Protected: Ciaran Gribbin

Singer, Grammy nominated songwriter, performer and frontman of rock legends INXS

Hear Ciaran’s moving and inspirational story of growing up as a young musician in the pubs and clubs of war torn Northern Ireland … from leaving the bombs and bullets to working with major stars like Madonna, Paul McCartney and Al Pacino and touring the world as the lead singer of INXS.

It's a Long Way to the Top

Ciaran Gribbin, like all of us, is on a journey. However his journey started a little differently. His began in a war zone in Northern Ireland where bombs were being dropped at a steady rate and riots pouring out on the streets was a normal sight.

Ciaran’s family lived in the countryside and as a young boy the love of music was being handed down from generation to generation and Ciaran remembers hearing his uncle play the fiddle during family holidays. At nine years of age he wrote his first song, despite not being able to play an instrument himself. He begged his parents to buy him a guitar, but his mother insisted that he worked for it. So like any other good Irish boy, Ciaran went to the fields and gathered potatoes to save up for his first guitar. Once he saved up enough he began playing and practicing and putting all of his energy and focus into his love of music.

But the troubles of Northern Ireland continued and in his teen years, Ciaran came face to face with it. His band began performing in bars in Belfast every weekend while riots were taking place on the streets around them. Heavily armed, Balaclava clad members of the Ulster Volunteer Force were raiding the venues. Ciaran saw it as just a way of life and managed to stay focused on his dream through hard work and perseverance despite the political turmoil and violence. His music was making people sing, smile and dance and that encouraged him to keep going.

Ciaran knew though that there had to be more to music than playing in pubs and despite having no formal education, he applied to study music at the School of Music in Bangor, County Down. Something special was recognised in Ciaran and he was accepted to study alongside some of the finest musicians in Ireland.

He went on to tour with bands such as Snow Patrol, Scissor Sisters and Franz Ferdinand and began collaborating and co-writing with other musicians including Paul Oakenfold with whom he co-wrote Madonna’s Grammy nominated hit single, Celebration.

Twenty years of working hard, playing, practicing and writing paid off. While on tour in Australia as his solo project Joe Echo, Ciaran met INXS keyboardist and songwriter Andrew Farriss at a party who introduced him to the rest of the band. The members of INXS were so impressed with Ciaran’s vocal and song writing abilities that they asked him to become the lead vocalist of the band.

Ciaran had progressed in his journey from the dangerous streets of Belfast to taking the stage alongside some of his musical idols with 20,000 adoring fans in the crowd. Ciaran performed over fifty shows as INXS’s front man and he continues to write and collaborate with musicians from around the world. He most recently signed with Snow Patrol’s musical publishing house, Polar Patrol Publishing.

Ciaran is in strong demand as a corporate motivational speaker and as a facilitator/performer is his very own highly interactive Rock and Roll Teambuilding.

Ciaran’s story of growing up during ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland and the difficulty of starting a career performing in clubs run by the IRA, not to mention a few life-threatening close calls, is an extraordinary and heart-warming journey, told with honesty, humour and pride. He is motivating and inspiring and encourages us to never give up on our dreams.

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