By Caileigh Ryan
If you’ve been following the X Factor this year, you’d know that 22-year-old Brendan Murray from Tuam is one of the lucky 16 who have made it to the live shows. Mentored by ex – One Direction member Louis Tomlinson, Brendan has been performing consistently week on week, and is not only doing his fans proud, but everyone back in his small hometown of Tuam too.
There’s something magical about seeing a local guy like Brendan on an international stage, living out his dream, and the pride his community feels is contagious. Robbie Williams said he has an “impeccably perfect pop voice” and Liam Payne stated that Brendan is his favourite act in the competition this year.
As a teenager, Brendan often sang and played guitar in local talent competitions and charity events – there has never been a doubt that he has a very special voice. His journey to fame started back in 2013 when he was chosen as the main singer of Louis Walsh’s boyband Hometown and he also represented Ireland in the Eurovision in 2017.
Following this, Brendan pursued work as a plumber, but he has never faded from the limelight. He has a mass following online from his previous fame and thanks to him posting covers, releasing a single and doing local gigs. He’s always known his passion and has never given up on it – why would he with such a talent?
It was nothing short of a relief when we saw him on our screens auditioning for the X Factor last summer. Brendan was back with his incredible, unique voice and each of the judges were rightly impressed – during the ‘six chair challenge’ Simon Cowell himself said Brendan was in “a different league to everybody else” and Louis Tomlinson gave him the infamous golden buzzer.
On Wednesday, 7 November, Brendan flew back home to rural Ireland to perform in The Bridge Bar in Tuam – along with some members of the X Factor production team to film some footage for the show. The pub’s beer garden was jam – packed with people of all ages gathered to listen to the lad who’s been described as “the best thing to come out of Tuam in a long, long time”. Brendan took to the stage, as humble as they come, joking about only having a few songs prepared and asked the crowd for their suggestions.
He performed a haunting rendition of Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, a song he credits to his victory after performing it at the Judge’s Houses – the vital deciding moment that lead him to pursue his dream in the X Factor live shows. When someone shouted out a suggestion that Brendan sing ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries, he effortlessly banged out one of the best covers of the song I’ve ever heard. With the exception of those singing along, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the room.
A laugh was had when Brendan sang a fiery, upbeat version of ‘Come Out You Black and Tans’ – the crowd got up off their feet and sang along whole – heartedly, showing the producers the enthusiasm of the Irish back home.
Seeing somebody so determined reaching such a high level of fame worldwide and then returning to his humble beginnings is nothing less of an inspiration for anyone who’s lucky enough to witness his talent first – hand. Young kids were ecstatic, roaring with excitement, waving their posters around in the hope that he might glance their way. You could do nothing but marvel at what this lad has achieved, and long may his success continue.
Tune into the X Factor this Saturday and Sunday night to hear Brendan perform.