Nicky Kealy is one of Irelands tallented entertainers. Since setting out on the road with his one man show in the summer of 2000, Nicky has enjoyed great success in the music industry. To date, he has starred on three Carribbean cruises alongside, among others, Brendan Grace and Red Hurley. Most recently Nicky enjoyed a week long tour in Rhodes playing to a contingent of Irish and English fans.
Nicky Kealy was born in Co. Carlow Ireland in 1981. He was introduced to music at an early age by his parents John and Bridget. He remembers much of his early life listening to a tape recorder in his kitchen with songs playing by artists like Two’s Company. His parents would also bring him to shows where he then got the opportunity to meet these same stars as heard at home.
When Nicky was 6 years of age he began attending St Joseph’s school for the visually impaired in Drumcondra, Dublin. Here, he was introduced to the music teachers, Maeve Smith – the choir director and piano teacher and Mary Mcnamara – the traditional music teacher. Both Maeve and Mary were great influences on Nicky in the early days as they introduced him to a wide variety of musical styles. It was just a short time later after Nicky had started school that Maeve began teaching him some pieces on the piano, along with songs, both in English and Irish. During his time in the choir he performed many solo work pieces. Mary Mcnamara began tutoring Nicky on the tin whistle. It was at that time that the school purchased two sets of Úilléann pipes, Uilleann being the Irish or Gaelic word for elbow, referring to the way this instrument is played. Nicky decided to be one of the first students to take up the pipes and started learning traditional tunes. He joined the school traditional music band and took part in many competitions with the group. He also enjoyed involvement in the occasional session playing the traditional tunes he had learned.
In 1995 Nicky decided to try his hand at traditional solo singing. He was first approached by Eileen Lacey, a teacher in the local national school, where he lived in Carlow. She helped him choose suitable material and was extremely helpful to him during this time. Later that same year, Nicky won his first all-Ireland title in solo singing in the Fleadh Ceol na Heireann in Listowel Co. Kerry. It was a great achievement for anyone to attain in their first year of competition. He went on to win third place in 1996 and in 1997 he won the under 18s category for traditional solo singing. He then decided to take a break from competitions and has not re-entered since his last win in 1997. However, he still enjoys singing Traditional songs among friends and tries to have a traditional song included on each album.
The release of his first album saw him achieve huge success with the song Raglon Road which was formerly a poem written by Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh and then later musically arranged and sung by the late Luke Kelly. In 1998 Nicky went into studio to record his first four track tape and CD. After its success he then went on to follow it up with his first album, Music in My Heart. He received great encouragement and reviews as well as airplay on radio stations around the country. A three year gap followed until 2001, when Nicky released his second Album, Come Back Home to Eireann. This album featured the Percy French Song, “Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff” which proved very popular. His third album was launched on his recent trip to Rhodes and is called My County Carlow Home. Nicky hopes to go back into studio later in the year and to embark on another Caribean cruise in 2005.
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