|Born||28 November 1983|
|Origin||Blarney, County Cork, Ireland|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Labels||EMI Records, Universal Records, Warner Music Ireland, Starhouse Collective|
Mick Flannery (born 28 November 1983) is an Irish singer and songwriter.
His debut album Evening Train resulted from his time spent studying music and management at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork. It featured tracks which had previously won Flannery two categories at the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the first Irish musician to win in this event. In 2019 this album premiered as a musical by the same name.
Flannery's second studio album White Lies was released on 12 September 2008, achieving a top ten position on the Irish Albums Chart. It later went platinum and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize.
The Irish Times placed him at number forty-six in a list of "The 50 Best Irish Acts Right Now" published in April 2009. Also that year Flannery won Best Irish Male at the 2009 Meteor Awards. Influences include Kurt Cobain, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.
Coming from a family with a keen musical interest, Flannery was introduced to folk and blues music at a young age.
My mother's side were big into music, more than my dad's side. My mother is a singer and she plays the guitar. She recorded an album of her own actually two years ago. And it was her brothers and sisters that kind of got me into music. [...] At those family nights there was a good bit of Tom Waits, a bit of Dylan. Most of the singers would be female, my aunts, and they would sing Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell.
Flannery cites an encounter with the music of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana as a direct influence on his desire to become a musician. Seeing Cobain perform "The Man Who Sold the World" on MTV Unplugged he promptly purchased a copy of MTV Unplugged in New York. He soon bought the album Blonde on Blonde as well. Flannery claims to have written his first song at the age of fifteen. His first completed song was called "Mad Man's Road", a tale of a murder which took place on the road in which he lived. He has been dismissive of his earlier material, referring to it as "tripe".
However, he is keen to express his fondness for stonemasonry and its position alongside his music: "I wasn't going to sit in a room and write songs seven days a week and live on bread and beans. I liked doing stonemasonry as well". He still does it on an occasional basis: "We wouldn’t be carving gravestones or anything. We’d do the fronts of houses, entrance walls, stuff like that".
While undergoing a music and management course at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork, Flannery commenced writing the album that would become Evening Train, an eleven-track concept album about the exploits of two brothers. His original intention had been to write a musical but this endeavour proved unsuccessful.
Before its release Flannery and a friend who worked alongside him in the stonemasonry business embarked on a three-month trip to the United States, living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Flannery spent his time performing in New York. His sister was present for one of the months and assisted him with organising his performances.
Evening Train was received positively by critics in Ireland and the United States. Reviewers noted its "astute and sophisticated lyrics", its "strong, imaginative melodies", its Tom Waits sound. The RTÉ Guide later said, "His voice was like Tom Waits meets the howling of a grizzled freight train hobo". entertainment.ie reviewer Lauren Murphy described it as "an album dripping with maturity, poise and potential" and that "the most astounding thing" was his age of 21 years.
Flannery signed with EMI Records in 2007. That same year he was the subject of a programme called Mytunes, broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on 29 November. He performed on RTÉ Two's Other Voices television programme in 2008. This appearance led to increased interest in Flannery's music in Ireland.
Evening Train Musical
In June 2019, as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival, The Everyman and Rosa Productions presented the world premiere of Evening Train, a new musical inspired by Mick Flannery's acclaimed concept album of the same name. Flannery’s album, written from different character perspectives, suggests the main figures: two divided brothers, Frank and Luther, and a spirited, forlorn young woman, Grace, all dreaming of some form of escape from dusty realities and unpromising futures in a small town of gamblers and strivers. Playwright Rani Sarma developed this theme into a love triangle saddled with questions of debt and fate, where parents are either haunting absences or demanding presences, and a younger generation stews in fragile promises and ruinous addiction. Gambling being a focus of the musical, the game of bluffs and tells, requires working out characters within a strict economy of expression. The cast of Irish actors consisted of Charlie Bonner, Brian Doherty, Deirdre Donnelly, Ger Kelly, Ian Lloyd Anderson, John McCarthy, Kate Stanley Brennan, with a live band accompanying them consisting of Mick himself
Flannery's second studio album White Lies was released on 12 September 2008, achieving a top ten position on the Irish Albums Chart and later going platinum in Ireland. On the day of the album's release Flannery performed "Tomorrow's Papers" on The Late Late Show. The song contributed to the increasing popularity of the singer-songwriter. entertainment.ie's Lauren Murphy said: "White Lies may not be a perfect album, but it's certainly a promising step forward for a real talent". RTÉ reviewer Harry Guerin commented: "If you're adamant that Ireland may sink with another singer-songwriter on tour, then this is a record to seek out; you won't notice the time passing and the nation will remain afloat".
