You've heard their music, and you've become bewitched with their soulful sound. They're B*Witched: Sinead, Edele, Lindsay, and Keavy, four Irish lasses who hail from Dublin and have enchanted the world with their hit songs. Find out all the fun facts about the gals, from their first kisses to their favorite colors, and much, much more!
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
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About the Author
Anna Louise Golden is the author of several celebrity biographies, including B*Witched, 5ive, 'N Sync, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brandy.
Anna Louise Golden is the author of several celebrity biographies, including 5ive, 'N Sync, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brandy.
Read an Excerpt
By Anna Louise Golden
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 1999 Anna Louise Golden
All rights reserved.
It's hardly a secret that any band is a mix of people, and for it to work, the chemistry has to be just right. Sometimes that happens, everything clicks, and things take off in a way no one could have imagined. Sometimes it doesn't, and five years later you're no further along than when you started, with nothing but a dream and a lot of work to show for what you'd hoped. The incredible rise of B*Witched means that they obviously have the formula perfect. Four girls who've come together in the right time and place, who meld together as if they were one.
But they're not one, of course. They're four strong individuals. Even Edele and Keavy, the twins, are very different from each other, and that's just the way it should be. They all bring different things, different experiences, influences and backgrounds to the group. The one thing they have in common is Dublin.
The capital city of Ireland is a beautiful place. O'Connell Street is the equal of any lovely avenue anywhere in the world. There's a romance about the city that brings out the dreamer in people. No wonder it's been home to a lot of great artists in many fields. James Joyce, the famous writer, set most of his work in Dublin. U2, who've become one of the biggest rock bands in the world, hail from there. Writer Roddy Doyle, author of The Commitments, The Van, and The Snapper, among other books — and all three have been successful films — is a Dublin man. It's a place alive with words and music, home to a great university and theater. In Dublin, as in the rest of Ireland, people love to talk. Even when times are hard, they seem to be happy. Music leaps out of places. Even the smallest of bars — the social centers of Ireland — has music, people sitting down and playing together in what they call sessions, messing around with the old tunes, so that even if you don't know them, you somehow take in the traditional music by a kind of osmosis.
Ireland is justifiably proud of its history and culture. A thousand years ago, Dublin was the Viking capital of the country, after the Norsemen had come over from Scandinavia. Before that there was the rule of the legendary Irish kings. Later there would be oppression by the English, and in the great potato famine — potatoes had been the staple diet of the Irish farm laborers — many left for America, and many died.
That was then, however, and this is now. Ireland's international image might be built on its beautiful countryside and charming little villages (think Ballykissangel on PBS), but the reality is that Ireland's as much a modern country as anywhere else. Dublin is a major cosmopolitan city these days, as wired and high-tech as any place you can name. And in people like U2, the Cranberries, Boyzone, and now B*Witched, they have a strong musical representation on the global scene, too.
That's the Dublin where the girls grew up (apart from Lindsay, but more about her later). It's what they know. They might all speak with a strong Irish brogue, but don't let it fool you into thinking they're a bunch of hicks — quite the opposite is true. Down to earth, yes, and completely without pretension. But they're all city girls. If you took them to a farm and asked them to milk a cow, they wouldn't have a clue what to do!
Still, that's quite all right. One of the things about being a pop star is that you never need to know how to milk a cow or do a lot of other things — as long as you can entertain. And B*Witched more than succeed in that department.
So they've got the chemistry, they've got the songs, they've got the moves — they've got it all. But who exactly are they? What makes Sinead, Keavy, Edele, and Lindsay tick? What makes them exactly who they are? The best way to find out is by taking a look at each of them, and finding out more about them....CHAPTER 2
At twenty-one, Sinead is the oldest member of the band. Sinead Maria O'Carroll, as she was christened, was born in Dublin on May 14, 1978. Before she had any idea what was happening, though, her parents moved a little way outside the city, to Newbridge in County Kildare. It wasn't really that far from the city, just far enough to feel removed and comfortable, away from the rush and the crowds, which was exactly what Eamonn and Barbara O'Carroll wanted for their new baby girl.
Eamonn had apprenticed as an electrician and had his own company; it was hard work, but paid well. When the family settled in Newbridge, Barbara, ambitious herself, opened a shop selling lingerie. It made for a busy life, especially as more children came along to join Sinead. First there was Elaine, then Ailish, and finally a boy, Paul, to complete the family.
