With the Eurovision postponed due to the global COVID-19 crisis for the first time in 64 years, the voice behind Ireland's most popular winner begins to write his memoirs and thinks back over the many twists and turns in his 50 year career with Irish journalist James Mahon.
Charlie McGettigan embodies the traditional Irish storyteller as the warmth and energy pours through my laptop screen. He brings his listeners on a journey whether in song or spoken word.
From an early age, the iconic songwriter "loved crowds" and when his friend took over a bar almost 50 years ago, in Bundoran and needed a singer he took the opportunity and never looked back. McGettigan, explains that he bought the "Guinness Book of Irish ballads" in preparation for this summer pub playing gigs. A few years of playing with a band and working with some of Ireland's leading names and McGettigan found himself on the brink of international fame. Entering a song contest for the Eurovision with Paul Harrington.
Rock and Roll Kids catapulted McGettigan to stardom but he says writing songs is simple "Always think of the first ten seconds, imagine you're driving along in your car if the first ten seconds doesn't hook you that's it".
McGettigan has also embraced the digital age and now co-writes and collaborates with musicians across the world "from Vietnam to the US" and has just finished working on his 11th album, at aged 69.
A career that has had some phenomenal highs also includes some lows, McGettigan laughs and is honest when he says "I've also been booed off stage and played in bars with not a sinner listening to me".
His passion for sharing stories and helping others share theirs has led him into a career in broadcasting and he presents two shows on Shannonside FM.
As we come to the end of our discussion Charlie always smiling discusses how he is now reflecting back on the times he had from working in the ESB to winning the Eurovision. With that reflection is coming the first attempts at a book in the form of his memoirs which he is still putting together. As he collects his thoughts on his distinguished career he talks happily about helping his grandson whose aged 16, kickstart his own musical journey explaining how the "discipline of learning violin" is helping the next generation who can hopefully keep audiences clapping for years to come.
Watch James Mahon's full interview with Charlie McGettigan here:
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