Amarillo by Morning’ the first time he heard it.
“I couldn’t believe it reached number one in front of Nathan Carter and Taylor Swift,” he said.
Keelan has been a big attraction at many events across the country in recent months, performing at A Night with the Stars in Cookstown last week.
He said: “I couldn’t believe I was on same stage as Philomena Begley, Johnny Brady, Patrick Feeny, Crystal Swing, Gary Gamble, John McNicholl, Lee Matthews, Mary Byrne and more.
“They were so lovely to me and Philomena Begley said that nine years ago she heard a young guy perform and she predicted he would be a star. It turned out to be Nathan Carter and she said on stage she predicted the same for me - I couldn’t believe it.”
Keelan also performed at the Hedges Hotel in Co Antrim last weekend at the request of James McGarrity, who has given him “unreal” support.
Keelan said he is “so thankful” as only for his “family, friends and - I can’t believe I’m saying this- fans I wouldn’t be here and also for Steve Bloor. It wouldn’t be possible without him.”
Keelan was delighted when he recently received a message from American singer Buddy Jewell after he covered one of his songs ‘Help Pour Out the Rain.’
“He sent me a lovely message saying I did amazing job on his song and I was awesome and keep doing what I was doing,” he revealed.
Keelan issued a big thank you to all who have helped him so far, including the media, Hugh O’Brien, Hot Country, the Phil Mac Show, Keltic TV, Susan McCann and the Malachy Cush Show on Sky for showcasing his music as well as Seamus Quinn, Cavan TV.
Locally, he paid tribute to his secondary school, Crana College and Burt residents.
“I hope for their continued support as my dream is to be on the road with a band in a few years time,” he said.