After clocking up 15 years of international success, 40 million album sales and numerous No.1 hits, any artist would be forgiven (but not forgotten) for taking a well-deserved break from the music business.
Yet somehow Sharon Corr has also managed to squeeze in a successful solo career, raise a family and become the face of Oxfam Ireland as well as other charitable causes in the short time since legendary Irish group The Corrs took a hiatus in 2005.
So how does she do it?
“I’m not sure,” laughs Sharon. “I’m a big time working mom, and it’s tough at times but I am doing what I love and what makes me happy, and that makes the kids happy. But then it’s not a nine-to-five job, so when I have time off I can spend lots of time with them, but I try to never spend too much time away from them; I always want to do what’s best for them.”
A working mom Sharon may be, but ordinary singer, songwriter and violinist from Dundalk she certainly isn’t.
In the seven years since the siblings went their separate ways to focus on raising families, Sharon has been relishing her career as a solo artist, playing festivals such as Glastonbury, touring extensively and enjoying the success of her stunning solo album, Dream Of You.
But song-writing is something that comes natural to Sharon, who lists watching and listening to her parents sing and perform amongst her earliest memories.
“Dundalk is a very musical town,” she explains. “There were always great sessions there when we were growing up so it was natural that we would end up in a band, especially because mom was a great singer – she was very like Karen Carpenter – and dad played keyboard and piano. They both lived for the music, so it was part of our conditioning too because we were brought up listening to them.”
As violinist, songwriter and backing vocalist for The Corrs, Sharon was partially responsible for the band’s enormous success, their sold out tours and string of chart topping singles and albums.
Now as a solo artist, she has taken centre stage as lead vocalist – a nerve-racking move for any artist who has relied on the support of band mates, not to mention brother and sisters, for most of their careers.
“I am not too nervous on stage now because I have been solo for such a long time, but at my first gig I was almost hyperventilating,” admits Sharon.
“But my family have always been very supportive of me, singing and playing music is what I have always done, so it made no sense to stop. When The Corrs finished in 2005, I had my children, and it always felt very natural for me to continue to sing. Then before I knew it I had a lot of songs – almost an album’s worth – so I decided to make one.
“Now I have taken to being a solo artist like a duck takes to water, I believe it’s important to have different experiences in life and to cherish each one, and I really enjoy being in control of my own gigs,” she adds.
“I wanted to experiment, to make different music and to progress forward. But I was primarily known as the violinist in the band, and I have been playing that instrument since I was six so I have continued to weave that through my own music because I don’t want to deny my past – it really bothers me when artists become different people almost overnight after leaving a band, because that really is impossible.”
Much to the delight of Corrs’ fans worldwide, however, Sharon says the group haven’t ruled out a possible reunion sometime in the future. “I will work on my solo career forever, well for as long as I’m upright anyway,” laughs Sharon.
“But I don’t know exactly what will happen with The Corrs. When you decide to work with your family 24 hours a day, it’s not all roses in the garden – in fact it’s probably insane, but for us there were more positives than negatives so we worked well and made music. There are no real plans for a reunion yet, but somewhere down the line, perhaps.
“Right now I am trying to progress and move forward as a solo artist, I’m almost finished writing a new album and this time I’ve chosen to collaborate with others, because writing alone is a safe environment for me. I wanted to stretch myself and get out of my shell, it’s been really good.”
Now as the runaway success that was the European leg of the Dream Of You tour draws to an close, one of County Louth’s biggest superstars is preparing to set the stage alight all over again when she supports Ronan Keating during his Oz tour this summer.
“I can’t wait to tour with Ronan because I have known him a long time from being backstage in corridors all over the world together,” says Sharon.
“I really admire him as an artist because we both know how difficult it is to go solo after being in a successful band and to carve out our own identity, so we identify with each other.
“But I am also really looking forward to coming to Australia because I haven’t been there in a while. It used to be almost a ritual for The Corrs to go there in January and February. The Irish have a great affinity with Australia and it’s always lots of craic, so I’m looking forward to the good weather, the beaches – and the beer!”