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Former Celtic Thunder star returning to Strand

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Damian McGinty returns to Shelbyville Thursday night to perform songs from his recently released album, “Young Forever.”
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Damian McGinty broke into the music industry with “Celtic Thunder” but is out on his own now as an independent artist promoting his recently-released album, “Young Forever.”

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Damian McGinty stepped into the music industry as a teenager as part of “Celtic Thunder.”

More than a decade later and an independent artist now, McGinty is traveling the country in support of his new album, “Young Forever.”

“This wasn’t really a decision I made,” explained McGinty during a phone interview Saturday of his decision to step away from Celtic Thunder. “It was an eventual inevitability. It’s something I always wanted to do but I was still learning the craft of song writing. I had to get the material strong enough for release. I finally feel ready to do this ... to stand alone and release my own music. But there is a lot more risk also.”

The native of Derry, Northern Ireland, he made his first appearance in Shelbyville in 2018. And when the schedule was being crafted for his “Young Forever” Tour in 2019 and a date was available to return to the Strand, McGinty never hesitated at returning to the 103-year-old venue.

“It’s such a great little theatre,” he said. “It’s kind of the perfect size for what I am doing at this moment.”

McGinty will perform at the Strand Theatre, 215 S. Harrison St., on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 

“It will be very energetic,” said McGinty. “Youthful, fresh and colorful ... it will be based off the album – a lot of songs I’ve written. It’s really personal and I am excited to get back to Shelbyville.”

McGinty was discovered at the age of 13 and that led to his selection for Celtic Thunder – a collection of artists from Ireland and Scotland that perform songs celebrating their Celtic heritage. In 2011, McGinty left the group to compete in “The Glee Project,” a singing competition that he won which earned him the role of Rory Flanagan on the Fox television show, “Glee.” 

“That was such a great experience,” he said. “That took my profile where it has never been before.”

What was supposed to be a 7-episode arc on “Glee” eventually expanded into a second season. From there, he continued to develop his own music while also performing again with Celtic Thunder.

The “Young Forever” tour’s latest swing started Monday in Jacksonville, Florida. McGinty will perform in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday before returning to Shelbyville.

“This tour is about getting around to as many places as possible to play for hundreds of people every night,” said McGinty, who now calls the Los Angeles area home. 

Already a veteran performer who has both film and television acting credits, McGinty admits to one clear goal to his journey. 

“The ultimate goal is longevity,” he said. “I love this career. I love performing whether it’s a concert on on TV or in a movie. I really want to do this 10 to 20 to 30 years to come.”

And that will lead to many more moments where an Irish born singer can look around in amazement when seeing where his career has taken him.

“It happens more than you think,” he said. “It’s a bizarre way to make a living. It’s not normal that’s for sure. 

“There are times I would love to have a normal quiet life in Ireland, but I would get bored. This is what I was born to do.”

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s event. They can be purchased locally at Mickey’s T-Mart or online at brownpapertickets.com.