Ever since he embarked on a musical career at the tender age of 14, Derry lad and former "Glee" star Damian McGinty has always worked as part of an ensemble.
Firstly, he toured for several years with Irish group Celtic Thunder before landing a coveted role in hit television program "Glee," appearing as Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan for 17 episodes. Back in , the Los Angeles-based singer was preparing to take to the road with a new stage show, "The Power of Music," playing around 80 dates across the US.
Still just years-old, McGinty spoke to IrishCentral about also gearing up to go it alone for the first time. Later that year, he planned to release his debut solo album and to tour on his own. It's a nerve-wracking prospect for young McGinty, but one which he said he is looking forward to. The song, a cover of Carly Simon's Oscar-winning single, is available on iTunes and made waves back home in Derry when it was released three years ago. It was even used as the official anthem for its City of Culture year.
Produced by Frank Gallagher, the song was debuted by the McGinty and Carlin at the huge Sons and Daughters concert in their native city in January It was well received by the audience — but the cover also impressed Carly Simon herself.
And, in a move that stunned McGinty and Carlin, she invited the pair to perform with her on stage at a star-studded charity event in Beverley Hills that October.
Describing the experience as "one of those pinch-me moments," McGinty said Simon cried when she first heard the cover. Then we were invited along to a gala event in Beverley Hills to perform with her and Natasha Bedingfield so we ended up on stage with her, singing the song.
It was very surreal but very rewarding. There were people like Hilary Clinton and Jane Fonda there. It was a very prestigious event and we were so lucky and proud to be part of it. But he says he knows he is blessed to be in the position he's in. Sometimes it does get to me. I've been living here for three years now and in a sense, I'm used to being away from home but I still miss my family and friends, Derry and Ireland.
This is where my path has taken me and I'm lucky to be doing something I love. Plus I make a point of getting back to Derry every year and my parents come out here to see me, so that makes it easier. He's such a ball of energy and a real wee bundle of joy. It made Christmas all the more special for us. His former school friend and business partner just started an internship at a Beverley Hills management company and McGinty says such a close tie to his beloved city helps ease the homesickness.
We grew up together, went to school together, in the same class and now, at 21, we're both out here in Los Angeles. It's very strange to think how our paths are going the same way. He had died from a drugs overdose.
McGinty said his death came as a huge shock and that he still thought about the actor. He was understanding as to how difficult it was for me to walk into Hollywood, as this wee kid from Ireland, and go onto one of the biggest shows on television ever.
He had a huge heart and was the big brother on the set, looking out for everybody. He was taken away too soon. Of course, it would be silly after the experience I gained on 'Glee,' to throw it all away, but I'm not as passionate about acting as I am about music. Still, it's something I'd like to pursue in the future.
It's just that right now, it definitely plays second fiddle to my music.