Multi-platinum singer-songwriter, Paddy Casey plays Joy In The Park in Cork this month.

Paddy Casey has no lights over his head

Award-winning singer-songwriter Paddy Casey has deservedly been at the forefront of the Irish music scene for a quarter of a century, though he’d tell you he has no idea how it happened.

But that’s fine because the rest of us know. It’s because your songs are excellent, Paddy, and your humility as a musician is a charm in itself!

Casey is well familiar with Cork – he might even love the place… but that’s a secret. Recently, he was announced as one of the big names to play this year’s Joy In The Park which takes place in Fitzgerald’s Park on 21 July.

“Cork's always been great to me, yeah. I think I have a slight affinity if I dare say it. I'm not sure I'm allowed to,” laughs Casey.

“I lived with two Cork guys for a long time, so I spent a lot of time down in Cork and they were funny - sarcastic - the way Cork people are, or whatever.”

Fans of multi-platinum selling Casey might know that lately he has been performing live with his talented daughter Saoirse who looks well on her way to carving out her own career in music. She will be joining him for his show at Joy In The Park.

“Saoirse's been doing a few gigs with me. After Covid, my keyboard player quit, so Saoirse sat in for a load of gigs and, I mean, she's done heaps of them with me now,” says Casey.

He adds: “I can't recommend it enough. Everyone should bring their kid to work with them! I think she's having fun and I'm having fun. She's really, really good and she's a really good songwriter. She's doing me more favours than I'm doing her.”

Created in partnership with the Cork Mental Health Foundation, Joy In The Park is best described as a celebration of life and a day to look out for one another while highlighting the importance of minding our mental health and well-being.

Casey, who has had his own struggles with mental health, says music has certainly helped him over the years. “For me, I've been down that road myself a few times,” says Casey.

“If it hadn't been for me listening to other musicians, I probably would have been a different person altogether.

“It (music) can definitely have a role in making you feel less isolated and less alone. Anything that shows you that you're not the only one thinking them thoughts, is helpful.

“I think your brain gets better as you get older, even for depression, obviously this is not true for everyone, but I found for me that life got a lot easier after the 20s – and the teenage years, Jesus, I wouldn't go back there in a million years. Stick around, you know?”

Since his hugely successful debut album, ‘Amen (So Be It)’ in 1999, Casey’s career has taken him all over the globe touring with acts like The Pretenders, REM, Ian Brown, Blondie, and Tracy Chapman to name a few.

Closer to home he has played all over Ireland, including a sold-out Dublin Castle, RDS, and a record-breaking week long run in The Olympia Theatre, alongside special guest spots with U2, Pearl Jam, and Bob Dylan.

Casey’s second album ‘Living’, released in 2003, and went on to become one of the biggest ever selling albums in Ireland, going approximately 15 times platinum. ‘Living’ features probably his most recognisable song, ‘Saints & Sinners’.

“I never in a million years would have imagined that song as a single,” admits Casey. “Honestly, I haven't a clue how I have big songs – complete freaks of nature,” he adds.

When it comes to inspiration, Casey likes to keep himself in the dark, literally, to give his head the space it needs without the noisy distractions of modern life. “Sometimes it's nice to be in the dark, just turning off everything and letting your brain do what it wants to do, you know? I live out in the country, so it's easier for me, and there's no lights above my head.

“I don't really have a problem writing anymore. A good one for me is to do something new, and then your brain does something new, if that makes sense. If I pick up an instrument I've never played, my brain will kind of go, 'Oh, here's a new thing, I might have a new thought while we're at it',” he adds.

His Latest album ‘Turn This Ship Around’ is a double album with one side focusing on acoustic songs with strings and piano, and the other a multi-genre, full band offering.

Like his latest album, there seem to be at least two sides to Paddy Casey, evident again in the fact that he is currently working on two new albums and a musical!

“My problem is, I do different things and I think I've a few brains going on – there's a couple of mes on the go,” he laughs.

“I feel like I'm writing too many songs at the minute and it's actually doing my head in! I've a lot of songs on the go and I probably should have finished the ones I had first instead of starting new ones.

“Greedy! I think I'm greedy for songs at the minute!”

One of Casey’s new albums will show a side yet unseen of the Dublin native, leaning fully into the electronic side of things.

“It's not banging rave or anything, it just doesn't sound like the other stuff,” he explains.

Check out Paddy Casey and his daughter Saoirse on 21 July at Joy In The Park. The free event opens at 12pm and runs all afternoon until 6pm.