Tommy Fleming was born in 1971 in Aclare, CountySligo,
the youngest of six children to Anne and Paddy
Fleming. His natural singing ability was evident at a young age whilst
participating in local talent competitions and concerts and his performances
always delivered something quite special. While still at school his first band
was born – a rock band (!) called “The Face of February” and thus
began the a life of ”gigging” in local clubs and pubs.
leaving school (in 1990) Tommy started to establish himself as part of a Castlebar quartet known as “Jarog” performing in pubs and clubs
around the country and regularly packing in the fans wherever they appeared. Their flame haired vocalist was also attracting
attention at their many festival appearances across the country.
despite this success in many venues through the early 1990’s, record companies
didn’t appear to be too interested in his work. Then a chance encounter with
renowned producer and composer Phil
Coulter changed all that.
July 1993, Phil overheard Tommy performing at a charity event in Westport, CountyMayo and within days he was ‘guesting’
with Phil and his Orchestra at
the OperaHouse (Cork),
the National Concert Hall(Dublin)
and The University Concert Hall(Limerick).
Four months later he was touring North
America, playing to huge audiences all across the USA and Canada,
culminating in two shows in the Boston
Symphony Hall and the legendary Carnegie Hall, New York.
returning from the successful US
tour, Tommy’s career took another leap forward when he was invited by Galway traditional group De Danann, to
join them as lead vocalist, following in the footsteps of such living legends
as Mary Black, Maura O’Connell, Dolores Keane and Paul Brady.
collaboration lasted three years and introduced Tommy to a worldwide audience touring Australia,Hong Kong,
and the U.S.A. Tommy also
featured on the De Dannan album “Hibernian
still had ambitions of a solo career and moving on, he finally recorded his
first solo album in 1996, entitled “Different Sides to Life”.
· Through The Barricades
· Listen Listen · Land
Of The Bottom Line · Things We've
Handed Down · Armed With A Broken Heart · Welcome To The Real World · For
Emily, Wherever I Might Find You · If I Gave My Heart To You · State Of Grace ·
· I Saw A Stranger ·
When The Lights Go Down · The Best Is Yet To Come ·
Crossing Over · Restless Spirit · Through A Child's Eyes · In The Gloaming ·
Pendulum · Fare Thee Well Love · Every Road Leads Back To You · Love Is
our cross to bear · Stranger Than Dreams · Isle
Of Inisfree ·
“Restless spirit is a
landmark occasion in Irish Music”
The News of the World…..
“This Album is 55 minutes
of pure pleasure”
RTE Guide (October 1998)…..
“ The Album (Restless
Spirit) is a mix of traditional, contemporary power ballads, the brooding title
track wouldn’t go a miss on a foreigner album – plus the cover of Clifford T
Ward’s The Best Is Yet To Come – the formula has proved an eminently successful
one for young Fleming.”
was all looking so positive for Tommy and the reaction to the album was
phenomenal. Then things changed dramatically.
a promotional tour of the album Tommy was involved in a major car accident
resulting in him sustaining a number of serious injuries, including a broken
neck, leaving both his life and his career in jeopardy.
had been returning to his native Sligo when he
took a shortcut near home. He veered off the road and hit a tree, loosing
consciousness for some time. The car burst into flames and with the driver door
damaged it was more than luck to escape the burning car.
Tommy walked for two miles, not realising the extent of his injuries, before
being given a lift by a local couple. Still in shock, he arrived in Aclare where his family took him straight to Castlebar GeneralHospital. Presenting with
severe neck pain, the Hospital immediately transferred
him to the MaterHospital,
Fleming had indeed sustained a broken neck and was fitted with a “Jerome Halo”.
Jerome halo brace is a complicated and intimidating looking apparatus designed
to keep the neck and head immobile while the broken bones mend. It is best
described as a large crude-looking metal cage, which comes down over the head
and shoulders, and is literally screwed into the skull at four separate points
to keep it in place.)
several worrying and distressing weeks in hospital, Tommy was eventually
allowed home and in his own words… “I
spent the first few weeks wondering if I was paralysed and what would become of
my singing career. With a new album just out and a string of concert dates
cancelled, I spent most of that time very quiet - which is not like me”.
