Off The Cuff With Mary Duff
edited: Wednesday, July 20, 2005
By Paul Francis Mc Cann
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2005
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A brief look at the life of Irish Country singer Mary Duff .
In Ireland people describe Mary Duff as their very own country girl . Mary Duff was Meath person of the year in 1990 and there is an essence of home grown simplicity in her voice . In her professional country music career Mary has a wide audience base and has accomplished many things along the way .
In 1997 she was best Irish female vocalist of the year . In 1998 , 1999 and 200 she was voted country music’s best British female vocalist .
When Mary was first heard on a home tape recorder by her Father he realised the potential she had in her voice and at 12 years of age he invited her to sing at the weekends with his band . When Mary grew up she left school and her potential as a singer saw her leave the work force to pursue a professional career . After she won a talent contest sponsored by the Sunday world Mary was signed up to Ritz Records .
With Mary’s extensive touring she continues to build up her fan base and during one of her tours here in Australia I spoke to her about some of those memories of what it was like for her growing into a successful country music singer. Here is some of what we talked about .
“ Mary your father was certainly a very gifted man . I hear he played some football and represented County Meath but as a musician he was also quite an accomplished box accordion player . It was in his band where you first started singing . I wonder Mary if you could tell me about some of your fondest memories accordion player .“
“I’m very proud of my Dad and his band were responsible for giving me the confidence to get up there and sing .“
“I’m told that your husband doesn’t like to be called Mr Duff . He must be very supportive though because he is your sound engineer and he also runs your pub in Navan ?”
“Yea his name is Paul McKenna, not Duff . Ha Ha .The pub which he runs is in Newtown between Navan and Ardee and its very successful . He likes to get away from the usual routine so sometimes he is with me on tour .“
“Another well known Irish singer is Ray Lynam who has previously recorded albums with Philomena Begley . Some of your band had a connection with Ray Lynams band at one time . What ever happened to Ray and the band?”
“A band that I had worked with was called Jukebox which were a break away when Ray Lynams band broke up and some of the members were part of Ray Lynams band and some of them are part of my current band at the moment and part of Daniel O’Donnellls band .“
“Tell me about the duet you had with Daniel that went to number 10 on the Irish charts ?“
“Daniel and myself recorded an album called Timeless which was very successful for us . In fact I think it got to number one in some of the country charts in Britain which is really good for both of us being a first off for him and myself . You know we hadn’t recorded duets before save for the exception of one which was with Margo his sister . So it was a very big undertaking for us to do because its very different doing duets than singing a straight solo song because you have to listen to the other person and you have to consider were they’re coming in and how they breathe and things like that . It was very successful and even now when we are working together we do three to four duets on stage each night and we always get requests to do an encore which is very good because I think it’s songs that people know . They’re mostly old songs with the exception of Timeless itself which is an original song .“
“You have worked with Daniel often and have toured over the world with him over the years .It must be said that Daniel has been very generous to you in relation to your career . How much do you feel he has contributed to your success ?”
“When I first toured with him it gave me the chance for his audience to recognise me . Because of that now when I tour on my own I am surprise to find the audience know all the songs all the material and lots of them have got pen pals in Ireland, so they’re very much up to date with what’s happening and as a result I’ve come out as a person in the know and it’s gone well for me . It cost a lot to tour with a band and having tour managers and all the equipment so it’s a big undertaking and I’ve got to thank lots of people for making it possible . Massive records for having faith in me and Ritz records in London , Sean my manager and Daniel . Working with Daniel is brilliant because he is such a big artist and commands such great audiences but I think there’s nothing can compare to working with your own show because the people have come there just to see you .“
”Mary when you’re relaxing what kind of music would you listen to ?”
“I listen to all kinds of music . I mean I love everything . I don’t just say I like country songs or I like Irish songs . I like everything from Tina Turner to Whitney Houston , Patsy Cline, Emmy Lou Harris . You know I like them all .”
“What radio station would you listen to in Ireland ?”
“Well the nearest one to me would be LM in Drogheda County Louth/Meath LM fm .”
“Mary do you play an instrument yourself ?”
“No I just sing . I mean I’m not multi talented . I don’t play any other instruments and I don’t write songs . I think singing is a gift in itself . I’m a singer “
“And a good one at that Mary . Thanks for talking with me .“
“Thanks for having me Paul .“
“Goodbye Mary . All the best ”
By Paul McCann
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Paul Francis Mc Cann