Flannery began a tour of Ireland after the release of White Lies. He performed a duet of "Christmas Past" with Lisa Hannigan in December 2008 after Today FM's Tony Fenton paired them together for a radio show broadcast from a rooftop. He joined Hannigan at a show in Vicar Street to perform the same duet that month. "Tomorrow's Paper" was translated into the Irish language for a CD titled Ceol '09, an annual compilation released by Seachtain na Gaeilge. The Irish version was recorded in forty minutes at a studio in Dublin's Merrion Square. Flannery performed a cover version of "The River" on The Ray D'Arcy Show's Discover Ireland Feel Good Tour stopover in Carlingford and Cooley Peninsula in March 2009. A deluxe edition of White Lies, which featured a duet of the song "Christmas Past" with Kate Walsh, was released in 2009.
Flannery's largest headlining performance in Dublin at this stage occurred at Vicar Street on 25 May 2009. He performed alongside John Spillane at Live at the Marquee in Cork on 9 July 2009. Flannery said being asked to perform there was "daunting [...] In many ways I have drifted into this career and still have to pinch myself regularly to make sure I am not imagining it all". He also performed at the Bloom Festival as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of The Rose of Tralee in 2009. He made an appearance on the Crawdaddy Stage at Electric Picnic 2009. On 31 December 2009, he performed a date at the Cork Opera House as part of celebrations marking the end of the decade. He has sold out several other venues around Ireland and has also toured the UK.
Red to Blue
Flannery released his third studio album, Red to Blue, on 30 March 2012. It spent three weeks at number one in the Irish Albums Chart and singles "Gone Forever" and "No Way To Live" enjoyed a lot of airplay. The Red to Blue tour was a major success for Flannery, featuring sold-out shows all over Ireland, most notably the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, one of Flannery's biggest venues to date. The tour finished with two sold-out shows at the Róisín Dubh in Galway
By The Rule
Flannery's fourth album reached number one in the Irish Album Charts. His song Up The Hill was covered by Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris. Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen starred in the music video of Mick Flannery's song Cameo.
I Own You
The fifth installment from Mick Flannery was released on 14 October 2016. The album is described as having '50% more social awareness' than his previous album
In 2018 Mick Flannery released a charity single for a women's support agency. All proceeds from the single ‘Rosaleen’ went to the National Women’s Council of Ireland. ‘Rosaleen’ was premiered in May when Flannery performed the track live on RTE Radio One’s ‘Ray D’Arcy Show’. He was accompanied by his Aunt Yvonne for this performance.
Mickmas Volume 1
Mickmas Volume 1 was a four track EP that was Flannery's first independently released album. All songs on this EP were written by Mick Flannery, Except 'I have a darkness' written by Casey Black. All songs recorded and mixed by Christian Best at Monique Studios. 150 copies were made available to purchase online, with the remainder only available at live shows throughout December 2018. A donation from the sale of this EP was made to Pieta House.
On July 5, 2019, Mick Flannery's most recent album was released. Mick touches on loose themes of ambition and the search for a meaningful life in the context of a musician’s sometimes feckless and dysfunctional lifestyle. This self titled album was mainly recorded in LA with Australian producer Tony Buchen between July and November 2018. This featured two co-writes with ESCQ of his songs Come Find Me and Fool. This record has debuted at No. 1 on the Irish Charts This made him the first independent Irish artist to reach the top since January 2018, and the third homegrown Irish act to hit the helm of the Top 50 this year, following Picture This' MDRN LV and Hozier's Wasteland, Baby!.
Mickmas Volume 2
December 2019 saw the second addition to Flannery's four track Christmas EP. Mickmas Volume 2 included the titles Somebody else, Just like me, Rising tide, Lisadell".
Run a Mile
In May 2020, Mick Flannery teamed up with New York-based director Samantha Scaffidi to collaborate on Run a Mile, a new song and video to raise funds Women’s Aid, a national frontline organisation helping victims of domestic abuse. By re-contextualising Scaffidi's short film 'BOUND' accompanied by Flannery's song, they made effort to raise awareness of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown. Flannery says ""This song was written as an attempt to empathise with a woman who has lived with disappointing men all her life, from her own father to the father of her child, to subsequent relationships."
