Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dillion McCartney: Opera Singer

Dillion McCartney is a classical Irish Tenor who explores timeless songs with a classical crossover interpretation. His soothing voice will help any stress slip away. His album is out now and is brilliant. It was wonderful to speak with such a talented singer who seems to have had music in his blood for a long time.

What is your occupation?

Operatic Tenor.

Was this your first career?

Yes, I started out in musical theater. I started out as a jingle singer.

Why did you chose to be a jingle-singer?

It wasn't a choice for me. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked at a recording studio. The producers were really cool and they allowed me to hang out there and then one day a producer had me sing this nursery rhyme to him and brought me up to the recording studio. Whenever they needed a kids' voice, they would call me and that's how I started doing jingle work.

So, you were this little kid with all this money from working?

It was my first production work,,,I don't know exactly how much it was.

Where have you performed?

Um...I performed...I've been a soloist at Carnegie Hall four times and at Avery Fisher Hall on numerous occasions..I've song regionally throughout the United States and ah..Italy, France, um..England, Brazil, Norway, Tel Aviv...those were a...that kind of covers it thus far.

How many CDs do you have out at the moment?

I'm on my second one. The latest is called, "Dillion McCartney from My Heart."

Are you recognizable enough?

I doubt it, no...not yet anyhow.

How are you selling it?

Via the Internet, it's on Amazon, CD Baby...it literally just came out a few weeks ago.

Did it take a while to produce?

It took about...it took a couple of months to produce..that includes what I wanted to record, who I wanted to record with, mixing it down and mastering it, producing the CD cover...

Was it expensive?

About 15 Grand.

You think you'll make that back?

Well, in terms of direct CD sells, I don't think so, but it terms of it leading to other work...I mean I would love it if it started selling like crazy. I think it's more likely someone will hear it and want to hire me and that'll pay off the cost of the CD making.

Who are your favorite musicians?

Favorite musicians...

Do you hate that question?

Finding favorite is hard for a Libra...it depends on the day...I like everyone from Randy Newman to Tito Schipa to Johnny Cash to...it's so hard for me to say, I love listening to many of the operatic singing...Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, um...I'm a HUGE fan of Janis Joplin...I love MeatLoaf...(laughing), there's just so many...I'm not an Opera singer who only listens to Opera music for sure...oh, and I love Tony Bennet.

What else do you love to do? Can you build a house?

No, (laughing) I absolutely can not...I can not build a house. I'm an actor, I've done theater...other things in terms of what I like to do, you mean just hobbies?


I'm a real movie fan, I love going to the movies...I enjoy very much walking all over New York City...I love just taking in the city...nothing else is coming to mind.

What is your favorite song to sing?

I hate these kind of questions. It's just impossible...I can't give you a favorite.

What is the pay like?

Do you mean do Opera singers get paid well? Well, sure there are Opera singers that make millions...it's like any other field...people at the top are doing extremely well...there are so many expenses involved that a lot of people are not aware of.


I have a very famous Opera singing friend that in order for her to make a million, she has to spend half of that...it's because of how much it all cost: taxes, agents, managers, publicists ...everybody wants a piece.

What were your beginnings like?

I was in musical theater and someone saw me and asked me who I was working with and gave me a number to call...that school was Carnegie Mellon University and that was a school that I always wanted to go to and this gave me the perfect opportunity. When that show closed, I went to that school and graduated four years later...that's where I did my classical training also.

Ever sang on national television?

Yeah, a Honey Comb commercial, that famous jingle that many of us have grown up with,,,do you remember that one?

No, how does it go?

"Honey Combs big yeah yeah yeah, it's not small no, no, no..." People who know it will know it.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Um...I have no idea,,,just taking it day by day. If one thing this business has taught me is life is unpredictable. One day I could be in China...it's impossible to predict.

Any horrible experiences?

There's only been one time where I've had a terrifying experience. I was asked in college to be the mascot for the Pittsburg Symphony Fundraising Ball. The mascot that year was going to be a clown and part of my responsibility was to prepare this speech that was going to tell what was going to happen during this event and it was this long monologue..and I thought I had it memorized cold,,,it was so long and I didn't have a copy with me. I ran out there and just froze..I just kind of walked off the stage...but they didn't fire me, I ended up going to the ball anyway.

Is there anything else you'd rather be doing?

Although I sometimes wonder if classical music is where I want to spend all my time is something I question but as far as being a performer, there's nothing else I'd rather do...I've really given it a lot of thought and I can't come up with anything.

Are people surprised when you tell them what you do?

I don't completely identify myself as an Opera singer, it doesn't fully describe all the things I can do...I guess I could just say I am an entertainer.

Have you ever sang a love song to a lover?

Not that I can remember...I've sung places where my lover might be...

I really love how you sing the version of Danny Boy on your album.

Thank you.

I'm going to buy a copy for my mom,,,it'll bring tears to her eyes to hear someone with such a powerful voice singing her all-time favorite melody.

Let me know what she thinks.

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