Well, what a week that was. I'm exhausted and exhilarated.
Just a little note to say hi on this Sunday morning after an eventful few days in American history. I really have been quite absent from Facebook and twitter and wanted to let you know why.
First of all, i have been consumed with my new project, a brand new album. I am planning a departure from the norm. This will be an album that has no connection to my past recordings. It is a gamble in that fans may dislike the change but it is a change i must make for my own well being. I think however that it will be amazing.
Right now, my management and I have been looking at producers that I have wanted to work with. We are looking at people from genres with no connection to Irish music. We want it to be innovative for an Irish artist.
As soon as we make a decision, we will start making announcements. I am kind of obsessed with it, right now.
I have been working with Paddy Homan on our new I AM IRELAND project which debuts at IBAM in October. We had a preview performance last weekend that was a huge hit and look forward to rolling it out on October 10. Tickets to be released soon. In the meantime we shoot a video on July 10 and will have something for you to see by the end of the month.
Celtic Illusion is playing dates throughout the summer(their winter) in Australia. They play Tasmania this weekend. We should have an announcement on it's first international tour in the next few weeks. Contract is being negotiated now. It promises to be a hugely busy fall and winter for me. In the meantime, Anthony Street has been adding amazing illusions to the show that I cannot wait to see.
In October I head to Ireland to, OF COURSE, go to the Opera Festival in Wexford but also to rehearse my new ALL IRISH band for the European dates starting in November. It is a huge departure for me. I am essentially a YANK with an Irish accent when I am at home so working with all Irish musicians is exciting for me. We head to Sweden, then Denmark and I am hoping to add Netherlands this week in a very exciting venue. There will be a reunion with some of my Riverdance buddies too.
I am not deserting Mellad and my US musicians as in December i head back to play dates in Florida, Texas, one of my favorite venues Camplex in Gillette, WY.
About two weeks ago I had just returned to the US and was settling into a quiet lazy summer when on my Facebook page someone place the words "YOUR[sic] DEAD. I laughed aloud and kept reading through my page. I had work to do on the new album and all that entails. I researched producers, listened to new songs, thought about writing something new and that evening, after a full day, i made dinner.
I started to think about the post, about the person who posted and the implications. At that point it hit me that someone was threatening to kill me.I did some research with my CT friends and found that this person had posted aggressively before. I then realized that really i had just glossed over it and figured it was time to do something about it. I reported it to FACEBOOK who immediately took it very seriously and I blocked said person.
It turns out that this person is probably harmless but words are powerful. Everyone around me, friends, family and management said it was time to take things a lot more seriously than in the past.
After discussion with my management i decided that I needed to add an extra line of security in my social media. I have tended to underestimate the strength and resourcefulness of my fans. They have over the past few years gone from easy going and not hugely serious at all, to people who spend their time finding out where I live, show up at my doorstep(albeit with gifts), sending suggestive emails, send "unusual" gifts in the mail, contacting my family to the point of scaring them, stalking my partners work and obsessing about my whereabouts.
I get it. I get it that i have a bond with fans. We connect emotionally through music and sometimes that line becomes blurred. Sometimes also that line can change from connecting to obsessing. I downplay it to ease the mind of my friends and family, to underplay my successes, to be, well, Irish. We don't like over connection. We don't love taking anything too seriously.
I have over-connected to fans for a few years mainly because i didn't realize what I was doing, because i didn't take my own success seriously at all and because i didn't want anyone to think i had notions about myself.
I have the best fans, most with the best intent, most with nothing but love, most with absolute devotion and kindness. One or two take it to a different level.
This week because of the Gay Marriage debate people have expressed themselves very concretely in discussions on my own page and others. I have been called a sinner, I've been compared to a pedophile and been lovingly told i am going to hell, all by people who have called themselves fans for several years. I let them. I have seen it before but did nothing. No doubt though, whether i respond or not, it hurt me deeply.
Do me a favor. If you don't agree with me and we fundamentally have completely different beliefs, don't be a fan. i want you to be happy and seeing my posts are not going to make you happy. Find someone else to follow who doesn't speak out(there are plenty out there close by who think exactly like me but are too afraid of losing fans so they say nothing.)
I have started communicating less and less openly as i used to. I know some people are upset about this but I have to. The sheer numbers of people who email me everyday has increased dramatically, the intensity of those emails has also multiplied. There are now people who love me but hate me because of my relationships with other artists. There are people who are jealous when i speak to other fans more than i do them. There are fans who only communicate by private message and never post on facebook publicly because they think we have a more private relationship. The are fans who think because i interact less, it is their fault.
Facebook is supposed to be fun. I love it but of late i am loving it less and less. So I ask you all to get some perspective. Close your laptop, go for a walk in the sun, write me a letter and send to my PO BOX. In Ireland we say "Take it Handy", in the US you say "CHILL OUT"
Right now, it is Sunday morning. I am reading the New York Times. I have my problems with this rag but Sunday would not be Sunday without it. This afternoon, some DIY, which i know you will find hilarious but I actually like it.
For me though, it is back to some peace. Yes, That's what I wish you. PEACE.