An Irish teenager who became an online sensation after he performed a Garth Brooks hit in Irish has revealed that his dream is to play in a particular US city.
Matthew O’Donnell was just 17 when his performance of ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ in front of a delighted Galway crowd went viral in 2014.
Now he is set to release his first album, which will feature Callin’ Baton Rouge’ performed in both Irish and English as well as a mix of classic country songs and his own material.
O’Donnell is also taking his album on tour and will perform at an Irish festival in Boston later this year.
He said that his dream is to perform his favourite song in the US city that gave it its name – Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He told Advocate Magazine: “The people of Baton Rouge have been fantastic to me, and to know that they love my Irish version of ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ puts a big smile on my face.
“Garth Brooks is my all-time favorite musician. He is my hero. I listen to Garth all day every day. And when I heard Garth sing ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge,’ I fell in love with it. The lyrics, that fiddle playing and that good old Cajun country stole my heart.”
He also described how it feels to have become an online sensation and the doors that have been opened thanks to his video.
He said: “No matter where I go, people know me as that guy who sings ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge’ in Irish. It has helped me get some incredible opportunities, like my record deal, for example.”
O’Donnell also explained why had had chosen to translate the lyrics of Brook’s song into Irish. It goes back to when he was at college and learned Irish by singing well known songs that had been translated from English.
When he was asked to perform a song he knew it would have to be Callin’ Baton Rouge – and it went down a storm.
He said: “From the very start until the end of the song, the whole place was rocking. Cowboy hats … there was some line dancing going on, and I was even wearing my Garth Brooks shirt. There was a real country feel to it all. It was all unfolding before my eyes as I performed the song on stage. Everybody was on a high, the atmosphere was electric, and everybody loved the song. It was like their anthem — which filled me with joy.”
Take a look at the video below.