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Grace of God Ireland’s rising music star Robert Grace explains how lockdown helped launch his career

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Robert Grace found fame during lockdown

Robert Grace found fame during lockdown

Robert Grace found fame during lockdown

FEW people will look back positively on the Covid-19 lockdown era, but Ireland's rising star Robert Grace says it has launched his career.

The singer, songwriter and producer from Co Kilkenny also reveals that his wife, Corrine, is the creative force behind his latest song, The Hurt You Gave Me.

Graiguenamanagh man Grace shot to fame last summer with his smash hit, Fake Fine, after struggling for a decade to make his mark in music.

Robert wrote Fake Fine - a song dealing with mental health issues - in the first week of lockdown last March, and in the months that followed it made a connection with thousands of fans.

Now a platinum selling single, Fake Fine also landed him a worldwide record deal with Sony Music and the chance to co-write with other songwriters associated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, Rag 'n' Bone Man and James Bay.

"Fake Fine probably wouldn't have happened if Covid didn't happen," Robert reflects this week in an interview with Shuffle.

"I don't want to be thankful for something that's absolutely detrimental to the whole world, but it worked in my favour.

"It definitely wouldn't have been the same song and it mightn't have worked as well. It just connected with everyone because it came out at the right time.

"I released Fake Fine on June 12 and within a month we had signed a deal, which was crazy quick.

"Then to get a platinum selling record with my first single is amazing to me. That all happened for me in the middle of the pandemic."

Robert, who had his own recording studio and worked with other artists, tells how his success is a huge relief to him as he's been on the breadline for years.

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"I'm married and we were living off very little money," Robert tells me. "It was a big struggle mentally. I'd have down moments every couple of months where I felt that I should give up and get a proper job.

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"When my first child came along I just thought that I can't keep doing this. I felt like I was giving my family a shi**y life. But you just have to battle through all of that.

"My wife, Corrine, and all my family, believed in me, so that really helped. It came to the point where I didn't want to disappoint my wife, my parents and my manager, so that's what got me through it in the end.

"What also kept me going is the thought of, 'what if I gave up just as I was almost there?' It's like that movie where the guy is mining and he's about two feet away from the gold or diamonds when he gives up. That's the kind of thing that I kept thinking of, 'what if I give up now and it's literally two feet away from me?' And as it turned out it was, so I was very lucky."

Revealing the inspiration for his new song, The Hurt You Gave Me, says: "I was in the studio one day in November and my wife rang me and said 'I have a really cool line for a song.' She said, 'You don't get to choose what I do with the hurt you gave me.'

"That was the first time she rang me to pass on something like that, but she's a talented woman, she'd be very into music.

"I think she was flicking through the stories on Instagram and someone said something about the hurt you gave me, and she then developed it in to that line. I thought it was very smart and very original."

Robert, who has a young son, Lincoln, with Corrine, says that lockdown has also led to the latest addition to his family - baby Bonnie who was born on January 10. "We're thrilled," he adds.

  • ROBERT Grace's new single, The Hurt You Gave Me, is out now.

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