Saturday, December 27, 2014

Order the Book

Hi Everyone

Having a few days off after a stellar North American tour. I am completely exhausted from it though and now it is time to start looking to 2015.

I will fill you in on my plans for the year, soon. We have a few unusual projects that will involve travelling to foreign parts. I am so excited!

I am touched by the reaction to my fanbook. People genuinely loved it and i guess you learned a little bit more about my life. I wanted to post a direct order site for everyone as I have had loads of emails over the past few days.

Click the link below

I will be sending you all a video message for New Years. Heading to New York City for some private shows in January and then we start planning for international dates. Oh and there is also a special birthday celebration to put together.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Excerpt from the book


Now I was well settled back in NYC, spending a lot of time with Jean Clancy who had been introduced to me by my friend and immigration lawyer, Barbara McCormick. We were part of the Irish brigade in Sunnyside.  Youngish professionals with mad skills, some ambition and real expertise in socializing.

We would gather in various hostelries to discuss all things New York, having all moved to the US because we wanted to be part of it, not because he had to. Life in the sleepless city suited us. For sure, we belonged there. We were dynamic, resourceful, clever professionals who just happened to be Irish.

We were also very in touch with our origin and understood it’s place in North America.

Jean had worked with Sharon Browne in Ireland before the move to the US so Sharon knew just how skilled she was. Jean is the most accomplished woman I know. She is clever, witty and has business savvy, out the wazoo. She was, at the time a very successful sales person for various Irish products in the US.  She thought and moved like a hurricane, stopping occasionally to eat in fine restaurants and drink wine with friends…mostly me.

 Sharon had formed a girl band of some sort, is what she said. Celtic Woman was a new PBS special that had just rolled out and they would tour the US. I had read a little about it but hadn’t paid it much attention.

I had heard of this force of nature and indeed had sent my demos to her, years before that, as she was running a Celtic record company in Ireland at the time. Seems a world away now that an artist would need a record company. But anyways, I knew her and heard stories about her, with words like bull and china shop used to describe her.

Sharon needed to plant the name "Celtic Woman" with the American public even if no one in Ireland knew who they were, They had just made their mark on public television but that needed to be harnessed to build the brand. All these girls were gorgeous singers, pretty and accomplished artists but none of them had a presence in the recording world before Sharon got hold of them.

First thing to do was to convince Irish America.

Sharon saw Jean as the perfect person to reach out to every corner of that world and while she knew all the Celtic stores, she had no real connection to Irish music and radio here. I certainly had built contacts over the years and in our obsessive chats about the business, we realized we would be a force to be reckoned with. We decided that together we would be able to do this.

Honestly, in those first few weeks, we literally had no clue what we were doing but we knew that there was no one else out there who had this combination of skills to get the job done.

Over the following 2 years we were involved in building stories, setting up interviews, getting press for album releases and tour dates for the show. It was bloody hard work as frankly EMI/Manhattan were completely useless at the time and had no idea how to reach fans of Celtic music.

We would sit in Jean’s apartment surrounded by hundreds of envelopes, cds, dvds and Starbucks. Our days and nights for months, involved emailing radio stations, calling Irish societies, building profiles of the girls, sealing envelopes… many envelopes.

The poor girls in the show worked non-stop too for those first few years. Sharon brilliantly put together strategies to gain the hearts of Americans while either ignoring or rebuking record company executives trying to justify their jobs, publicists charging ridiculous amounts of money for doing feck all and dodgy promoters trying to scam her.

It worked. The show proved to be a huge success immediately. It connected with the PBS public with cd/dvd sales and more importantly, tickets. It was a joy to behold the vision she carried, become a reality.

Now there was some fighting behind the scenes. OK, there was a lot of fighting behind the scenes. There was too many cooks and in a very public fight, both Sharon and Celtic Woman went their separate ways. It was probably the best for both parties.

While there is another story out there, let me say, that as far as I am concerned, as a witness, Sharon Browne was the brains behind that operation. She built everything on her hunches. She was a force of nature.

I loved being a tiny part of it.

It was a learning curve to sit around the boardroom table in EMI, listening to executives spout complete and utter nonsense to justify their existence. It was soulless in there. We’d walk in, knowing any joy in our lives would be sucked out of us.

We’d leave miserable but laugh at the incompetence, over a glass of wine afterwards.
There always seemed to be a glass of wine afterwards.

It also gave me a healthy dose of reality. I knew that I had to stop submitting my own music to big record companies and I did. I had all the contacts in the world at that point but opted not to go down that road. I realized I had to do it myself. And I did.

