Neil Byrne is a singer-song writer and member of the Irish vocal group, Celtic Thunder.
He is known for his energetic stage shows and for having a strong bond with his audience.
He has performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people and has a fiercely loyal and devoted fan base.
Byrne is one of three children and became hooked on music from an early age. His dad toured Ireland as part of an Elvis Presley tribute band.
Endless hours of practice
As a youngster, he would spend hours listening to records of Michael Jackson, Billy Joel and Dire Straits.
By the age of five, the young Neil had become hooked on music and used to play drums using four cases and two wooden spoons as a makeshift drum kit.
One year, he got a guitar for Christmas. His dad taught him a few chords and there was no stopping him.
He played the guitar all the time and carried it around with him constantly.
Chase – Byrne’s 1st band – wins Battle of the Bands
When Byrne was a teenager, he formed a band called Chase with his brother and cousin. He got his first experience of performing live when Chase played at the interval at one of his dad’s shows.
When Byrne’s teacher heard the band, he was so impressed that he entered them into a nationwide Battle of the Bands competition.
After countless hours working and rehearsing, they made it through the heats and went on to win the competition.
Voted overall winners in arts competiton
In fact they did so well that they were not only voted the winners of the music competition, but also of the overall competition for all the arts.
They hadn’t expected to be judged against the winners of the other arts competitions but they came first out of more than 33,000 entrants. But there was much more in store for Byrne when he met the legendary Phil Coulter.