As he recovered slowly from his painful injuries
he wore the halo for 3 months which meant sleeping in one position propped up
by pillows. A simple thing like taking a phone call became a major chore and
bumping into doors was a common occurence due to the
size of the cage. It seemed that all he had achieved in a carefully nourished
singing career was in danger of being lost. But in true Fleming spirit he
fought against the odds and recovered to good health and his fine voice seemed
fuller and more haunting than ever. Looking back at that dark period, Tommy
describes it as …“scary, the worst time of my life”.
Tommy’s recovery, the other good news was – that “Restless Spirit” continued to sell and reached double platinum
A year later, the
determined Tommy was back on the
road touring and in the summer of 1999, he started work on his next studio
album “The Contender”.
· The Contender · Hard Times · Only Our Rivers Run Free · Lift The Wings · The Highest Point · Danny Boy · The Meeting Of
The Waters · Old Clothes (Duet With John Hurley) · The Quest · Black Is The
Colour · GalwayBay · A Dance As Old As Tears · The
Water Is Wide·
album would see him return to his more traditional, folk roots, recording an
album of entirely Irish writers such as Jimmy
McCarthy, Christy Hennessy,Micky O Connell and John Hurley who had written the title track of 1998 album “Restless Spirit”. He also
breathed new life into classic old songs such as “Danny Boy”,“Hard
Times” and “Black is theColour” . When asked why he chose such a wide variety of Irish
material his reply is simple, “if a
song is good and you sing it well then it doesn’t matter when it was written -
it will always stand the test of time”.
went on to become one of the best selling albums of 2000/2001 achieving
multi-platinum sales and making Tommy one of the most sought after acts in
Ireland and abroad, attracting the attention of promoters in Japan, the US and
Europe and leading to sell out shows in the first Japanese tour of his
career. Along with this Tommy was nominated for Best Irish Male Vocalist in the
national Meteor Music Awards 2000.
After the huge success of
“The Contender”, it was time for work to start on a new album. Tommy changed
direction again pooling from writers such as Tom Waits, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Webb, Callum McCall, Paul Brady and once again John Hurley. When all the
writers and songs were compiled the album “Sand and Water” was born. A song that remains Tommy’s favourite
today was the title track written by BethNeilsen Chapman. Having attended a show at
the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, one
reviewer wrote, that “when Tommy sings this song you can feel the pain that was
felt by the writer. He has a remarkable ability of taking you into his
world when he sings, be it happy or sad.”
· Silence Is King · Green Grow The Rushes · Allihies
· Sand & Water · If These Old Walls Could Speak · Martha · The Dark House ·
The Bantry Girls Lament · Jump In · Follow On ·
Believe In Me · Welcome To The Real World · Old Soldier · Waltzing Matilda edit
(Tom Traubert's Blues) ·
On completion of the Sand
and Water album, Tommy made a decision that not even
his closest friends or family expected. He took six months off and flew
to Africato work with the aid agency GOAL. He was a field operative in war
torn and famine stricken Sudan.
This time in his life is
one that he could talk to you about for hours. In every interview, his
eyes light up when he talks about his work with GOAL. “It was the
best and possibly worst decision I have ever made”, he comments. “Working with so much death and hardship
made me realise who I am and how lucky I am. I don’t take things for
granted anymore. In some ways I’m pretty relaxed but in other ways I can
be a real pain in the ass.“Don’t
ask me to explain that - only people who work with me can do that”, he
Tommy with one of the children in the camp in SudanAfrica
Tommy’s stay in Sudan
he worked as a field operative which involved living in a hut in the desert, in
a village in Br el Gzal, as part of a team of six
whose daily job was to provide food and medical assistance to the famine
stricken Sudanese - mainly malnourished children.
first couple of weeks were incredibly tough but Tommy settled into his new
surroundings and adapted to the situation in which he now found himself. Having
completed a six month mission, Tommy was dreading the day he would have to
leave Sudan to return to his singing career, as this work, hard though it be,
was fulfilling, invigorating and brought meaning to life.
eventually returned from Africa and “Sand & Water” was released. A
sell out tour of Ireland and
Holland commenced, bringing the flame-haired singer to an even
larger audience. It was on this tour that the work of a decade
(1992-2002) of Tommy’s career was compiled, paving the way for the release of a
hugely successful album.
