Sharon Shannon is an Irish musician who has enjoyed success both as a solo artist and with the band, The Waterboys.
She is accomplished in many instruments including the accordion, tin whistle and fiddle.
She has performed all over the world and for many politicians including former US President Bill Clinton.
Shannon was born in Corofin, Co Clare in 1968. When she was eight years old she joined Disirt Tola, a youth group that specialises in playing traditional music. She went on tour in America with them when she was just 14.
When Shannon was a child, she loved horses and was a promising show jumper but she had to stop so she could concentrate on her music. She later attended the University of Cork but again music was her priority and she dropped out.
As a teenager she studied music with talented musicians such as Karen Tweed and Frank Custy. She also performed in the band, Arcandy. When she was 21 she started to work as a professional recording artist. She worked with top stars like Adam Clayton of U2, and Mike Scott and Steve Wickham from The Waterboys.
Room to Roam -with Waterboys
She later joined The Waterboys and appeared on their 1990 album, Room to Roam. She played the accordion and fiddle. While she was in the group she went on her first world tour. She left The Waterboys after just 18 months when they decided to change their musical direction to a more rock ‘n’ roll sound.
Shannon began a solo career and in 1991 released her debut album called simply, Sharon Shannon. It featured guest appearances from Adam Clayton and Liam O’Maonlai. Her music received a lot of coverage on Irish radio and television. The album was a huge success and became Ireland’s biggest selling traditional music album ever.
Out the Gap and Spellbound
Shannon broadened her musical horizons with her second album, Out the Gap. It was released in 1994 and had a more reggae sound than her previous work. In 1996 she featured on a compilation album, Common Ground: The Voices of Modern Irish Music along with Bono, Sinead O’Connor, Kate Bush and Elvis Costello.
In 1998, Shannon released the album, Spellbound. It was a compilation album that included some old tracks, some live performances and some new material. That year she teamed up with violin player, Nigel Kennedy to perform on his ‘Jimi Hendrix Suite’. They went on tour in Europe performing the work.
Galway Girl and Diamond Mountain Sessions
In 2000, she released the album, Diamond Mountain Sessions. It was a huge commercial success and went triple platinum. It included the song, The Galway Girl, which she recorded with Steve Earle. She won Irish music awards for Best Traditional Female, and Folk Artist of the Year.
She continued to record with Earle and appeared on his Sidetracks album in 2002, performing the instrumental, Dominic Street.
In 2009 she was given a lifetime achievement award at the Meteor Music Awards. At just 40 years old, she was the youngest ever artist to win a lifetime achievement award. She also won Most Downloaded Track for Galway Girl.
Shannon continues to record and tour.
Sharon Shannon videos