Moments With Mercy- Interview With Ryan Kelly!

Hey y'all!
 I am so excited to be sharing this interview with you all.  Ryan is not only one of my favorite members of Celtic Thunder but he also sings with Byrne and Kelly which is composed of Ryan, Neil Byrne and Nicole Hudson (also with CT) as well as Peter Sheridan.  Byrne and Kelly's tour starts tomorrow and my sisters and I are going to see them in St. Louis!  This will be such a fun event and I can't wait.

It was an absolute honor to interview Ryan (for those interested, it was actually conducted last week)
so without further ado, let's get started!


Mercy: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Ryan: I'm Ryan Kelly. I'm part of Byrne and Kelly, and we've actually been with the Irish music group Celtic Thunder from the very beginning. A few years ago, we decided we wanted to try some of our own music as well as working with Celtic Thunder and so that's how Byrne and Kelly started about five years ago. And now we still tour with Celtic Thunder but we tour as Byrne and Kelly with ourselves as two guitar players and singers, Nicole Hudson is our violin player and Peter Sheridan is our keyboard/piano player. So we've been doing that ever since. We're just embarking now on our tour of the US and Canada, beginning in Baltimore next Thursday. (Mercy's note: the Byrne and Kelly tour starts tomorrow so check their schedule to see if you can attend a show!)

Mercy: Can you tell us a bit about Celtic Thunder's new project?

Ryan: Well, Celtic Thunder, it's actually the 10 year anniversary this year. Celtic Thunder, we began touring on the road back in 2008 and so we wanted to commemorate that milestone, as it's been 10 years. So we recorded a new album, a new show, Celtic Thunder X - which is Celtic Thunder 10. And basically they're songs that we've never recorded before but to sort of celebrate us staying on the road. I guess it's our anniversary with our fans and the fact that we've been together for 10 years. That's what Celtic Thunder X really is.

Mercy: What is one of your favorite Celtic Thunder or Byrne & Kelly memories?

Ryan: There's been a lot in the 10 years. There's so much, that's a hard one to say. We got to sing in the White House to President Obama and his family. Just to perform in one of the most iconic buildings in the world was pretty amazing with Celtic Thunder. So I guess that would probably be one of the highlights for them. For Byrne and Kelly, we released our own self-written album in 2016 called Echoes. And we then made a film documentary based on the album and we recently won a world independent film festival award for that. That was very special. That was really something that represented both our songs and our album.


Mercy: Of all the songs you've sung, do you have a favorite?

Ryan: It's hard. I've got a special feeling for Carrickfergus. It's an Irish song I recorded with Celtic Thunder and I sing it with Byrne & Kelly as well. It's a very special song to me. I think that's probably a song that will always be very special to me.

Mercy: What are two must-see places in Ireland for someone visiting the first time?

Ryan: I would say probably Belfast. I spend a lot of time in Belfast. I went to college in Belfast and it's a pretty amazing city and it's somewhere I would often send people. I like the city so much that Byrne & Kelly, we have a song about the city that's called Belfast.  It's a special place for us. So Belfast is definitely one. And the Cliffs of Moher, it's a gorgeous view on the coast of Ireland. We actually filmed a lot of our footage for our documentary film at the Cliffs of Moher. It's just stunning.

Mercy: Where is one place you'd like to visit that you haven't been able to yet?

Ryan: Well, we've done a lot of traveling around the US, Canada, and I think we've been in pretty much every state but I haven't been in Hawaii. I'd like to go because I'd like to travel to all 50 states of the US, so Alaska and Hawaii. I haven't got there yet so I think those would be pretty cool.


Mercy: Can you tell us a little bit about your recent trip to Uganda?

Ryan: Yeah. Basically, a Christian blind mission, a charity, worked close with Celtic Thunder and they made it possible for myself and Michael O'Dwyer from Celtic Thunder to go out to Uganda and just to see the work that they do, the charity work. And it's pretty amazing to see. They run a hospital out there basically that helps little children get the operation and treatment that they need that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to get. Just when you see how they're changing these children's lives and how charity still works. It does work really well and can make a massive difference in people's lives. So it was a very thought-provoking and humbling trip, to be honest, but a very, very important one and one that I'll never forget.


Mercy: What do you like to do in your free time?

Ryan: I'm an avid runner, so I like to run. I like sports. I like basketball, football, soccer, so I like to watch a lot of sports. And movies are always good as well. Yeah, once in a while I'll relax and take a night off, I like to do that.

Mercy: How long does it take to learn a new set list such as CT X?

Ryan: Well, for that we were introduced to the songs probably early last year. And then we sort of had the songs for probably a month or so before we got to the shooting to actually record them. But in that time, you've got to learn all your parts and all for the songs. Then once the songs were recorded, then we went and we recorded the actual show, the DVD show. So again, that was filmed live on stage. So all in all, from the inception of it to when we actually filmed the show was probably a period of three months back and forth. There were 26 new songs on the new show, so it was quite a lot to pack into three months.

Mercy: Lastly, what advice would you give an aspiring musician or singer?

Ryan: I would say the one thing for an aspiring musician, my experience is that you will get knocks along the way. Never give up hope. If you always believe in yourself and believe in what you're doing and the music itself, then there will be days when things don't always work out right but it's knowing that there's going to be a good day ahead. I became a professional musician at the age of 28. But I always believed that maybe someday it would happen. So it's achievable. And it's just a matter of looking ahead and hoping it all works out.

Ryan, thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule for the interview!  Readers, I hope you enjoyed.  Make sure to go check Byrne and Kelly's schedule HERE, if they're singing near you on this tour you definitely do not want to miss.

~Mercy



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  2. Great interview I love these lafs and see them every time they come tp Australia and the cruises as well.

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