ISLA GRANT

 

One of Ireland’s favourite entertainers is Scottish born Isla Grant who has recently returned from a sell-out tour of Australia and New Zealand.

‘It was absolutely brilliant.’ she told me ‘ and it was such a success, I’m booked to go back in October’. 
While she enjoys visiting Down Under, she says she would never be able to live there. Too many snakes – and spiders. ‘I remember one time’ she said ‘I looked up and there was this massive spider, the size of a saucer, on the wall. I mentioned it to the promoter who said ‘Oh that’s nothing. It’s just a tarantula! Well, you’ve never seen anyone get back in the car so fast”. Laughing at the memory, she added ‘but it is a beautiful country and the people are wonderful’.

Another beautiful country with wonderful people is Ireland and Isla can’t wait to return to her adopted home. ’Ireland has always been very good to me and I’ll be touring there later in the year’. 
Her current dvd, which was filmed in Scotland and Ireland, is called ‘Home from Home‘, and she explained why: ‘because every time I leave here to go to Ireland it is, indeed, like going home’. 

Like many other artists, Isla first found success in the Emerald Isle where today she is a major star, a household name. She counts some of her best friends Irish celebrities like Foster and Allan – ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. They really gave me my first chance’, and Daniel O’Donnell, ‘We’ve been friends since 1989. I wrote ‘Down Memory Lane’ for us to sing together on the album of that name, which was released last November. We had a lot of fun doing that. His sister, Margo has also been a true friend for many years. I wrote a brand new song for her. It’s called ‘An old friend like you’. 

But it isn’t just the Irish show-biz A-listers who line up to sing with Isla Grant- American country music legend, George Hamilton 1V is also on the album. ‘George, Bless him, actually came over to the house and we recorded our duet in the music room here, which is a memory I shall always treasure.’ 
Her husband and best friend, is Al Grant, the man she calls her rock. Al (who sounds more like Jim Reeves than Jim Reeves), sings, appropriately, ‘My Happiness’ with Isla on the album and is featured on the dvd. The Grants enjoy a very successful working partnership as well as being happily married. He is a member of her band and she says they have never spent a day apart. ‘I’d be lost without him’.
But life has not always been smooth sailing for Isla.

In 1992, following the near fatal head-on car crash that almost destroyed her world, it was Al who guided her through the blackest period of her life. Her terrible injuries slowly healed but then for two years she battled with agoraphobia. Today, recalling that time, Isla says ‘I couldn’t listen to music on the radio anymore. It brought back too many painful memories from my past. During the night, I’d wake up crying. My family were wonderfully supportive but in the end I knew it was only me who could make me better. I knew I had to write down my feelings because often I couldn’t talk about them. Those feelings eventually went into a lot of songs and when I finally started writing again, I took it much more seriously than I had previously. My songs were more sincere because they were bred out of genuine emotions. I feel that’s what has made them successful. People can relate to them.’

This interview appeared in full in the Irish Post, May 24, 2008

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