· Sand And Water · The Contender · Silence Is King · Fare Thee Well Love · The
Best Is Yet To Come · The Leaving Of Liverpool · The Isle Of Inisfree · Wait
Till The Clouds Roll By · The Rose And The Briar · Ar Éirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé Hí
· As I Leave Behind Neidín · The Old Triangle · The Mountains Of Pomeroy · In
The Glooming · Raglan Road · Hard Times ·
Disc 2 (Live In Concert)
· Through A Childs Eyes · The Bantry Girls Lament ·
Danny Boy · Tom Traubert’s Blues (Waltzing Matilda) · Follow On · Only Our
Rivers Run Free · Green Grow The Rushes · The Water Is Wide · Love Is All
Around · GalwayBay ·
at St Patrick’s Cathedral Track List
• Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears • Bright Blue Rose • Will Ye Go Lassie Go • The
Auld Triangle • Song For Ireland • Carrickfergus · Mary Of Dungloe • Clare To
Here • Leaving Of Liverpool • Only Our Rivers Run Free · The Irish Girl ·
Fields of Athenry • When You Were Sweet Sixteen • Sound Of Silence • Fare Thee
Well • MoorloughShore (Bonus track) •
continued to tour and achieve huge success on the live circuit as well as many
radio and TV appearances. This ultimately led to his
idea for an incredible one-of-a kind concert at the Basilica in Knock. The
local boy had made good and the Monsignor was delighted to welcome him home for
an evening of uplifting and inspirational music. The seeds were sown.
The Knock Shrine Basilica
is a magnificent building with the capacity to seat 5000 and is set in the town
of Knock in the
West of Ireland. The Basilica has played host to Pope John Paul 11, Mother
Teresa of Calcutta
and millions of pilgrims for over a hundred years.
A concert of this type
had never taken place in the Basilica but on the 12th December
2004 Tommy Fleming succeeded in staging exactly that, and after many months of
planning and preparation a “Voice of
Hope” was born.
people packed the Knock Basilica for a once off concert that words cannot
describe. The material was specially chosen for the night and was meaningful,
spiritual and relevant to the setting in this revered place performed by an
enlarged band, orchestra and choir and guests Phil Coulter, Cara Dillon, Eileen Ivers and Naoise Stewart-Kelly.
• From A Distance • Morning Has Broken • Bright Blue Rose • Steal Away • Love
Can Build A Bridge • Lady Of Knock · You Raise Me Up • Ships Are Sailing •
Bygone Days • Angel · Ave Maria · Bridge Over Troubled Water •
• The Rose · You’ve Got A Friend · Amazing Grace · (Something Inside) So Strong
· Danny Boy • Sand And Water · The Prayer • Hard Times • Something Inside So
Strong • She Can't Really Be Gone • The Things We've Handed Down · A Song For
Ireland • True Companion •
The release of Voice of Hope was a massive success. The DVD
was broadcast on RTE, TG4 and across the USA on PBS stations. Platinum CD
sales were achieved many times over and Tommy was now in huge demand.
the show in the United
States of America in 2005. The CD and DVD
were released in Ireland
in October 2005 and went straight to the top of the charts and have remained in
the charts for months.
struck a chord with many, many people with songs including “Bright Blue Rose”,
“So Strong” “From a Distance” and “Bridge Over
Troubled Waters” being among the favourites.
Tommy was awarded Best Irish Male Singer-2005 by Irish Music Magazine and was again
nominated for Best Irish Male in
the Ireland Meteor
Music Awards in 2006.
Tommy Fleming continues
to mature as an artist and with a constantly growing reputation and fan base
continues to tour both home and abroad. Once you have heard this unique and
powerful voice, we are sure you will agree that it is peerless.
concerts are memorable and entertaining and it’s not
all singing or music. Tommy’s natural wit and quick-fire humour are usually
well evident at such gatherings - the audience being entertained with fine
stories and hilarious off-the-cuff ad-libs. The band usually features 6 to 10 musicians and it is not uncommon for
his album-owning fans to state that he is “even better, live” .
2006 saw the fulfillment of an 18 year dream for Tommy. Having expanded
his performance schedule both nationally and internationally he realised a long
held ambition and signed to his new record label – UNIVERSAL MUSIC - the 5-album deal being
a ringing endorsement of achievement to date and underlining his growing
stature as an artist of not inconsiderable repute.
“A Life Like Mine” album was
released in October 2006 meeting with both commercial and critical success. An
album full of Irish writers with a perfect balance of contemporary gems and
folk classics such as…..