Anyways, I have a platinum disc on my wall for my troubles. It was no trouble really. I loved it. I liked the girls in the show, I loved what David Downes did musically, I liked Sharon and I completely loved working with Jean. 

A year or two passed and I was juggling everything as usual, going back and forth between gigs as a singer and producer in France and across the US.  Happy to be working but earning little. Something had kicked in though. I had a new lease on life. I was building my profile and starting to produce shows internationally. I had found a level of self confidence.

In 2008, Jean and I met daily, as we lived down the road from each other in Long Island City. She didn’t realize it but she was a huge influence on my life at the time and still is. She gives me direction. I am inspired by her ambition and creativity. Her work ethic is matched by her concern for others.  I like her hard edge and soft heart.

“Come over,” says she, one day, “I’ve something to play for you”. I never needed too much enticement for a coffee with Jean as we seemed to be able to solve the problems of the world over a Venti drip, so I popped over.

“Get in,” she says, “I’ve to drop a package off to a shop, upstate”.

Jean isn’t the kind of girl you can say no to, so I bowed and got in her loaded jeep.
Stocked with Claddagh rings, tweed scarves and leprechauns, we headed north.
The words “Sand to Arabs” come to mind.

Driving up through Astoria, she pops in this cd and says “listen to this”.

I hear this Donegal accent singing a song I hadn’t heard before. His voice sounded like a siren, in a good way.  It sounded clear and shiny. I loved it. Gave me the shivers.


“We are off to a good start”, I thought.

The music continued. I heard and recognized Paul Byrom’s huge voice towering over a song. I had heard his first album back in Ireland and thought he had a future.

I then heard a young lad singing with a very definite talent but he completely destroyed  Puppy Love.  It went on. A raspy guy with charisma was up next, singing a newly written piece, which I thought was awful but I liked his raw style and lastly an older voice sounding like Jim Reeves which was soothing. I had mixed emotions. 

Honestly, I wanted to love what I heard. I didn’t. I had known this was coming for months. I thought everyone was talented but I was disappointed by the arrangements and the lack of blend. It just sounded like five very different people. I didn’t get it but that is exactly what she wanted. Five characters. Anyways, I told Jean what I thought and we both laughed because it didn’t matter. We knew Sharon would do it again.

Back story; about a year before, I was on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean for a gig. Yes, I know. I have lived quite the life. I had heard about Sharon’s move to create a Celtic boy band á la Celtic Woman. I thought to myself that I was perfect for it. I sent off my spiel from that exotic locale to Sharon, thinking yeah, it is meant to be. I obviously didn’t think it through.


Sharon immediately said no, in a style she can only manage and I immediately realized she was right. She told me I wasn’t right for it and again she was right. She was looking for lads that would connect as a group. I would not have done that. I am nothing, if not individual. Still though, I thought.

We had a talk about her choices one Sunday afternoon over a glass of wine. She told me she was looking for a group of “straight lads” who hung out together and related not only to each other but to women. Now right after being breathlessly offended by the really brutal use of the word “straight”, I connected with what she said, although how she thought or thinks she can detect that in someone is a mystery.

Bottom of the line, is that I knew and know I simply would not fit in. I could never tow the line as a group member. No one will ever tell me what to sing. As a performer, I like to connect to an audience differently. Being part of a show would restrict me much like Riverdance did. I had tasted both ways as a performer and going back to sticking to a script would not be for me.

Now let me get back to that afternoon in Jean’s car.

I want to say again that while I did not think that first album was a musical masterpiece, I knew for sure it would be a runaway hit. I knew and I said it that day to Jean. I helped Jean roll it out but at that time my own career started to gain traction and I had to bow out of the behind the scenes operation.

Later that year Sharon sold 125,000 tickets on her first tour.

I am obsessed with the business. I watch closely how people build artists. No one I know is as good at this as Sharon Browne.  Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder artists, past and present can thank their lucky stars that Sharon picked them to be part of her shows. She has single handedly changed their lives.

All of them grow as artists. I've gotten to know some of them well. Ryan and Keith would became bona fide stars. I've watched them develop their craft in and outside of the show. They have navigated through what can be a messy ocean to create truly great careers using what Sharon provided. Very few people can do that. 

Sharon has learned too. She has developed their musical style to something way more sophisticated. Bringing on David Munro was genius. He has, in my opinion, transformed the show.

Yes, I am an out and proud fan of the woman. She may not be the delicate flower that people want her to be, but by God, she gets things done. I’ve learned a lot from her over the years. She surrounds herself with the best in the business and has the highest of expectations. She makes me raise my bar.

