Flan’s the man for Jazz Festival

Photographs for Mick Flannery's 'White Lies album. 'Taken July 2008 in Dublin
Photographs for Mick Flannery's 'White Lies album. 'Taken July 2008 in Dublin

Mick Flannery is the man of the moment. Having knocked Madonna off her regular number one perch and claimed the top spot in the Irish album charts, he’s been enjoying the media limelight - a spot he’s not entirely comfortable with.

His latest album Red to Blue has catapulted him centre stage, but for a performer he’s reluctant to take credit, putting his success down to the hard work of his record company. And speaking ahead of his Derry gig this Saturday at An Cultúrlann, where he performs as part of the City of Derry Jazz Festival, the Corkman man revealed that he’s more than a bit bemused by the whole thing.

“I don’t know what to make of it all really, my name being about the place so much,” he admits.

“I’m just a very shy little guy from Blarney, so to see myself getting all this press attention is a bit bizarre to say the least. I’m still trying to come to terms with it myself. I’m not fond of all the attention but I’m not hypocritical about it either, after all I can’t complain if the music is selling well. It’s all part of it I suppose.”

Despite his recent success, and comparisons with legends such as Tom Waits, Mick is very philosophical about the whole thing. “Well, it’s not something that I set out to do, or my lifetime goal or anything,” he laughs.

“I have nothing personal against Madonna and I don’t think she’d be too worried by the whole thing to be honest. I’m not thinking ‘Oh I can retire now, I’ve achieved all that I’ve set out to achieve.’

“I’ve been performing for six or seven years now and I suppose I put a lot of my success down to having a good record company, as much as the music. They’ve been putting a lot of hard work into getting the music out there, and I’m really seeing the benefits now, which is great.”

And when it comes to the music, Flannery sees his soulful folk style as more of a hangover cure than than anything else. “I suppose you would say it’s a bit miserable in style,” he jokes. “I like to listen to music when I’m waking up with a hangover – something like Leonard Cohen, where you think ‘nothing can be worse than this, I’ll get out of bed then’.

“I suppose some people listen to music for dancing at the weekend, but that’s definitely not my style. As long as some people think my music is a good hangover cure then I can die happy.”

So now he’s enjoying the fruits of his labour with a Number 1 album under his belt, it seems Flannery is a bit concerned he may become a victim of his own success.

“I don’t really know,” he admits. “I haven’t been doing much writing lately, I’ve been so busy with all the attention coming on the back of the album. Things are going too well maybe! My friends joke that once you start doing well and enjoying yourself you’re hammered. Once you achieve anything you’re screwed, because there’s nothing to write about.”

But despite the modesty and self-deprecating humour, there’s no denying the music, and for serious music fans, Flannery is one not to miss this weekend, as long as you pay heed to his advice. “Just come along and enjoy the music - but maybe bring some Prozac just in case,” he laughs.

You can see Mick Flannery at An Cultúrlann at 8pm on Saturday. For more information see www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com, or follow all the latest on www.facebook.com/DerryJazzFestival