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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Paul Byrom, 7:30 p.m. March 14, State Theatre for the Arts, 453 Northampton St., Easton CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Paul Byrom, 7:30 p.m. March 14, State Theatre for the Arts, 453 Northampton St., Easton

Spotlight on: Paul Byrom brings the thunder to State Theatre

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by ELIZABETH OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

Paul Byrom is known as Ireland's premier tenor and is a former soloist with the Irish music group Celtic Thunder. Now solo, he performs a show of traditional Irish music, 7:30 p.m. March 14, State Theatre for the Arts, 453 Northampton St., Easton.

Though Byrom very much enjoyed his run with the popular Celtic Thunder, he was ready to go solo.

"Well, it's important to say that I was a soloist for many years prior to joining Celtic Thunder," says Byrom in a recent phone interview. "So, after four very enjoyable years with the group, I felt I had gone as far as I could with them and returned to my favored role as a soloist."

Byrom became a professional singer at age 12 when cast in his first opera with the National Concert Orchestra of Ireland and recorded his first album, "The Golden Voice," as a boy soprano at 14. His second release, "Velvet," in 2005 reached No. 2 on the Irish music charts.

In 2007, Byrom became one of the original soloists in Celtic Thunder. Fans of Byrom nicknamed him "The Swanky Tenor" for his suave and romantic style of performing.

After leaving "Celtic Thunder," his album, "This Is The Moment," debuted at No.1 on the World Billboard Charts. This was followed by his first solo tour of North America, highlighted by a stop at the State Theatre for the Arts for a PBS special and DVD recording in March 2013.

Byrom is excited to share his traditional Irish music with the fans at the State. He believes such music has a devoted audience in the United States for a couple of reasons.

"I think it's a mixture between nostalgia and pride," he explains. "Many Americans today come from Irish decent. Their ancestors came to America at a very difficult time in Ireland. They would have arrived with little or nothing, worked hard and created a good and comfortable life for themselves and their families."

Byrom aims to appeal to a broad audience, not just those of Irish ancestry, by playing a mixture of songs.

"The songs are a mixed bag of Irish, Broadway and mainstream," he says. "I go from Gershwin to Schubert and 'Danny Boy' in between. If there is a song you don't like by the end of it, I will walk the main street wearing nothing but a shamrock."

Byrom's favorite part of touring the United States is meeting all the different people and getting to know the different towns and cities.

"Each place holds something special and each place I have been has always welcomed me with open arms. This confirms for me that I made the right decision in coming here to follow my dream."