Mirror Magazine
10th December 2000
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Irish eyes are smiling

Sibling group The Corrs charmed their native country of Ireland, delighted Europe, and now they are working their magic on the United States with their mix of traditional Irish music and contemporary rock and pop.

Blending their Irish background with contemporary pop/rock and the occasional use of synthesizers, the Corrs grew up with music in their blood.

The quartet formed in 1991, and are made up of three sisters and one brother of the Corr family - vocalist Andrea, drummer Caroline, violinist Sharon and guitarist/keyboard player Jim.

They found immediate popularity in Ireland, but it was a few years before they reached the world stage. In 1994, the American ambassador to the country invited the Corrs to perform at the 1994 World Cup in Boston. 

The attraction led to a support slot on Celine Dion's 1996 tour, which the group joined just after an appearance at that year's Olympic Games in Atlanta. The Corrs' debut album 'Forgiven, Not Forgotten' (released on Lava/Atlantic in America) became internationally popular, but nowhere more so than their homeland, where the LP's four-times-platinum status made it one of the most popular debuts by an Irish group. 

'Talk on Corners' followed in 1998, and was reissued in expanded form early the following year. Andrea Corr, who had made a small appearance in the 1991 film The Commitments, returned to acting five years later with a role in Evita. 

The Corrs grew up with their parents, Jean and Gerry Corr, in Dundalk (mid-way between Dublin and Belfast), a friendly town where many of the local people spend their evenings in the clubs and pubs enjoying live music.

Sharon, born in March 1970, is the oldest girl in the group. "There was never sibling rivalry," she says. "I mean, there were obviously family rants, like kids do, but you know, we've been almost on the road for about ten years now, and we've had a lot of hard times and claustrophobic times, and good times as well, and kind of all that experience has helped us to mature… we enjoy each other's company very, very much. I think that's because we realize that, regardless of being family, we all came together to do this as individuals, because this was our love, and we all want to achieve this individually. You need to get on because we have a fantastic chemistry musically."

All of the group share in the writing process. "We have kind of different sides of us that write together," explains Sharon. "I generally write on my own. Caroline and Andrea write together, Jim and Andrea write together, and [on the latest album], Jim and I have written together."

Their voices blend beautifully - in fact sometimes they are indistinguishable. "I remember years ago, when we used to layer our vocals," says Sharon. "We had a problem with phasing because both myself and Caroline do a lot of the back up vocals, and we sounded so much alike that it sounded like one voice. So when we layered them, it didn't matter how many times you layered them, you would end up with one voice."

Caroline, 27, started out playing the piano, but changed almost overnight to the drums. "It was at the very start of our careers… I had a boyfriend who had a band room at the back of his house," she explains. "He had a drum kit, and he was playing, and I was like, 'Oh, that's good'. So, I just got up one day, and I tried to play something, and I said, 'Will you teach me something?' He taught me a few beats, and then, all of a sudden, I was playing in the band. So, it was very fast. At the time, we didn't have a drummer, we were just writing all the time, as a performance band. We hadn't started really. Jim came in one day, and saw me playing and said, 'You know, this would be great for the band. So I ended up playing drums in the band."

Caroline is the shyest member of the family, but like everyone else, she still looks relaxed and comfortable on stage. Unlike some performers, they are not interested in being fashion icons in parade.

Just occasionally, the fans get a bit too enthusiastic, and big brother Jim is not afraid to step in and look after his sisters if necessary. "We have got a lovely fan base, and there have only been a few cases where it's gotten slightly out of hand," he says.

"In New York, recently… it depends on the nationality. Some nationalities will hold back and be very shy, and others are tight up in your face, like the Spanish and the Italians. The Italians in particular… I had to rescue Caroline one day. We were shooting the video for 'Irresistible' in the middle of Times Square in New York and Andrea was accosted by these extremely excited male fans. I had to actually intervene, and tell them to get back. I had to do it very forcibly, because she started to feel extremely claustrophobic, they were starting to pull at her, and I had to take her away. Generally, I don't have to play the protective brother, because these are Irish girls, and they are well capable of looking after themselves."

Being on the road so much is all part of the game. "We realised that it was going to be a slow burn, and that was certainly the case in Europe and the rest of the world, and that's going to be the case in the United States, but we've laid great foundations with two albums behind us, and everything is going fantastically well at the moment."


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