Keith Harkin - singer-songwriter, musician, surfer, playboy (only joking!). Still a youngster, Keith has already supported an impressive roll-call of musicians – including John Martin, David Kitt and The Undertones. Coming from a family of musicians, it was only natural that Keith would end up playing music for a living. His first taste of the limelight came at the tender age of four, when he sang for a crowd of 2000 people at the Derry Feis (an annual music, singing and verse competition). Despite not winning, Keith still remembers the buzz of that first performance and knew, even then, that it wasn't going to be his last time up on stage. 'I was always a show-off,' he says with a grin. Although he had been playing other instruments for years, it was only at the age of 10 or 11 (he cant remember) that Keith decided to teach himself guitar - it was to become his instrument of choice from then on.
Keith describes his musical style as 'acoustic–pop–rock-funk'. He writes his own songs; which he records in his home studio, experimenting with technology to see what it can add to the music. That said, he insists that he prefers to play live – and the dirty, sweaty, small gigs are a particular favourite. Keith's back catalogue of original material might seem incongruous for someone who is only just 21 but his ideas for songs are inspired and influenced by observations of the people and events around him. 'I wrote a song, Lauren and I, for Celtic Thunder (Sharon Browne's ensemble show, that spawned the No.1 selling album of the same name) and I've seen some crazy speculations online about the meaning of that one,' he laughs. 'It's basically a song for a friend of mine. It's about how you can connect with someone and know them so well, without ever meeting face to face.'
As well as his phenomenal success with Lauren and I, Keith also wrote songs for the BBC's Irish language series Two Tongues – in which he also acted, at only 19 years of age. It's clear that Keith is a bit of a prodigy. 'I wouldn't say that necessarily,' he says, 'I was lucky. Being ambitious and willing to work hard, didn't hurt either, you cant win the lotto without doing the numbers,' he grins. So how does he feel about all this early success? 'I know I'm lucky. This is all I've ever wanted to do and it's an amazing feeling. Just to know, just to prove to yourself, that you're not kidding yourself or wasting your time.' So what's in the future for Keith Harkin? 'Hopefully a bit more travel, making music – and a lot more surfing. This year has been amazing, as well as touring America with Celtic Thunder, I've managed to sneak in surfing trips to Bali and Morrocco. Does touring bother me? God no, I love it. It's getting to be second nature now. I'm starting to think I'm a bit of a hippy,' he laughs. We prefer to think of him as a free spirit.