#MusicVideo | Blog 067 | Conor McGinty "A New Dawn"
I, like many others who live in the Derry region of Northern Ireland, have nothing but love and respect for those who push themselves into the limelight and seek out their dreams. Some of those currently well known names include Nadine Coyle, now residing in the National Parklands of Queensland, Australia, in "I'm a Celebrity, Get me outta here!", or, Bronagh Gallagher who is in the cinemas right now with her new film A Bump Along the Way. There a many more Feargal Sharkey, Paul McLoone, Dana, Phil Coulter, Michelle Fairley who played Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones right up until her demise at the Red Wedding, all of whom hail from the Maiden City as it's also known.
Needless to say, Derry produces some amazingly talented individuals in many areas of science, sports, politics and beyond. A new name soon to be added to that rostra is Conor McGinty.
Conor has some family heritage when it comes to the Irish music scene, especially in the realms of the world famous Celtic Thunder, and with the way things are going, fingers crossed, it won't be long before he finds himself fully immersed in that rollercoaster world himself.
This new found burst of attention hasn't been without its struggles. His first TV performance was on the 2016 edition of X-Factor, where the judges were extremely impressed by his range, and ability to make the song his own, which can be seen below in his first audition.
Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, despite the praise he lost his seat into the bootcamp stages, right at the very end. For most who appear on the show, the feeling of rejection plays hard on a their confidence. To receive such adulation at the audition, to then be told you're not good enough can be crushingly hard to take. Conor had to return home with his family, and back to his life as a photographic assistant at Boots.
Derry~Londonderry has a troubled past, in fact, it is where 'The Troubles' essentially began back in 1968 with the Housing Protest on Craigavon Bridge on the 5th of October, 2 days after Stormont banned all forms of protest/parade. Things went from bad to worse over the coming years, with the terrible tragedy of 'Bloody Sunday' in 1972 where 13 innocent people were killed by the crown forces. A bitter conflict ensued not only between the people and the security forces, but between the people themselves across religious divides. The aftermath of which is still felt today with a high proportion of people suffering severe mental health issues, struggling to find peace within themselves as a result of the environment they were brought up in.
Conor suffered, and suffered in a culture where people typically don't have the tools to deal with it, as everyone else around them are suffering to some degree themselves. It is a systematic failure in this town that it doesn't have a professional infrastructure in place to help its people, they are left to fend for themselves. Thankfully, Conor's time in a dark place slowly faded, and in time he began to get back out there, doing what he loves to do most, entertain people.
When you come so close to your dreams, it's hard not to think you've failed. It's hard not to feel a sense of embarrassment that you dared to put your head above the parapet and didn't achieve what you set out to do, in front of everyone you know, and millions of other people you don't. Those that don't truly know the mindset of the Derry people will see them as closed off, or hard to do business with, again, historically, the North West (and even in the neighbouring Donegal) have been promised so much in the past by politicians and businesses. Investment has always then been cancelled in favour of either Belfast or Dublin, with little left for the the North West. What you don't see is their protectionism for each other. Sure, he tried, but do you know what, they supported him as he tried and he kept trying.
As Chris Archer put it: “It Takes 10 Years to Become an Overnight Success”
What Conor didn't really grasp at the time was, he has a strong Irish soul. He'd just been in denial the whole time. Who can blame him? He wanted to be the next chart topping success, and who wouldn't? It's only natural for a young man to want to go down road. However, Conor didn't come to terms with what was being played out before him until recently, that his voice, his passion, and his natural leanings were always to be an Irish singer. To embrace the gift he was born with, to truly reach in to the hearts of his growing fan base and actually connect. Music is meant to connect with it's audience, it is meant to make the hairs on the back of your neck and on your arms stand up, and that's what Conor's voice can do!
A New Dawn
In his first album, emotion runs deep as 'A New Dawn' encapsulates his own life. Conor has sought out the songs that lend themselves to his voice and he's made them his own. What's most surprised him about 'A New Dawn' has been that it's topped the Irish Music iTune Charts in it's first week, plus he's already being helped by Celtic Thunder who are promoting his Album to their international fan base (over half a million Facebook followers alone) and it's been received with as much warmth has his own fans have shown.
