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New release Irish tenor Paul Byrom makes comeback with new crowd-funded album

Battered and bruised by an industry railing in the face of digital piracy, Paul retreated from the spotlight, licked his wounds and questioned his legitimacy as a singer.

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Irish tenor Paul Byrom and his dog Bradley

Irish tenor Paul Byrom and his dog Bradley

Irish tenor Paul Byrom and his dog Bradley

SEVEN years ago Paul Byrom, one of the country’s most popular classical tenors, turned his back on the industry he loved. 

His last album, Thinking Of Home, received rave reviews from critics but also failed as a commercial success.

Battered and bruised by an industry railing in the face of digital piracy, Paul retreated from the spotlight, licked his wounds and questioned his legitimacy as a singer.

But, as is the case with many great minds and talents, experience has brought wisdom and today Paul is back with a new record and a clear idea of who he is an artist.

“When you are a classical crossover singer you grow up knowing that the chances of you getting a number one in any chart is pretty slim,” he told the Sunday World.

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Paul Byrom at the launch party of Elle’s Bar at the Iveagh Garden Hotel, Harcourt Street. Picture: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Paul Byrom at the launch party of Elle’s Bar at the Iveagh Garden Hotel, Harcourt Street. Picture: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Paul Byrom at the launch party of Elle’s Bar at the Iveagh Garden Hotel, Harcourt Street. Picture: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“That being said, I am top of the best seller's pre-sale category on iTunes so the signs are pretty good and strong.

“This wasn’t about the charts, this was for me, a huge thing. It has been seven years since I released anything.

“The last project I released didn’t do the work that I wanted it to and I put a lot of money and emotion and stress into it.

“And that didn’t pay off the way I thought it would. I was gutted to the point that I thought I was done with the business.

“It has taken a long time for me to regenerate and re-energise my head and body to go again.”

The album comprises of 14 tracks of his favourite songs to perform including musical classics such as, ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables and ‘Memory’ from Cats, to mainstream hits including U2’s ‘All I Want Is You’ and The Beatles’ ‘In My Life’.

With over 65 musicians comprising of the Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra and Irish musicians, What I Did For Love will be one of the biggest albums recorded by an independent Irish artist this year.

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But unlike major record label releases this album was almost completely funded by Paul’s legions of fans who donated almost €40,000 to get him in studio.

“’If you guys want the album then you guys fund it’, that's what I said to them.

“I put all the facts and the figures for everyone to read, this is what it costs to make a record.

“That was before printing, PR and artwork and it cost close to €40,000.

“And they took it and in fairness they raised the money. Now I have had to put my own money to it as well but that got it over the line.

“The previous album had been with a label.

“This is the first time I have gone solo and the game has changed a lot.

“Before you printed CDs, you got them into shops and you just hoped for the best.

“Now you have to do all of that, get it online, try and create some sort of buzz on social media.

“You have to do all this knowing that the actual hard copies in the shops is possibly the least important thing.

“It has changed a lot.

“Whether I would do another independent release again, I would probably think twice, but I feel so proud that I have accomplished this album."

Last year the singer watched in dismay as his divorce to Phil Coulter’s daughter Dominique was processed after just five years of marriage.

It was, he said, the darkest period of his life.

But what a difference a year can make and now Paul is happily in a new relationship (with Catherine, the girl from the office next door, as he refers to her on Instagram) and he has gained perspective on middle aged life.

His new record, What I Did For Love, is two fingers to Covid 19 and proof that the music industry will and can endure.

“I turned 40 last year and I thought that it would be nice to do an album that is reflective of a man turning 40,” he said.

“There have been lots of highs and the odd low, so there are these melancholic moments where you turn 40 and you go ‘wow’.

“I thought I would have loads of kids and be a millionaire and be world famous.

“That was the goal when I left school. Life has an ability of kicking you in the arse when you get ahead of yourself.

“That was the concept of the album, that and the fact that I didn’t give up the music and walk away, because I loved it so much.

“Then the way the year has played out I wondered should I hold off until next year and release it then?

“But I just thought this is the year to go f**k you Covid. We are still here; us artists have had it really rough but we will survive.

“It is a statement of intent.

“That even through the s*******t of years music can still be made and we will survive.

“I just hope that it will be received well and that people get enjoyment out of it.

“And hey, maybe people will start to listen to my style of music because they have run out of everything else.”

Paul’s album is available in Golden Discs’ stores nationwide and available to stream from all major streaming platforms.

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