Alive- Cork Opera House
Mick Flannery's seventh studio album, 'Alive - Cork Opera House', was released on July 24, 2020. This project, a lot less premeditated than normal, is a reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic’s decimation of the live music sector. This fully independent release sees all proceeds shared among Flannery's band and crew Capturing the magic combination of raw talent, nervous energy, and deadpan, self-deprecating humour that makes his gigs so special, the album serves not only as a celebration of the joy of live music, as well as support in the fallout of lockdown. The album is a compilation of 17 tracks ranging from his earliest work in Evening Train to his most recent self titled album. This album joined many of his past ones in going straight to No. 1 in the Irish Independent Charts
Flannery composes original lyrics and music. Among the topics he has written about is the subject of heartbreak, for which he has drawn on past experiences. He read the literary works of Charles Bukowski, Jonathan Miller and John Steinbeck from a young age. His biggest musical influences are Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, once sending a letter to Waits but receiving no reply. Flannery attended shows by Cohen at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and Waits in the Phoenix Park when they came to Ireland in 2008. He is also fond of current music and likes the lyrics of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys.
Flannery is left-handed.
- Mick Flannery – Vocals, piano, guitar
- Karen O'Doherty – Violin, keys, vocals
- Yvonne Daly – Vocals
- Alan Comerford – Electric guitar, vocals
- Phil Christie - Piano, keyboards, vocals
- Brian Hassett – Bass guitar, Double bass
- Christian Best – Drums
- Aaron Dillon – Harmonica (notably "In the Gutter" from the album Evening Train)
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2012||Red to Blue
|2014||By The Rule
|2016||I Own You
|2020||Alive- Cork Opera House
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
- Mick Flannery EP (2002)
The Irish Times placed him at number forty-six in a list of "The 50 Best Irish Acts Right Now" published in April 2009, commenting on his album White Lies: "With this stunning exhibition of the gravel-voiced musician's abilities, Flannery turned his hand to mournful piano ballads and catchy guitar tunes with a flair that far surpasses his 25 years".
International Songwriting competition
Flannery won in two categories in the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, Tennessee: "In the Gutter" in the category of Folk Singer-Songwriter and "The Tender" in the category of Lyrics Only. This came from a panel of judges which featured several renowned songwriters, including Flannery's idol, Tom Waits. He was the first Irish musician to win in this competition. The two songs featured on the album Evening Train.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2004||"In the Gutter"||Folk Singer-Songwriter||Won|
|2004||"The Tender"||Lyrics Only||Won|
Hot Press Reader's Poll
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2009||Mick Flannery||Most Promising Act||Won|
Meteor Music Awards
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2009||Mick Flannery||Best Irish Male||Won|
Choice Music Prize
Flannery lost to Jape, though he was mentioned in the acceptance speech, as frontman Richie Egan mentioned what his mother had told him before the award: “They all deserve the award – sure my mother even told me that Mick Flannery was going to win, she said you're good, Ritchie [sic], but he's gorgeous”.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2009||White Lies||Irish Album of the Year 2008||Nominated|
|2020||Mick Flannery||Irish Album of the Year 2019||Nominated|
- Huston, Jenny (27 November 2009). In Bloom—Irish Bands Now. Foreword by Glen Hansard. Currach Press. ISBN 978-1-85607-985-3.
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You have two well-received albums under your belt, but you're actually a stonemason by trade. Are you finished with all that now? No, I did two weeks helping a buddy finish a job before Christmas. He'll call on me now and again if I'm not gigging and ask me if I want to come out and do a day. We wouldn't be carving gravestones or anything. We'd do the fronts of houses, entrance walls, stuff like that. Using a lump hammer and chisel? Yeah. It's hard work, especially in the winter. But, I'll tell you, when I left it to do music . . . it was weird at first. In stonemasonry, you'd do a long day's work and sleep soundly at night because you're properly tired. When you're doing gigs, you're more mentally tired than anything else. You have a couple of drinks and try and get to sleep. But it's not the same. So getting back to stonemasonry for a day or two when I can is always nice. [...] It's a bit of a culture shock then, isn't it, moving from that into the world of media or public relations? God yeah, there's so much nonsense. Take MySpace and Facebook and all of that, for example. I don't get on a computer often, but I have people working on those sites on my behalf. From time to time, they'd send out messages to people. So then these people approach me at gigs to thank me for wishing them a happy birthday and I have no idea what they're talking about. I find that really sick, you know? [...] Your third album is mostly written. Do you have particular ambitions for it? I'm not hung up about record sales, but I've always wanted to record one of those albums that lodges itself in the public consciousness, that has its own stamp creatively, rather than commercially. Something like Tom Wait's Closing Time, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska or Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. That's what I aspire to.
