grounded | 

When he left home at 14 Glee’s Damian McGinty could have spiralled out of control

‘Glee was one of the biggest shows of all time and I happened to join it at the start of Season 3, where it was at the peak of its notoriety’

Damian McGinty

Damian McGinty in Glee

Damian McGinty (Glee) Eddie copy Sunday Sep 25

Damian McGinty (Glee) Eddie copy Sunday Sep 25

Damian McGinty (Glee) with wife Anna Claire Sneed Eddie copy Sunday Sep 25

Damian McGinty

Sunday World

WHEN HE left home at the tender age of 14 Damian McGinty’s phenomenal rise to stardom could have sent him spiralling out of control like so many child stars before him.

However, the 30-year-old Derry man says it’s all thanks to his parents, Damian Snr and Joanne, that he stayed grounded and came off the rollercoaster of fame unscathed.

“Glee was one of the biggest shows of all time and I happened to join it at the start of Season 3, where it was at the peak of its notoriety,” singer-songwriter Damian tells the S unday Wor ld a s he releases a new single, Like Moments Do.

“By the end of Season 2, rat in gs had gone through the roof, so I joined a massive TV phenomenon at the age of 19. It was a money couldn’t by learning experience.

“I had been working in the States since I was 14, but when I first went over I didn’t realise it was going to be a long-term move. When I started on Glee I had to be there every day so I settled in Los Angeles.”

Looking back, McGinty, who has three siblings, admits that it’s only in recent times he realised just how heart-breaking it must have been for his mother and father losing their son to the world of showbusiness at the age of 14.

“At the time I didn’t realise the gravity of that situation,” Damian admits. “Now I think, if myself and my wife ever have kids that’s a situation I can’t even imagine. I think I now have more of a deeper appreciation of them having trust in me.

“The other side of that is that it’s more of a reflection on them that I was able to do that at 14, able to hold my own, able to be okay and not fall into the child stardom situation that a lot of people end up struggling with. My parents raised me in a very healthy way and I owe them everything.

“They are not the sort of people that need vindication, but I’m sure when Glee blew up for me, for them they probably thought ‘we made the right decision.’”

Damian tells how it was fellow Derry man, Phil Coulter, who gave him his big break when he selected him for the folk and ballad group, Celtic Thunder, which has wowed audiences in the States since its launch in 2007.

“Phil Coulter was the first person to give me a role in the industry when I was 14 years old. He was the original musical director of Celtic Thunder and I still make records with them and tour with them in addition to my own projects,” Damian says.

“I’m in a very fortunate place as an artist where the Celtic Thunder audience has been aroun d for a very long time and I can pop in and out between projects. If an acting part comes along and if it’s something I’m passionate about, I have a great relationship with the management where we will have a conversation about that and make it work.

Damian McGinty in Glee

“The Celtic Thunder fanbase feels like friends to me more than it does a fanbase, which is such a fortunate position to be in as an artist. There’s such a strong foundation there underneath my feet. There’s obviously the Glee audience as well, and then there’s an audience that hasn’t put those other things together but just found my music as well.

“It just played out really well for me over the years. I think in this day and age a good healthy thing about my generation is that we are really not afraid to go where the work is and to follow opportunity, travel the world and see things. I think we are fortunate that we are growing up living in a world that is a lot more accessible than it was years ago.

“I went where the work was and the work just happened to go very well. I’ve just been very fortunate that I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I would do and the career continues to be good to me.”

Damian is also blissfully happy in his personal life after marrying American actress Anna Claire Sneed from Memphis, Tennessee.

“We got married in June 2018 and we had a plane load of Irish people come over for the wedding,” Damian reveals. “Memphis people are very similar to Irish people…they love a party and they love a beer. So it was just an explosion of happiness, fireworks went off and it was everything you wish for in a wedding. Last autumn we bought our first home and we moved from California to Nashville and I feel blessed.

“I’ve done the whole Glee thing and, as great of an experience as it was and I genuinely really enjoyed it, I’m way happier now writing and creating music than I was in Hollywood

“The reality is Glee could be the biggest thing that I’ll do in my career just because of the mammoth size of it, and that is completely fine with me. The most important thing for me is to enjoy what I’m doing workwise because it influences so much of your life.”

  • Damian McGinty’s new single, Like Moments Do, is now available on all platforms, and a new album, Moments, will be released in November.

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