We will never work closely together again and that is probably for the best. I am way too sensitive for that world. I lead with my feelings, which is my greatest asset and sometimes my biggest downfall. I will always however, watch what she is working on closely and will for sure learn from her.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet form the book. Pre-order using the links in the post below.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Notes of an Irish Tenor

Irish singer Michael Londra, the voice of Riverdance on Broadway, Emmy® nominee and PBS performer, has taken the stories of his life, the lyrics of his songs, thoughts on Ireland and his adopted land, the US. He has made observations on his fans, reflections on his long road to success, the hard falls and the dizzy heights, to create "Notes of an Irish Tenor"

The book is an account of the milestones, markers and mistakes that brought him to now. It's a memoir on what happened and why, how it started, where it began and with who. Most of all it is a celebration of the people who are part of it all now, his fans.

To make the book extra special, Michael felt that there should be a Super Fan Chapter, where devoted fans write, in 200 words or less, a story telling their Michael Londra story, whether it be a song that comes to mind, a message of support and love or just an every day thought on what Michael's singing means in the quiet of the day.

  A limited number of books are now available for pre-order now with a December 15 delivery date. All pre order books will be personally autographed by Michael

"For years now, fans have asked about my life. During concerts, you hear my stories, fleeting glances into my life, during introductions to songs and my endless ramblings in a show. You get to know characters, scenes, dilemmas, wins and losses on the journey I have made, in my chit chat on stage. All too fast and disrespectfully thrown away in their brevity with all the best bits locked away, so you don't find out too much about me. The way I like it. 

 I've decided to change that, to give the story the respect it deserves, to give you the respect you deserve. Over the past months, I have been writing for you, my thoughts, my feelings, my story. Now, I can't call myself a writer. I mean, I learned how to write but not how to write! But, for all my concerns, my fans don't seem to care. I may not have the correct syntax ( as my partner continually reminds me!) but I can tell a tale. It is what my people do. It comes with my nationality, along with a healthy dose of realism, a frequent sense of irony and an overused liver. In truth, I have many stories. So many stories. 

Now in writing a book there are many ways to go about it. Do I aim for the stars to write a tome of literary masterpiece? Do I find a ghostwriter to cover up the fact that I can barely finish the alphabet? Look, I know it won't hit the New York Times best seller list like the high end stylings from, say, The Real Housewives or Gordon Ramsey, said the Irish tenor, with raised eyebrows. 

So the only way to go is to just lay it out for you, in an honest, basic, crawling but lovingly written way. The grammar won't win me prizes. It won't earn me reviews. Well it will, but not the kind I can use. It won't make me a writer. It will just make me honest and I want to be as honest as I can for I haven't been up to now. 

I will tell you about my family, my closest friends, my thoughts on the business, on all things Irish. it's culture, it's myths and for sure it's music. I've even thrown in my thoughts on Celtic Thunder. (I was there when it all started, you know)

In truth, I have realized only lately, just how special my relationship is with fans. I am touched every day by that connection. After years of not understanding or, being frank, not realising I had a connection, getting older has cut through the nonsense and revealed just what is important. The reason for my music. The reason for my singing. I know that when you listen to my voice, you listen to my story and probably dwell on your own. So, I guess, I hope the book does the same."

Before this book goes on sale in stores, we want to make it special for fans. We want to make it just for you so we are making the book available for pre-order along with a special previously unreleased song for download or on cd.


 To pre-order the autographed book "Notes of an Irish Tenor" plus a download of a new song, click the link below


To pre-order the autographed book "Notes of an Irish Tenor" plus an autographed cd of a new song, click the link below



As explained earlier, Michael wants to include fans in the book. This will make the book a special memento for you. You get to put your words in print as part of the SUPERFAN chapters of the book. You get to explain what Michael's songs mean to you. We give you 200 words and the choice of placing a 2" x 2" black and white photo in the book. Our team will help you with the passage and Michael will call you personally to chat about it. The best part is that these SUPERFANS then get to decide the final image for the front cover of the book in a private Ustream video chat with Michael himself. The image you currently see is from the book photoshoot held in Tucson a few months ago. Michael will leave it to you fans to pick your favorite.

