Cleary started writing songs at the age of eight, but it wasn’t until more
than ten years later that his career in music really began.
I was younger I focused more on football because I wanted to be a professional
football player and I couldn’t get on stage, I was too nervous.
I couldn’t sing in front of people.
The first time I ever sang in front of anybody was my last year of high
school when I was at 19, end of high school… It’s very strange.
I think if I’d gotten any other reaction I would’ve never done it
again. I sang Oasis’
“Wonderwall” just before that song broke, it wasn’t really out in Canada
yet and I did it. I got a standing
ovation. And I remember I was just
so nervous I was shaking, but the feeling that I got from being up there and
doing it, I thought “okay, this
is something that feels good”.
June 24, 1976 Cormac became one of five sons born to what he describes as “mad
Irish hippies”. He spent the
first 15 years of his life in a small town in Ireland called Ballingcollig,
County Cork, before his father moved the family to Burlington, Ontario in Canada
where more employment opportunities existed at the time.
working class. I’ve always been
working class. I was working class
in Ireland and working class in Canada. I’m
definitely working class in LA. When we moved to Canada it was such a huge
culture shock, it took us a long time to adjust because it was so different.
We grew up in a three-bedroom house shared by five boys, and my mom and
dad. There were four of us boys in
one bedroom. We had bunk beds, and
we shared everything. That’s how
we grew up but we had the best childhood because we never wanted for anything.
We didn’t have a lot of money, but our parents always made sure we were
well looked after. We never needed
anything. Then when we immigrated
to Canada my dad rented out this huge house with a big garden and two garages.
All the houses in Burlington are like that, and everything looked big to
us. The school looked like a
shopping mall with kids driving to school in cars
- which just didn’t happen where we grew up.
It just didn’t happen. But
that’s just what Burlington is. The
majority of it is upper middle class, but we weren’t.”
he names a variety of bands from U2 to Coldplay to Radiohead to Neil Young as
having impacted him, Cormac cites his father as the biggest influence of all.
have his records, all these Irish traditional records. He was a musician, traveled, lived in Hamburg.
He was in tons of bands. He
was a guitar player and a singer, so I guess he’s the first real influence.
He was always playing guitar at parties and around the house.
My mom would sing and my dad was always playing”…
formed and played in two bands before recording his own demo and answering
classified ads looking for musicians or new songs. Answering an ad for Blade TV Cormac sent his CD in not aware
that it was for TNT’s original series “Witchblade” starring Yancy Butler.
thought it was a skateboarding show, something I don’t know anything about.
My initial reaction was “Blade TV” must have something to do with
skateboarding, in-line skating and I almost didn’t send my CD.
I thought my music, which is quite mellow, couldn’t fit into a
skateboarding, snowboarding thing. But
I did send it in and I just forgot about it because when you do that, you just
forget about it, you can’t think about it - you just send it out.
About a week later I got a message on my phone.”
demo was sent to Ralph Hemecker, executive producer of the series.
When Coramc was called in to meet with Ralph, he began to understand the
enormity of this opportunity.
was very surprised. I didn’t realize how big the show was till I actually GOT
to the offices and met Ralph. I saw
all the posters and I started to realize, “well, okay, maybe this is NOT some
little tiny TV. Show”. I
think it wasn’t until I was told I was going to Los Angeles to re-record the
song “Phobia” for the show that I knew they were serious, and I was pretty
amazed that they were going to use it.”
millions of Blade fans already know, not only did Cormac’s unique sound become
a part of the “Witchblade” lore, but he was also tagged to play the role of
a rock musician murdered by a schizophrenic psychiatrist in the episode
“Static”. Soon after,
Hemecker’s indy label Sonic
Voodoo signed an exclusive deal with Cormac as the flagship artist and set out
to produce an entire CD of Cleary’s music with composer Joel Goldsmith
is the man with the mission, the man who believed in me.
When you play live, you get all these people who say “you should be
this and you should be that” and that’s the stuff that keeps you going…
but it takes that one person to really, say “okay, I’m gonna step-up and
support you and get the album out, and take that chance” – and Ralph was
that one person. So I will always
be indebted to Ralph for doing that.”
describes his music as “melodic rock”, but tries to steer away from labeling
asked what he’d be doing if he weren’t playing music Cormac responded:
Cormac’s deep connection with his music is apparent in the music and lyrics that he writes. Evoking images of a modern romanticism and the ethereal, Cormac’s sound is so everlasting that it will remain with the listener long after the final track has played.
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