The popular country singer from Tipperary celebrates thirty-five years in showbusiness this year and here she talks to June McDonnell about the ups and downs of her singing career.
Internationally acclaimed country singer Louise Morrissey is one of Ireland’s most highly rated singing stars. Her entire life has been surrounded by music. Both her parents were musical. Her father played saxophone in a local band and her mother sang and played piano. Music was always part of growing up, and as children they were encouraged to sing and learn an instrument. Louise was only nine years old when she began learning the guitar.
She is from a family of six, three boys and three girls and is the second youngest in her family. She was reared on the family farm in Bansha, County Tipperary, a farm that has been in the family for centuries. She is fondly known as ‘The Bansha Lass’, a title bestowed on her by RTÉ’s Brian Carty when Louise was a guest on one of the country music programmes he was presenting at that time.
When her brothers Billy and Norman formed a folk group, Louise was just fifteen years old and joined them initially. They entered talent competitions and played locally at the weekends. After leaving school, Louise started a hairdressing apprenticeship in Tipperary town and continued singing at weekends.
When ITV’s talent programme Opportunity Knocks came to Ireland searching for new talent in the late 70’s, the Morrisseys entered the competition and were successful in securing a place on the show. While they didn’t win the competition, their television appearance opened doors for them and they became a major attraction on the cabaret circuit.
During this time Louise continued singing with her brothers while combining her training as a hairdresser. Realising that she couldn’t keep two careers going in tandem, she decided to leave hairdressing and concentrate on becoming a professional singer. She also changed direction from folk to country music, which was her first love, and formed her own country band.
At first she was apprehensive about her decision. Thankfully her fears were unfounded and the switch was seamless and a huge success. The year was 1988. The stamp of approval and a confidence boost came that same year when she was invited to sing the Tipperary anthem Slievenamon at the All-Ireland Senior hurling final between Galway and Tipperary in Croke Park, thus introducing Louise to a worldwide audience of millions of viewers.
Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own