Q & A with the Irish singer-songwriter
While selling her tapes door to door in her hometown of Dundalk, County Louth at the age of 12, Cathy Maguire could not have imagined that one day she would perform for multiple U.S. Presidents, including at an inauguration, and collaborating with multi-platinum artists Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Now splitting her time between New York and Nashville, Maguire is releasing an album of her favorite Irish songs on May 1, 2023. Irish America is excited to have Cathy perform at its 2023 Business 100 awards gala on April 14.
What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful for the future. Focused.
Who is your hero?
My current hero is the boxer Tyson Fury, a fantastic sportsman and world champion, a leading mental health advocate and all-around gentleman.
What musical artists are you currently listening to?
Cody Belew, Ashley McBryde, Jack L and Judy Collins, who just released a Grammy nominated new album at eighty-three years old!
What was your first job?
Selling cassette tapes of me singing and getting myself booked on TV when I was twelve years old.
Best advice ever received?
Develop the discipline of gratitude. To quote President Clinton, “Everybody has self-inflicted wounds and also unfair wounds inflicted on them. You still have to get up tomorrow and decide what you’re going to do. Every day you give into wallowing in the past is another day lost in a life that passes quickly, even if you live to be a hundred.”
Where do you go to think?
I love to walk with my puppy Arthur Hennessy. We do a loop of Central Park almost every day and sometimes sit on a bench in the park to take a moment to be grateful, meditate and breathe in the fresh air.
What is your typical day?
Depending on whether I am in Nashville or in New York City, where no two days are the same. I started an award-winning company that specializes in global mobility and usually the day starts with very early phone calls with clients from around the world. Most days I will be out and about with clients in the Tri-State area. I always try to find time to fit in some form of exercise, meditation, and vocal exercises.
Best opening line in a book or piece of music?
“Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game.”
What drives you?
The ability to help other people and make someone’s life easier. The more successful I become, the more I can help others in need on so many levels.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I was doing a musical tribute to Buzz Aldrin, who was in the room, and I introduced him as Buzz Lightyear. Needless to say, Mr. Aldrin was not too impressed!
What is your favorite place?
Percy Warner Park in Nashville, TN. It has amazing trails and offers tranquility and a peaceful escape from what is now a hectic destination city. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City still takes my breath away every time. And of course, the mountains in Colorado are absolutely heaven on earth.
What is your favorite sound?
When the pilot on a long flight announces that we are about to land! Musically, I adore the sound of a great traditional session in full flight in an old bar somewhere in Ireland.
What is your motto?
There’s a point when you go with what you’ve got. Or you don’t go at all.
What question do you wish someone would ask you?
Can you help me please? There’s an enormous joy in working alongside people who truly need help at some point in their lives and seeing them come out the other side.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you do?
I would be a lawyer or a politician. I’ve always wanted to represent and advocate on behalf of those less fortunate. I would not rule out a second career in politics in the future.
When did you first start singing, and what inspired you to do so?
I’ve sang since I was a very young child and I’m inspired by the generations of singers and musicians in my family who came before me.
Do you play any instruments, which one is your favorite?
I play the guitar and a little piano. My favorite instrument though, is my voice!
Who are your biggest musical influences?
John Denver, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, my producers Cowboy Jack Clement, Gabriel Donohue and my fellow co-writers and musicians, whom without I could not make or perform music.
What has been your most memorable performance or favorite musical experience?
I recently sang the National Anthem of Ireland in Madison Square Garden for the Katie Taylor World Championship fight. In all of my years of attending events in America, I have never witnessed an atmosphere like it. The entire crowd sang the anthem along with me so loudly that I could barely hear myself. It was truly a spine-tingling moment.
I also curated the music for the Martin McGuinness Memorial Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC. Being able to pay tribute to an incredible leader like Martin McGuinness was a true honor and privilege.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their musical career?
Create content for social media every day and reach your audience directly. Don’t wait to be ‘discovered’ or signed to a record label. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Even if it is not a perfect performance, post it anyway. You never can tell what will go viral!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently finishing an album in Philadelphia with my producer Gabriel Donohue. The album is mostly old Irish songs that I have always loved and wanted to record.
What are your plans for future music projects?
I am working on a one-woman show based on the songs of Patsy Cline and my own life experiences. On May 1, I am releasing a new album of my all-time favorite Irish songs