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People's generosity

Simon Casey discusses his life before and after You're a Star and his runaway success in Ireland.

Simon Casey, number one singer in Ireland, is hoping to be as successful as he can possibly be. He took part in RTÉ's You're a Star television show, his song 'A Better Plan' hit the top of the charts and 23-year-old Simon is overjoyed with his achievement.

Simon is a resolute and talented young man. Entering into the music scene at the early age of six, he gathered much of his experience with Ballycumber Drama School. He performed on stage regularly and, in his late teens, established the band Church Mice, which had three top 30 hits.

Performing in many talent contests in his time, the two prominent competitions that remain in his mind are Popstars and the more recent You're a Star. He feels that the Popstars damaged his confidence as a singer, but, with the encouragement of his long-time girlfriend, he decided to enter the You're a Star series. "I got into the last twenty in Popstars. It really knocked me, confidence-wise. I think it knocked a lot of people because it made you feel so small. The judges gave a lot of criticism and never really gave any good comments. It took a lot of persuasion to get me to enter You're a Star."

He enjoyed the RTÉ series immensely and feels that the show boosted his confidence. However, he had some problems performing in front of one of his idols. "I got a lot of respect from people after the show and confidence-wise, it was absolutely great. I did find it hard to sing in front of Phil Coulter though, as I have so much respect for him," he says shyly.

With regard to the outcome of the show, Simon is pleased, though initially was disappointed. He has signed a record deal with Universal and hopes to release another single and an album following that. He has decided to defer his studies at Athlone Institute of Technology and is reticent about returning one day to finish his final year. "It would be impossible to think about looking into a book right now. I might go back someday, but am not too bothered about it. My college has been very good to me and have been behind me from day one."

Life, after You're a Star, has changed dramatically for Simon. He got a lot of publicity in national and local media. He finds it difficult to have a quite night out with his friends as fans are always offering him their congratulations, while others start singing rival song 'We've got the World tonight' to him. "Everyone wants to talk to you and to congratulate you, but you need to pick and choose where you go. I am recognised everywhere I go and I need to be careful as to what I do. I can't go mad like every other student because people are quick to judge. But I am just a student and I haven't changed, though people's perception of me has changed," he declares.

Simon is sometimes fazed by the overwhelming support he receives from the fans, but he appreciates the fact that, without them, he would not be as successful as he is. "It feels weird for people to be asking for my autograph as, three months ago, I was in a two-piece band. But I have worked hard over the last five years. I can't forget the fans because the nature of my fame is from people's generosity. If I was to pay back all the money that was spent voting for me, I'd be broke', he says with a grin.

Simon's one goal for the future is to be as successful as he can be in relation to his music. He hopes to conquer the UK music scene in the future as well as many other countries. He is taken aback by the airplay that he is getting in Ireland and he finds it peculiar to hear his name on the radio, knowing that he has hit the top spot in the charts. "I find it so weird to be at number one. I listen to the chart show every week and it's the best feeling ever to know that you're number one. It's an unreal situation to be in. Bryan (McFadden) feels great about his song doing so well and I hope to gig with Westlife in Landsdowne in June", he says.

Simon has toured the country promoting his new single. He hopes to perform at the Rose of Tralee later in the year and he hopes to have his album on the shop shelves by mid-October. "I don't want to start rushing an album as people always judge you on your first album. I want to spend time working on it so that I can put the right material together." He hopes to release his second single in June, which I have no doubt, will be as successful as the first.


by Nicola Rowan

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