 To be part of the Überfan chapters in "Notes of an Irish Tenor", help decide on the cover shot, get an autographed copy of the book and autographed cd, help from the book team plus a personal call from Michael in the coming weeks, click the link below


"The fans are the heart of it all, the reason i have this wonderful experience, the reason I keep walking the road, the reason I keep singing. I'd love them to make this book complete, a celebration of our special relationship."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Sale

 $12 - Autographed copy of CELT plus a souvenir of Wexford


$12 - Autographed copy of BEYOND THE STAR plus souvenir of Wexford


 $22 – Autographed Beyond the Star PLUS Danny Boy – Songs of Ireland plus a souvenir from Wexford


$26 - Autographed DVD, BEYOND CELTIC plus any 1 of the following albums CELT, DANNY BOY or BEYOND THE STAR

$32 – 3 albums; CELT, BEYOND THE STAR & DANNY BOY – THE SONGS OF IRELAND plus a souvenir from Wexford.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Grascals and more

Hi Everyone

Just thought i would put ipen to ipaper and throw together a blog.  It is early on Friday morning after sleeping 12 hours. I am not operating on 100% but I am actually grand after 30 hours of travel from Australia. So used to fairly sleepless night. I am at home in Ames, which feels a bit strange as the past few months have been a series of hotel stays. Nothing like waking up, or in my case staying awake all night, in your own bed.

Last week I was in Nashville and seeing that others have posted about it online, I thought I would let you all know that there is a plan for a new tour in October, separate to my holiday tour. You will know now about my obsession with American roots music and it's connection to where I come from. When I was a kid my musical training was classical however once I got home, I would hear 2 things; Irish and Country music. I was raised on Verdi, Massenet, Handel, Elvis, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. I know. What a combo! My mother loved country music and sang it. I grew up knowing the lyrics to every Tammy Wynette song because they played constantly in our house.

Now, thanks to fate and some manipulation, my management being based in Nashville, at last I am reconnected to my roots. It is the reason why I love the town. I feel at home down there. It is so funny that a classically trained Irish tenor can call Nashville his soul mate but it is how i feel. I makes me relive my childhood, it connects me to my parents and oddly enough, the people i meet there remind me of home. I feel loved and supported there.

I love that I get to hear my heroes sing in bars on a Monday night. I love that everyone has stronger accents than I do. I love that they fry a lot. I love to watch kids with dreams arrive in town. I love that I can hear the best musicians in the world on every corner.

Last week, I brought my lovely friend Susan on a musical date. We hung out in The Gulch and headed over to The Station Inn, home of bluegrass, a spit and sawdust joint where Bill Monroe still echoes through the room as the bands playing there, warm up.

I was there to hear The Grascals, legends in the Bluegrass world. A group of six coming together on stage bringing comradery, laughter, gorgeous harmonies, beautiful songs and mad skills. I sat there nervously as I knew we had a connection even though we hadn't yet met. They knew I was in the room and I guess, didn't even know what I looked like. That's the way introductions happen in music. Their 2 sets were stunning. Traditional, concrete, big, gorgeous and more than anything, FUN.

Why was I there? Well, you see I have had a plan for a long time to put together what I do and what they do. I have always wanted to combine that sweet bluegrass sound of strings and harmonies with how i sing and what I bring to the table, to create a new type of sound. We already have a connection historically. The father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, always said that his music had an element of Irish / Scottish folk songs. I can hear it in every piece that the band performed that night. I think the combination could be profound. I don't want it to be Celtic or Bluegrass but something new, something lush, something beautiful.

I met the band, we laughed and chatted. We connected. It is a no brainer. We have decided we want to get out there on the road together and perform for you.  Now this is not going to be easy. Both of us are kind of busy so our schedules are pretty locked up. We are looking at some dates in October and trying to make that work. As soon as something is figured out we will let you know where we are coming. I may even show up at one or two of The Grascals summer dates, for a song or two.

The band have a wealth they carry with them. Dolly Parton picked them as her Bluegrass band and they toured with her for several years. They have recorded with legends of the business like Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and a parade of others. They have IBMA Entertainer of the Year Awards and several Grammy® nominations.

I am not sure how this will pan out but i know I needed to do something like this. You know I love a project. This will be the most fulfilling project I've had...ever.  It is full circle. It will bring me home.

I headed to Melbourne, Australia this past week. Just down for some meetings. My company, WEXFORDHOUSE works with other artists and I am exploring working with someone from down there. I also had some fun. I've been to Australia before but never to Melbourne. Lovely town. It was a lovely week and worth the really long flight, there and back. So nice to be home again though.

Just wrote a new song with Steve Skinner for a musical revue that Eoin Colfer has written to stage back in Ireland. It came out great, i think. Eoin seems very happy. I like to write for other singers. It makes it more objective. It becomes something that can be edited, reworked, made better. Look out for new October solo dates in San Francisco and a new set of December dates for my Christmas show have been posted.