We chat to the newest member of Celtic Woman ahead of their SA tour

2016-09-15 11:01

Cape Town - Irish female singing sensation Celtic Woman is bringing their Destiny Tour to South Africa for two shows in Johannesburg this weekend.

We had the opportunity to chat to the newest member of the group, Éabha McMahon. She lets us in on what to expect from the show, touring with three other women and how she looks after that amazing voice.

Check it out here:

Will this be your first visit SA?

Yes, this is going to be my first visit, not the first visit for Celtic Woman, but as I joined a year and a bit ago, this will be my first time and I’m so excited! It’s always been a dream of mine to go to South Africa and I never dreamed I would go there to sing, so I’m delighted! 

Will you be doing any sightseeing while you’re here?

We always try and grab a little bit of time in the mornings, so definitely, I’m a bit of an adventurer and so are the girls, so I’m sure we’ll get up early one morning to do a bit of sightseeing. 

You joined the group last year after being invited to audition. How did it feel to be invited to audition?

I was absolutely delighted! I was doing a show in New York actually, I had written my own album, and I got an e-mail from them that weekend, the weekend I was showcasing in New York saying come and audition for Celtic Woman. And I just couldn’t believe it! I was just so kind of flabbergasted. And I was in New York and they said I should come in when I get back. So the minute I got home I texted them, ‘can I come in now’, so I went in and sang a few songs. We all sat around a table, it was very Irish-like and they stayed very true to our tradition, we just sat and sang around a table. And the next day they gave me a call to say that I got the part! I was absolutely delighted, my life changed very dramatically in week, so it was great!

?? @celticwomanofficial #photoshoot #Dublin #summersun #music #irelandlove

A photo posted by Éabha McMahon Official (@eabha101) on

You guys are on the road a lot, what do you do to look after your voice?

Well, I think the key to it is making sure you’re singing properly, so like warming up before you sing and then warming down. Like I would get up the same time every morning and do some type of exercise, like open my lungs up and get my breathing going. So then I start humming very gently from like one o’clock and then our soundcheck is at four o’clock. And you don’t even think you’re doing it, you’re just in the routine of doing it. But the thing with singing is like if you do it correctly, if you’ve warmed up and like have the correct technique and everything, it should never strain, it should be like talking.

Basically, as long as you go to sleep early, drink lots of water… Like the tour bus can be very dry, so what we do is we take wet towels and we hang them over the bunks so we’re not breathing in like air-conditioned air, but air with a bit more moisture in it. And then in the really dry months, you just get one of those steamers and you just inhale steam maybe once a week for 10 minutes. But that’s really it, I suppose it’s maintenance, but you don’t realise your maintaining it when you’re out on the road because you just have to get up and do it every night. And as long as we just don’t stay up late. We wouldn’t really drink alcohol or do anything like that, we just kind of all live quite healthily.

Is there one thing that you always take with you when going on tour?

Yeah, this is really embarrassing, I can’t believe I’m going to say this on record… I bring my teddy. I have a little dog and I love him so much. So when I was younger my mom got me a replica teddy of him, like they look the same. And ever since I’ve been like very young I couldn’t travel without him, he has to be in my hand luggage. So the first time on tour it got very uncomfortable because I didn’t want to tell the girls I had teddy since like I was 5. We got stuck going through security at an airport once, and they were like, ‘we just need to open your suitcase mam’, and I was like ‘no no don’t open it, it’s fine’. And they said, ‘but what’s in you bag?’ And when they opened it, my teddy was there, but just my teddy in my carry-on luggage. At least now everyone knows!

What’s it like going from being a solo artist to now travelling with a group of women, do you ever have conflict?

To be honest with you, for me being in a group as opposed to a solo artist, is a huge relief, because you always have someone to depend on, and there’s always someone there for you. And I think being a solo artist probably can get quite lonely, like you’re the only there, the only one getting up on stage. So for me this is like the dream, this is what I actually always wanted, you know to put myself out there, I couldn’t have asked for more than to be asked to join this group, it was one of my dreams. 

And on your other question, honestly, people ask this all the time, and I swear to god we don’t. I think it’s because we work hard and we have a lot of respect for each other. At the end of the day we’re all friends and there’s no one that doesn’t like each other. Honestly, everyone just gets along… Like when they’re auditioning for the voice they also audition your personality, because there’s no one with any egos. And of course there are going to be off days, especially when you see each other 4 months in a row. Of course there will be days when you’re homesick, or you’re actually sick, like you might get a cold or you know whatever, but we give each other lots of space as well. You have r bunk and if you need time on your own, everyone’s just like, go and have your time. Really there’s no fighting. I really wish I could give you some gossip, but I really can’t!

What can SA fans expect from your show?

Well, I feel like this show will go down very well in South Africa. Everywhere we’ve gone so far we’ve had huge reaction from the audience and it’s really brilliant, because it’s from our album called Destiny, and it’s probably one of the most inherently Celtic or Irish shows we’ve had. In the past years, the shows were kind of a mixture of different genres, maybe heavily influenced by classical or musical theatre or popular music, but this is very Irish. And I really think South African people really relate to that. I mean you have your own languages and there’s a lot of Gaelic in our show, and you’ll get to hear sort of our ethnic and our national language which is not English and which is not spoken anywhere else in the world you know, so there’s a really primal element to it. 

It also has happy moments and then moments that are a bit quieter, so you really see the audience going from being on their feet dancing and clapping, and then maybe two songs later we might go to an acapella quiet number where you might see people crying in the audience or with their eyes closed. There’s really a lovely mixture of emotions in the show, so there’s something for everyone. And the other thing is you might see a 7-year-old in the audience and then you look over your shoulder and there might be a 90-year-old and they’re both enjoying it equally as much. I think it’s very accessible to families and to all ages you know. So yeah I think it’s gonna go down very well, I’m confident. 

Show details:

Date: Friday 16 September
Venue: Teatro Montecasino, Johannesburg
Tickets from R 565 – R980

Date: Sunday 18 September
Venue: Big Top Arena, Carnival City
Tickets from R395 – R1020

Tickets are available from Big Concerts and Computicket.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  music

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