- "Programme 1: Mick Flannery". RTÉ Radio 1. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
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The singer's sophomore White Lies release made the top 10 in Ireland, with a healthy amount of national radio play building him an enthusiastic following.
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- "Etc: Choice gigs". The Irish Times. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
Choice music prize nominees Mick Flannery, Halfset and Messiah J The Expert have all booked gigs in Dublin. Flannery plays his biggest headline gig at Vicar Street on May 25th; Halfset team up with Adrian Crowley for a Whelan's double-header on March 13th; and MJEX hit The Academy on the same night.
- Bill Browne (7 January 2010). "Spillane tunes up for Kilworth". The Corkman. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- "More names for Marquee". The Irish Times. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
More acts have been announced for the Live at the Marquee series of gigs in Cork. The additional acts are Blondie (June 17th), Simple Minds (25th), Bell X1 (25th), Boyzone (28th), Crosby, Stills & Nash (29th), Anastacia (30th), Des Bishop (July 5th), and Mick Flannery & John Spillane (9th).
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Also playing: Damien Dempsey, Amadou Mariam, Fionn Regan, Echo the Bunnymen, Okkervil River, Mick Flannery, Villagers, Halfset
- Tony Clayton-Lea (31 December 2009). "Rocking out the decade". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
In Cork (Opera House), Mick Flannery does his accomplished singer- songwriter thing, while in Galway (Róisín Dubh) Fight Like Apes, Messiah J the Expert, Disconnect 4, Le Galaxie and Feed the Bears pave the way for a sore head on New Year's Day.
- Tony Clayton-Lea (24 December 2009). "Going out: The Gig guide". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
New Year's Eve best bets around the country include Mick Flannery (Cork), Jerry Fish (Dublin) and Fight Like Apes (Galway).
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- Genevieve Carbery (18 April 2009). "My Holidays". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
I visited my sister [the former Young Scientist winner Sarah Flannery] in San Francisco. She's lived over there for the last couple of years. [...] I like going down to Kerry. My mother's family live down there in Coolroe, outside Killarney. It's nice there, with beautiful mountains, lakes and natural landscape.
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2008 was a good year for Mick Flannery. The former stonemason had hung up his chisel in search of musical fulfilment several years back, yet his 2005 debut album (Evening Train) failed to make any huge impression, despite the Corkonian's talent as a writer and performer. Last year's Choice- nominated White Lies changed everything. With this stunning exhibition of the gravel-voiced musician's abilities, Flannery turned his hand to mournful piano ballads and catchy guitar tunes with a flair that far surpasses his 25 years.
- "Sticking to The Script". The Irish Times. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
Imelda May, Mick Flannery and Westlife also took home awards.
- Ronan McGreevy (18 March 2009). "Meteoric rise continues for The Script". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
Cork singer-songwriter Mick Flannery pulled off something of a surprise, winning best Irish male in a strong field and ahead of the highly-tipped Duke Special and Choice Music Prize winner Jape.
- Eoin Butler (14 January 2009). "The Script debut album makes Choice shortlist". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
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- "7 of 10 acts to play at Choice Prize show". The Irish Times. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
Fight Like Apes, Mick Flannery, Halfset, Jape, Messiah J The Expert and R.S.A.G. will perform at the ceremony, which takes place at Dublin's Vicar Street on March 4th. Lisa Hannigan, Oppenheimer and The Script are unavailable due to prior touring commitments, and Belfast DJ/musician David Holmes does not perform live.
- Caitrina Cody (5 March 2009). "Jolly Jape admits he's surprised to scoop Choice gong". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mick Flannery.|
- Official website
- Mick Flannery on Twitter
- Mick Flannery on Other Voices
- International Song of the Year finalists
- ISC winners page