The Corrs, The Pride of Ireland - family biography
The Corrs are an Irish quartet made up of four siblings, three sisters and one brother: Andrea Corr (17th May 1974), Caroline Corr (17th March 1973), Sharon Corr (24th March 1970) and Jim Corr (31st July 1964). Andrea, Caroline, Sharon and Jim formed the band ten years ago, in 1990. The originality of their music comes from the unique blend of traditional Irish music and modern pop-rock. "I really do hope that we can create our own niche," says Jim Corr, "but when I'm asked to describe our music, I always say that it's modern with an Irish influence, because the Celtic vein does run through everything we do. We're a traditional Irish pop-rock band, whatever that is."
And Caroline continues : "It's a blend of modern rhythms and technology with acoustic instruments - with violin, tin whistle, drums - and, of course, the voices. The marrying of all these elements makes our sound."
Jim plays keyboards and guitars, Sharon plays the violin, Caroline plays the drums and bodhran (a hand held Irish drum) and Andrea plays the tin whistle and is the lead singer. Jim, Sharon and Caroline all sing backing vocals and each song (that includes the music and the lyrics) is written by the group as a whole.
The Early Days
The four siblings grew up in Dundalk (Co. Louth), which is 50 miles north of Dublin, near the border with Northern Ireland. The Corrs were always a very ... musical family. Their parents were musicians and so their children grew up surrounded by music of all kinds. "Our parents were musicians, so we grew up with a lot of music in the house. I suppose it was always our intention to become a band. I don't think there was ever anything else we really wanted to do."Says Andrea.
Even before he was able to walk, Jim was introduced to the piano. His father taught him to play the piano. But the family was getting bigger. Jean and Gerry Corr were blessed with another child, this time a daughter, Sharon. Soon after, Caroline and Andrea came along and so, by 1974 the family had six members. One by one, each of the girls took their brother's example and their initiation in music was through the piano.As they were growing up, each Corr developed a particular attraction towards an instrument. Jim decided to continue playing the guitars and keyboards while Sharon was taking violin lessons. Caroline started playing drums a bit later on, when she was 17-18 using some instructions from a boyfriend of hers at that time. Andrea seems to have been interested in an instrument more suitable to her personality, the tin whistle - a very tiny instrument with a heavenly sound and very easy to lose :))). The band started rehearsing every day, sometimes even until dawn. Jim would come up with the music and the girls would come up with the lyrics. And so the band was on its way.
John Hughes And "The Commitments'
Shortly after the band was formed, John Hughes, a musical advisor from Dublin discovered them during the auditions for Alan Parker's movie "The Commitments. Out of the four siblings only Andrea got a more substantial part playing the part of Jimmy Rabbitte" s young sister while Jim, Sharon and Caroline got "blink and you'll miss it" roles. John Hughes agreed to manage them and soon a huge opportunity popped up. The US ambassador for Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, heard them play in a small club in Dublin and she invited them to play at the closing ceremony of the World Cup in Boston. The band's popularity was rising but strangely, they were still unsigned.
The United States
After an encouraging meeting with Atlantic's Jason Flom, they were advised to hook up with David Foster as producer. Unfortunately he was tied up with Michael Jackson's "HIStory" and the star's bodyguards made it impossible for the group to meet Foster. But they wouldn't give up and they found another way to meet David Foster.
"We took a deep breath", recalls Sharon, and, walking in full black in mid-July's awful heat, arrived unannounced at the Atlantic Records in Manhattan . They were all over dressed because as Sharon said the evening clothes were all they had since their finances were ... or better said, weren't. They had all their instruments with them and waited for David Foster in the lobby, hoping that by some miracle he would show up.
Once again, Irish luck was on their side. Foster had just finished producing Michael Jackson's "HIStory" and he was just stepping out of the studio. Seeing three gorgeous girls and their handsome brother, Foster didn't hesitate one bit and invited them to play something for him. What followed was a rare musical experience that stunned this great producer. And when a 12-time Grammy winner says "Out of ten, I give you a ten ... no, a ten plus." Then there's no doubt that The Corrs were on their way to fame and success. Soon after this breathtaking experience Foster signed them and so the group was now part of the Atlantic Records family. On that day The Corrs decided to take over the world and win!
'Forgiven Not Forgotten" - The Debut Album
Their first album ,'Forgiven Not Forgotten', released late 1995 is a brilliant showcase of the group's talent. Each track maintains an extremely high standard of music as well as having a very polished feel to it. Their songs range from simple love-ballads - "Runaway" or "Love To Love You" - and deep philosophical statements - the dramatic "Forgiven Not Forgotten'- to stunning instrumental pieces such as "Toss The Feathers" and "Erin Shore'.