Sky • Don’t Want to Talk About
it • Scorn Not His
Simplicity • A Life Like Mine • Colour of Roses •
Jubilee • Lakes of Ponchartrain • We
Belong • Four Green Fields • Walk on Fire • Mystic
Lipstick • Summer in Dublin• Don’t Give Up Till It’s Over •
life like mine features “the definitive version of “Mystic Lipstick” Plus a
unique version of “Don’t wanna
talk about it” together with “Summer in Dublin”
and the haunting “Four Green Fields” written by the late Tommy Makem.
release of “A Life like Mine” was one of Tommy’s proudest moments of his long
career this was the first studio album that he had full control on the material
that was recorded and for once without the input of management and agents under
the guidance of his new record company “Universal” A Life Like Mine” became one
of the biggest selling albums for Tommy to date.
March 2007 saw the culmination of 6 months endeavour with
the recording of another live concert extravaganza, this time at the INEC,
Killarney, (with a 23 piece orchestra, band and choir) and now to be released
as a double CD and DVD entitled “A
Journey Home”. This album catalogues the “journey” of Irish music from
Thomas Moore to U2.
• Carrickfergus • The
Meeting Of The Waters • Raglan Roads • The Sally Gardens • Isle
Of Hope, Isle Of Tears • An Chuailinn • The Green Fields Of France• The Voyage • Don’t
Give Up Till It’s Over • The Isle Of
Inisfree • Fare Thee Well Love
• The Cliffs Of Dooneen • All I Want Is You • The
Bantry Girls Lament • The Quest • Cal / Local Hero • Summer In Dublin • The Water Is Wide • May We Never
Have To Say Goodbye • The Long Journey Home • Hard Times •
“A Journey Home” was aired on PBS TV across
the USA in 2007 & 2008
and was released in Ireland
Both Video and audio post-production were completed and the end result was
creating quite a excitement in the industry. Both
Universal and PBS were delighted.
In this regard, he is now
a stablemate of such luminaries as – Andreas Bocelli, Russell Watson, Catherine
Jenkins, Leslie Garrett, Bryn Terfnell, Hayley Westerner and Dame Kiri Tae
Kanawa. What an achievement - and
incredible as this may seem, he has already completed his first recording with
some of the above!
Tommy has been chosen by
Universal to represent Ireland,
as each of the above artists represents their own country, in singing the IRB
anthem “World in Union” for the Rugby World
Cup in Sept 07.
Tommy completed his first
tour in September and October 2007 where audiences were blown away with the
concerts. Tommy’s album “A life like
Mine” was released throughout UK
in October 2007 and many of Tommy’s fans across the UK were more than welcoming of this
release as they can buy Tommy’s album since October 2007.
Tommy is for years
building a very busy schedule in the USA, after building a huge fan base across
the States Tommy travelled for his first solo tour of USA in March 2008
followed by the release of Tommy’s album “A Journey Home” by Universal Classics and Jazz (USA). It
has been a phenomenal journey and one that continues to flourish. The albums
that have since followed are:
• Follow On • Jealous Heart • The Quest • The
Best Is Yet To Come • Something Inside So
Strong • Through The Barricades • The Contender• Bridge Over Troubled Water • Old Clothes • Isle
Of Hope, Isle Of Tears • Sand And Water • Four Green Fields • You Raise Me Up • Bright Blue
Rose • Hard Times •
• Steal Away • When The Lights Go Down • The
Prayer • Danny Boy • Lullaby • Jubilee • The Highest Point • Restless Spirit •
The Things We’ve Handed Down • The Garden Valley • The Isle Of Inisfree • Will
Ye Go Lassie Go • MoorloughShore • Wait Till The
Clouds Roll By • Fare Thee Well Love • May We Never Have To Say Goodbye •
In The Air • Bells Are Ringing • Angels We Have Heard On High • In The Bleak Mid-Winter • Christmas
1915 • O Little Town Of
Bethleham • The First Noel• It Came Upon A Midnight
Clear • Who Comes This
Night • The Wexford Carol • O Holy Night • Silent Night • Song For A Winter’s Night •
there you have it – right up to date and hot off the press!!
in conclusion for now -
you – for your time and your interest – whether you’re a first timer, a loyal
fan or a seasoned concert-goer. We thank you for your part in the phenomenal
rise of one Tommy Fleming from Aclare, Co Sligo and we hope to see you soon and
that you will join us again and again ….and again – whether that be in person
or just listening. Spread the word and please enjoy.