After twelve years and thirty million album sales in 2005 one of the world’s most famous Irish bands decided it was time to take a break.
And while three of the four that made up The Corrs felt it was time to raise their families and set down roots one of them thought this life wasn’t right for her, right now.
So now after a much needed break from the spotlight one of the worlds most beautiful and talented singer/songwriters makes her return.
On the 25th of June Andrea Corr will release her debut solo album entitled ‘Ten Feet High’ which is preceded by the first single from the album ‘Shame on You (to keep my love from me) out on the 18th of June.
With mutual friend and fellow musical ‘trainspotter’ Bono as Executive producer and producer extraordinaire Nellee Hooper (Bjork, Massive Attack) at the helm Andrea has successfully created a magical debut album full of characters, colours and style, that once again showcases her talent for writing and her natural gift for storytelling all made complete by her understated but emotionally evocative voice.
Newzline recently caught up with Andrea to chat about her new single and album, working with Bono and Nellee Hooper, Movies and surprisingly, X-Factor………..
You’ve been away from the Music scene for two years now – how does it feel to be back?
Andrea: Everything is very different because I’m on my own. I’m really out of my comfort zone but it’s good. I’m enjoying it. I’m really, really happy with the record so it’s all good so far.
It must be strange for you being on stage without the rest of the family?
Andrea: Yes it is. I just did my first performance on GMTV this morning. I thought it was bit mad but it was fun.
Your new single ‘Shame on you (to keep my love from me)’ has a very different sound from The Corrs, with a dancier feel……
Andrea: Yes Shame on you particularly does. That’s probably the most dancy one on the album and it is also a remix. The whole record is quite eclectic and is very different to The Corrs. I like people to know that before they listen to it so they don’t go, ‘oh god, where’s the violin?’ There is no violin, it’s not an Irish record. I’m absolutely proud of what The Corrs have done. It took four people to create that sound. This is just me and my sound so it’s bound to be different.
Is making your own Music always something you have wanted to explore?
Andrea: It kind of came about like fate. A few things arose that pushed me this way. Caroline, Sharon and Jim wanted to take a break because they were all either pregnant or with new babies and I am not at that point in my life yet. There was a record deal offered to me about two Corrs albums previous. I go with it as I was very content within The Corrs. When my manager reminded me about this I thought right it’s probably very sensible to do this now. After all a girls got to work.
What did you do with your time off after The Corrs took a break?
Andrea: I didn’t really take time off to be honest. I was in the studio all last year. Before that I was writing the songs for the album and I also did a film so I have been very busy. I didn’t really have time to take time off!
You have said ‘Shame on You’ is a song about ‘conscription and war’ so it is far to say the single has a political message running through it?
Andrea: It’s obviously about war. I read the Sebastian Faulk book ‘Bird Song’ which is about WWI and is really harrowing. I closed the book and looked around and saw that it is really relevant to what is going on today. I just felt it was horrific to see these pictures in the paper of men and woman having gone out to war and LOST their lives at such young ages. The song is more for the fact of us; we don’t get these people in our lives, the children that are not born, the children that are orphaned, the husbands, wives, sisters, brothers who are left behind. All we hear of these people are their numbers. They mean so much to so many people. It is an immense waste and I just think it is incredibly sad.
The Video also has quite a juxtaposition with you singing, bright flashing lights and then quite powerful pictures of young children behind you….
Andrea: Yes those images are very powerful. Some of the images are of children orphaned by war in Rwanda and there is picture’s of actual child soldiers in Burma which is just horrifying…..
Do you think it is important for artists such as yourself to use their platform to raise and highlight these issues?
Andrea: No I think it is really up to whoever is writing it. I didn’t specifically sit down to write an anti-war song, but also I have never sat down to write a love song either. I personally find out about what is really bothering me when I start writing. I don’t think it is important either way, I think it is up to whatever a person writes or doesn’t write. I suppose if you are writing you are writing about the world we are living in today because that is all you can observe. It would be hard not to notice these things.
Bono introduced you to producer Nellee Hooper and then went on to become Executive Producer on ‘Ten Feet High’ – how was it working with him?
