SHARON CORR

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - JAMES WIGNEY SHARON CORR and RO­NAN KEAT­ING will ap­pear at Re­gent Theatre, Melbourne, Fe­bru­ary 5- 7, 136 100.

Old har­monies, new con­nec­tions.

SHARON Corr has very spe­cial mem­o­ries of Australia – it was the place where she first felt fa­mous.

The first time the singer and vi­o­lin­ist ven­tured Down Un­der in the mid-’ 90s as one quar­ter of The Corrs, with younger sis­ters An­drea and Caro­line and older brother Jim, the rest of the world had yet to em­brace the charms of the Ir­ish band’s sweet vo­cal har­monies and folk- pop sound.

But Australia led the way, help­ing the sib­lings launch an in­ter­na­tional ca­reer that would go on to sell more than 30 mil­lion al­bums, thanks to hits such as Only When I Sleep, Dreams and Breath­less.

‘‘ We hadn’t ex­pe­ri­enced fame or suc­cess or any­thing and we ar­rived in Australia and were walk­ing down the street and we re­alised ev­ery­one was look­ing at us,’’ Sharon says.

‘‘ Then we re­alised they did know us and were say­ing ‘ that’s The Corrs’. And we were like ‘ oh my God, we’re fa­mous’.’’

The Corrs be­gan an in­def­i­nite hia­tus five years ago while Sharon, Caro­line and Jim raised their young fam­i­lies.

In the in­ter­ven­ing years, Sharon ( pic­tured) and lead singer An­drea launched solo ca­reers but, given An­drea is now ex­pect­ing her first child, there are no prospects of the quar­tet re­form­ing any time soon, if ever.

‘‘ I re­ally don’t know, it doesn’t feel like un­fin­ished busi­ness,’’ Sharon says of the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other Corrs al­bum.

‘‘ I think we achieved a lot and the world was good to us so if noth­ing ever hap­pens again, then I don’t think we could be dis­grun­tled about that.’’

For now, with son Cathal, 5, and daugh­ter Flori, 4, grow­ing up, 41- year- old Sharon is con­cen­trat­ing on her new life out­side the band.

She re­leased her first solo al­bum, Dream of You, in 2010 and is a coach on the Ir­ish ver­sion of the tal­ent search show The Voice, an Aus­tralian ver­sion of which will air this year.

She is also re­turn­ing to Australia this month to sup­port com­pa­triot Ro­nan Keat­ing on his com­ing theatre tour.

As part of two of the big­gest Ir­ish ex­ports of the ’ 90s – she with The Corrs and he with Westlife – Sharon and Ro­nan have been meet­ing ‘‘ back­stage and in cor­ri­dors for years’’ and re­cently teamed up to sing for the Mary Keat­ing Foun­da­tion, a can­cer re­search char­ity named in hon­our of the for­mer boy- band singer’s mother. ‘‘ It’s nice to work with him,’’ she says. ‘‘ I ad­mire him be­cause he is a re­ally hard worker and re­spects the in­dus­try and his au­di­ence. He is a good guy.’’

The Voice started in Hol­land in 2010, be­fore spread­ing to the US, Ger­many, Ukraine and Mex­ico, and suc­cess­fully de­buted in Ire­land last week. The show aims for a pos­i­tive and pro- artist tone.

‘‘ The Voice does a num­ber of things that is dif­fer­ent from other shows,’’ she says.

‘‘ First of all, there is a pre- se­lec­tion so the artists who are au­di­tion­ing for the coaches on the show are tal­ent- scouted, so no­body au­di­tions who can’t sing.

‘‘ That cuts out the cringe thing of watch­ing peo­ple who think they can sing but can’t.

‘‘ And then when we are au­di­tion­ing with the peo­ple who have pre- au­di­tioned, we can’t see them, we can only hear them. So we are re­ally run­ning on gut and the voice.’’

Sharon says leav­ing the safety of both band and fam­ily to take cen­trestage her­self was, at first, daunt­ing but she has now em­braced the chal­lenge.

‘‘ Be­fore I had kids I had some blink­ers on and didn’t re­ally see the world the way it is,’’ she says. ‘‘ It’s not that I was un­em­pa­thetic or not in touch, I just think that un­til you have chil­dren you don’t feel that im­mense vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

‘‘ When you re­alise that you have to pro­tect some­body from the world, it be­comes a big­ger and bad­der place.

‘‘ But it also be­comes more beau­ti­ful be­cause of the mir­a­cle of hav­ing chil­dren.’’

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