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Danny lends his voice
7:00am Saturday 8th September 2012 in NewsXtra
Irish pop-rockers The Script release their new album on Monday, September 10, and begin a series of live shows the day before. Andy Welch talks to frontman and The Voice mentor Danny Donoghue about the personal heartache that inspired the album, as well as how working on the hit BBC talent show helped, rather than hindered, recording it.
By Andy Welch
Danny O'Donoghue is like a hurricane.
Enter into conversation with The Script frontman and it's best to just sit back and listen. He talks twice as fast as most people, telling stories, cracking jokes and recounting conversations you have almost no hope of keeping up with.
According to Irish legend, kissing the Blarney Stone, part of the foundations of Blarney Castle just outside Cork, gives the gift of the gab to he or she doing the kissing. In Dubliner O'Donoghue's case, he may well have spent a whole night with the bluestone block.
"I like talking," he says, "and my favourite subject is us, the band. We're on a promo marathon at the moment, or Promogeddon as we like to call it."
As well as talking quickly, O'Donoghue swears like a drunken sailor. It's distracting at first, but after a couple of minutes it's barely noticeable as he rattles through stories about recording forthcoming third album, #3.
While The Script have steadily built a large following since releasing their eponymous debut in 2008, the band's profile has risen considerably of late thanks to O'Donoghue's involvement with The Voice, alongside Tom Jones, Jessie J and Will.i.am.
The BBC talent show has recently been re-commissioned for a second run.
Filming took up a large part of O'Donoghue's schedule, but that didn't stop him and his bandmates, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power, recording their third album.
"We set off at the start of the year saying it would be brilliant if I could do The Voice AND have an album done in the background," he begins.
"We didn't think it would be possible, but that was the aim. Anyway, Mark and Glen were working during the day when I was filming, and I'd join them in the recording studio afterwards. Sometimes I'd be filming from 9am until 9pm, but I'd go straight to meet them and we'd work 'til 2 or 3am.
"It was really hard, but we're in this game to get things done and work hard. Bring it on we say," he continues.
"Not many bands would even contemplate doing what we did, but we ended up delivering the record two months early, which is unheard of. We were militant in our attack."
Initially O'Donoghue was worried that sitting in a TV studio all day might stifle his creativity. As it turned out, coaching the contestants, picking out songs for them, writing harmonies and, of course, working alongside three other professional singers, had quite the opposite effect.
"I used to hear stories about the Rolling Stones coming off stage somewhere and going straight to the studio, and I could never get my head around it, but it's because their energy was high and the adrenaline kept them going," he says, perhaps underestimating what other chemicals might have been keeping the Stones going into the wee hours.
"It was a bit like that with The Voice, I suppose. It's all music and I was buzzing all day.
"People like me and Will.i.am, you can't stop us. We have music everywhere, and will make music anywhere. Even in my trailer at The Voice I had a little recording studio. I can't be anywhere without one."
Hall Of Fame is the lead single from #3 and, as one of the most-played songs on the radio in the UK, USA, large parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, it's perhaps already the most successful song The Script have had. Compared to one of their first singles, Breakeven, which took 39 weeks to reach No 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, things are moving much faster for the trio.
The impact of Hall Of Fame's guest star cannot be overlooked either - O'Donoghue's fellow Voice coach Will.i.am.
"It looked as if we'd never get the chance to work together, but I played him the song and he loved it. In fact he wanted it for his own album, but it seemed like a great chance to get him on ours.
"We all got in a car and went to his hotel room and did the duet right there."
Other songs on the album include some of the most personal lyrics the band have written.
If You Could See Me Now is a tribute to O'Donoghue's father and Sheehan's mother, who both passed away in 2008, and the latter's father, who died when Sheehan was 12.
"There are some things that are hard to put into songs," says O'Donoghue.
"And when we were recording that we were looking at each other across the studio as if to say, 'Are you OK with this?' but it turns out it's one of the best things we've done.
"I'm biased, I know, but I think Mark's second verse on that song is one of the best ever.
"Mark's lyrics are so eloquent, and articulate. He's never talked about it before, not because he didn't want to, but because he couldn't.
"He's clearly thought about his parents to the point where it now rhymes and makes so much sense that it'll have people in tears, I'm sure of it."
Thanks to the countless fans O'Donoghue says stop him in the street, and a burgeoning army of Script followers in the US - the band's second album Science & Faith went to No 3 in 2010 - the new album's chances look quite rosy.
"It gives you amazing confidence when someone comes up to you and says, 'When's the next album out? Wherever the music goes, we're coming with you'.
"I know there's a fanbase there for The Script, and that it can get bigger.
"We got over the difficult second album thing, we got over the press writing what they like about us, and can take whatever is thrown our way," O'Donoghue muses.
"We'll always come out smelling of roses."
The Script - Extra time
:: Danny O'Donoghue and Mark Sheehan were members of late Nineties boyband Mytown. They disbanded in 2001 and, with Glen Power, went on to form The Script.
:: The pair also worked together as music producers in the US, teaming up with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Dallas Austin and Teddy Riley.
:: Their debut album The Script was released in 2008 and has sold more than two million copies.
:: O'Donoghue was in a long relationship with model Irma Mali. He's since been linked to Voice contestant Bo Bruce although denies they were an item.
:: At the 2012 Brits, host James Corden referred to Danny as Danny O'Dunno-Who. O'Donoghue says he will have the last laugh if he wins a Brit at the 2013 award ceremony!
Sep 9 - Glasgow O2 ABC
Sep 10 - Manchester HMV Ritz
Sep 12 - London Shepherd's Bush Empire
:: The Script release their new album #3 on Monday September 10, and begin a short UK tour the day before in Glasgow