In Conor's first show, it was obvious that the people not only loved him, but they were invested in his success too. His performance that night was emotional, entertaining and passionate.
I was fortunate enough to be invited along to film that night (with I might add, only 3 hours warning). Having stepped in at the last moment, I was pushed for camera placement, also, I was a little worried about the sound too, as I'd not had a chance to speak to the sound engineer prior to my arrival. Thankfully, a good friend was already behind the sound desk when I got there, he promised to supply me with the audio files after the event to help me sync the cameras in post.
I've only met Conor a few times over the years, I cheekily handed him a business card once, in Primark, not long after his appearance on the X-Factor when we first met, so actually getting a chance to work with him was exciting for me. It felt like all my years working on this music videography 'stuff' might just pay off in a commercial sense.
It wasn't long before Mr McGinty was on the phone asking for timelines for the videos to be released. Within a few days the individual songs started to be transferred over to him for his own social media channels, and it would seem he was impressed with not only the speed, but the quality too (a big sigh of relief). The idea of a "music video" became the next subject of discussion, and would I be up to the challenge? Thankfully, we could squeeze enough days in to get the filming down, of which Conor had a very clear idea of what he wanted in his mind, we just had to translate that into film, which we did in the course of the following week. Time waits for no man and all that.
Goodbye My Old Friend
This is one emotional piece, and it is very personal to Conor's heart as it's about his lost connection with his grandmother who sadly passed away. For those who listen to it, and watch the video, they too will relate to losing a loved one, and this song helps them feel comfort in the words and meaning too. Prepare to have your hair stand up.
Piecing everything together was the fun part, getting it to match through in terms of transitions worked great more through happy coincidence than preplanning (which is where a storyboard would have been handy), but we got there! The results of which can be seen below in Conor's new song, "Goodbye my Old Friend", check it out, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Here's a few images from behind the scenes with Conor and myself going through the process of filming and finally getting the finished version live.
Me (Darron Mark)A wet and cold evening at an old Irish Fort. First night's filming at The Grianan of Aileach, County Donegal. Darting out between showers.
Conor McGintyA bit of moon and a bit of a rain and a bit of Conor McGinty. The last shot of the night, in the rain, with a moon doing its best to poke through the clouds over Conor McGinty.
Darron & Conor McGintyThat's a wrap! Finished shoot on Lisfannon Beach, County Donegal We used Lisfannon Beach in County Donegal to get some really cool aerial footage for the video, to build even more atmosphere into the final production. Again, bloody freezing, but that's what happens when you film in November in the Northern hemisphere.
Darron & Conor McGintyJoy as the video goes live on Facebook/YouTube 7 days after the first scene was filmed. Okay, so I was a little excited, Conor however, was on the phone with his manager to tell him we'd got everything uploaded and tested. It was a busy day in the kitchen as we tweaked through all the changes and transitions to Conor's exacting requests, the response has been amazing! We're both so happy with the results.
What's next? Well, I'll be breaking down the rest of Conor's album launch concert into more single videos so he can ease them out online to build up momentum for his next big gig at The Millennium Forum, tickets available here: https://www.millenniumforum.co.uk/shows/conor-mcginty-a-new-dawn/
Conor, will be working hard on promoting his new album release, and I'm sure we'll be working on future projects very soon.
What's the lesson from all this?
You simply have to just keep going. Keep trying, it's not a failure if you learned something from it. Keep working, keep learning, and just keep going, just like Conor has and continues to do so. He's an inspiration, and I'm proud to finally call him a friend (he calls me all the time, he's very demanding you know lol).
Keywords: A New Dawn, blog, Celtic Thunder, Conor McGinty, darron, darron mark, derry, Facebook, Goodbye my old friend, ireland, iTunes, mark, northern, northern ireland, photographer, photography, Song For Ireland, YouTube
Thank you for the work that went in to Conor's video. Cant wait to see the rest of the album unfold. I'm lucky enough to have met Conor on a trip to Ireland a couple of years ago. What an incredible talent!
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