Andrea: Bono was never actually in the studio with me and Nellee. Basically we (Andrea and Bono) were hanging round together – we are like trainspotter’s for Music – and we’d play to each other what we each had written. I’d play him each song on the piano as I wrote them and between us we were like, oh my god, Nellee Hooper just has to produce this. Because the album is story based and I’m just crazy about his work, especially with Bjork, so Bono rang him up and Nellee agreed to meet me.
What was that first meeting with Nellee like?
Andrea: I played for him everything I had written on the piano live, with him sitting behind me which was totally nerve wracking, but that meeting wouldn’t have happened without Bono. That then ultimately led to Nellee saying yes to producing it so I got everything I wanted.
Gavin (Gavin Friday also an executive producer on the album) and Bono were so supportive because I have taken risks. It is the only record I personally could have made. There are plenty of people who would have liked me to do a Corr’s light record, like Andrea does Karen Carpenter, but that just isn’t in me right now.
After almost 17 years in the industry – where do you draw your inspiration from?
Andrea: My favourite thing is people. I love, love, love people so a lot of my inspiration comes from people watching and obviously from books. So it can be different things I have read, and obviously things you read in the papers. Everything, just living in the world and looking around.
What can people expect from the new album?
Andrea: I think they can expect a very eclectic album. The songs on the album are very story based and very character driven. There are different characters within it and Nellee’s production was amazing, he really made songs sound so good and further emphasised the lyrics through sound. I’m really, really, proud of the record but I think it is important to make clear that people will not be getting a Corrs record because they really aren’t. All you can do is write your songs and try your best and whatever happens, happens.
What song are you most proud of?
Andrea: I actually can’t pick one! I’ve always wanted to make a record like the records I loved as a kid. I would be so excited when Prince was about to release an album. I would save up my pocket money and go into the shop to buy it. Prince made records where every song was great and that is the kind of record I wanted to make and feel I have made. So I can’t really choose one song. They make a complete picture together.
I have to ask you, The Commitments was one of your first Movies, when you were starting out – how instrumental was this in your career?
Andrea: It was a pivotal turning point to do with The Corrs really. Our parents were musicians but this was the first time The Corrs had played live together as a band. It wasn’t like we were doing it to set up a band. We were just playing to audition for The Commitments film. It was pivotal in the way from that day on we met our manager and we decided to be a band and start writing songs. You don’t know when you walk into somewhere one day that it could be such a massive turning point in your life.
Is working in Movies something that you would like to explore again in the future?
Andrea: Yeah I really enjoy it and have always been very passionate about it but I kind of do it on the sly. I hate the idea of singer turned actress so I don’t really want people to know it is me. At the same time there is something in me that tells me I have to do it. I could relax. It’s hard to try and mix both but for some reason I’m inclined that way.
With your wealth of experience – what do you think is the secret to being a successful artist in the Music industry today?
Andrea: I would say it all comes down to Music. You’ve just got to try and write good songs and be honest about it. You just have to care about the Music and what you had for breakfast, whether you LOST weight, gained weight, whatever, it doesn’t really matter. I think sometimes you hear of children when asked what they want to be when they grow up and they say – I want to be famous. That is going to destroy their lives, because so many people now become famous for no reason.
So you don’t really agree with the whole reality/TV shows genre……
Andrea: I think the Andrew Lloyd Webber ones are really great. These people are looked after. They are brought up and propelled into being very famous but their not just left walking round the place with nothing. But with X-Factor it is the initial auditions that I personally I find quite sad. I feel so sorry for people going back to their hometowns after being ridiculed all over the nation. I think that is morally wrong and I don’t know why we are not more sensitive to it.
And finally on a lighter note, you were once named as one of FHMs most beautiful woman in the world, and you still look fantastic – what is your secret?
Andrea: Oh god, I’m not really a great one for this! I’m not very disciplined but I eat healthy. I would never go; oh I’m dying for a packet of crisps or a burger. I don’t really like junk food but I love fish. I love cooking and I love olive oil. I use so much olive oil so I think that might have something to do with it. I also moisturise my face like crazy, I often look like you could slide off my face if you give me a kiss…….
That may be the case, but I’m sure there are a lot of men who wouldn’t mind giving it a go!
Andrea’s new single Shame on You (to keep my love from me) is out on the 18th of June- Album ‘Ten Feet High’ follows on the 25th of June.