The album was a huge success and the tours around the world brought them to the point of no return. The success, the fame, the fans - it was all coming true. Their concerts are a mix of traditional and modern sounds. Only at a Corrs concert you can see a very different range of people, from young children to grown-ups . Their music has a unique way to touch people's hearts and that's what, makes them so special. Have you ever seen 40 000 people dancing around to traditional pieces and having the time of their lives doing that? Well, if you haven't been to one of their concerts, you won't because only The Corrs have that effect on people. Having played live in front of huge audiences The Corrs managed to let go of all their inhibitions and feel completely free while performing.
"From all the performances we did on tour around the world" says Andrea "we had developed in such a way that we wanted to be a little edgier."
"It's our first priority," Sharon says of The Corrs" live experiences. "It's where you really reach your audience, where you eally communicate with them. And as musicians, we just love playing."
The Corrs are no strangers to the American Television. They were invited to CBS This Morning, NBC, Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Good Morning America, Rosie O'Donnell Show and MTV USA. They were even on Beverly Hills 90210 where they performed several songs from their debut album.
An aspiring actress in her spare time (of which there is very little), Andrea has now appeared in two movies directed by Alan Parker : The Commitments' and 'Evita'.
"It was brilliant," Andrea says of working with the film's star, Madonna. "She was fantastic; I was nervous, but I just did my bit."
The Corrs were invited to perform at the major festivals such as the London Fleadh (on which they featured three years in a row and this year they headlined it) and the Glastonbury Festival. They performed at 'Pavarotii&Friends' leaving Luciano Pavarotii stunned by the siblings" talent. The Corrs also performed with Celine Dion and The Rolling Stones and were also part of a charity concert in Vatican.
'Talk On Corners" - The Second Album
As a follow-up of fabulous live performances and huge number of fans, in 1997 The Corrs released what was to be one of the world's best selling records. This second album was produced by the same 12-time Grammy winner, David Foster.
"We feel he understands our music and the way we want our music to sound," Caroline says of The Corrs" musical mentor. "He's fantastic with vocals and harmonies. He always comes up with some other idea that you might not have thought of."
This new album is a more mature but more carefree than the first one. On this album the band finally let go of all their inhibitions and threw in a brilliant collection of truly magnificent tracks.
"Each song is different," says Andrea of the record's lyrical themes. "There's love, life, tragedy, hope, dreams, fantasy. It's whatever the music inspires." The lyrics of the first single, "Only When I Sleep" were written by Andrea alone, and tells the story of a girl who sees an imaginary lover only during her sleep. Among the 14 tracks on this album the ones which really stand out are the truly dramatic "Queen Of Hollywood" (whose lyrics supply "Talk On Corners" with its title), the instrumental "Paddy McCarthy" a track which once again confirms the band's folk roots, and the duet with the Chieftains on a Celtic version of Jimmi Hendrix's "Little Wing'
'Talk On Corners" was a huge success all over the world, being Britain's (one of the world's most difficult markets) best selling album in 1998 and the 4th best selling album of the "90s. Their albums went 15 times platinum in Ireland, 6 times platinum in UK, 5 times platinum in Spain, 3 times platinum in Malaysia, 2 times platinum in Australia, Singapore and Denmark and platinum once in France, New Zealand, Sweden, Indonesia and the Philippines, not to mention the number of occasions their records went gold or silver around the world.
"I think the reason for that is it's very melodic. Also, there's something about the traditional Irish music element that, all around the world, seems to capture everybody's heart." Says Andrea.
What's next? Well, total world domination, of corrs. After "Talk On Corners (Special Edition)" and "The Corrs Unplugged" comes the third studio album, "In Blue" which is almost certain to be their biggest hit yet. All I can say is that I hope they reach the level of success they worked so hard for, because they truly deserve it after ten years of struggle and an enormous amount of work.
"I think the music reflects something about the Irish people as a whole", says Sharon. "The Irish have a lot of hope, despite all the troubles they've gone through over the years. They've always known how to laugh and have fun. That's where the tradition of up-tempo Irish music and dancing comes from. But there's that mystical, haunting sound as well, which I think reflects the Irish environment. I mean, when you get up first thing in the morning, there is literally a mist surrounding everything. Our music is influenced by our environment, and we play what we feel." "There is a certain paradox about it", adds Andrea. "It's a hopeful sadness" ....