It was a good life in Newbridge, a fine place to be a kid, where you could go off exploring in the countryside in fine weather. And the O'Carrolls loved the countryside. Sometimes they'd all get in the car and take off, exploring various bits of Ireland. In fact, Sinead's first memory is from one of those trips, out to a place called the Ring of Kerry. What had started as sunshine turned to fog as they neared the ring, getting even thicker as they climbed the hill on which it was situated. At the top, clear even in the fog, Sinead saw a stone cross, and wondered if somehow, after the long climb, she'd reached heaven!
When she was four years old. Sinead's parents enrolled her in dance class. It was immediately apparent that she had definite talent as a dancer. In fact, for seven years, from the ages of eight to fifteen, she took classes in Irish dancing, taught by a woman named Mary Donaghue — if she'd stuck with it she might even have ended up as part of Riverdance! She loved Irish dancing, but never thought it was something she'd use in her life, let alone in her music. But there she was, during the Irish jig break on "C'est La vie," step dancing like she'd been born to it — and in fact she helped the others learn what to do.
"If anyone told me I'd be Irish dancing to a pop song when I was older, I'd have thought they were absolutely mad!" she laughed. "But it suited the song and people seemed to like it. We had a lot of fun messing around, but that's it — don't expect B*Witched to make a habit of entertaining you like that!"
Like any good Catholic girl, her first Holy Communion was a high point in young Sinead's life, undertaken when she was seven years old. She was having hers alongside her best friend, Suzanne Hennessy. Naturally, the whole family was there for the occasion, which, with parties and everything else, was a daylong affair. Sinead had a special new dress for the event, and everything was white. It was a short dress, coming just to her knees, with plenty of petticoats underneath, worn with white knee socks and new white shoes, as well as a white veil and white parasol to keep off the sun. The clothes were already laid out on her bed when she awoke that morning, and even getting dressed seemed to take on the feeling of a ritual. Once she was dressed and looked at herself in the mirror, she thought she looked just like a princess from a fairy tale. Her biggest memory of the day, though, was that almost every minute it seemed as if someone wanted to take a photograph of her.
Music was always an important part of her life, and one of her favorite subjects at school, where she learned to play the piano a little. The first record she ever bought was "Fame" by Irene Cara, the theme from the movie of the same name. The movie had come out in 1980, when Sinead was only two, and of course she didn't remember it then! But she saw it later, and it was a great inspiration to her as a dancer to see kids moving around like that. So when the record was re-released, a few years later, she pounced on it for the start of her collection!
Her other favorite subject at school was French, probably because she happened to be very good at it. In fact, in her teens, Sinead would spend some time in France and actually become quite fluent in the language, although she's forgotten some of that now — who wouldn't, with so much on her mind?
Although she did well at school, always making good grades in her work, there was also another side to her. Being small, she tried to make up for her size by being loud, which didn't always sit too well with the teachers. What sat even worse was when Sinead, angry about something that had happened, came in and threw eggs all over the other students in her class. That was something that couldn't be ignored, and she was off to see the headmistress.
"It was the naughtiest thing I've ever done and I got suspended," she admitted. "But it was worth it!"
She did come back from it, however, to be named Schoolgirl of the Year at her school in her "transition year," as they call it in Ireland (under the system there, the transition year is the year between elementary and secondary school), which was no small achievement. And in spite of being small, she was a good athlete, even if she didn't think she was — she won medals one year in the hurdles, gymnastics, and sprint competitions, which she still has.
Outside of her schoolwork, however, it was dancing that really captured her imagination and her time. Not only did she study Irish dancing, but she also competed in it. Her teacher, Mary Donaghue, had an entire class, and would enter them in competitions. All the girls — and there were twenty-five of them — would dance together, all wearing their special green costumes (green is one of the colors of Ireland — hence the Emerald Isle) with white lace collars, an orange pleat in the skirt (orange is the other color of Ireland), and plenty of embroidery on the front. In fact, it wasn't just Sinead from the O'Carroll family who studied with Ms. Donaghue; her younger sister Elaine also took classes, and the two of them danced together for a number of years.
Back then, Sinead's hair was much darker than it is now, quite brown in fact. Not that she's an artificial blonde now. The color has simply lightened over the years.
After several years of Irish dancing, Sinead was ready for new challenges, and once she became a teenager, she started classes in both jazz and tap dancing. It was something she loved, and her natural talent had grown. It became apparent that she might even be able to make a living as a dancer one day, which would have been one of her great dreams. She'd always seen herself as up there on the stage, a star of some kind.
"From the age of seven I imagined I'd be doing interviews one day. My mum used to say things to me like, 'Sinead, you're not on stage now,' but I'd be daydreaming and wouldn't really hear her!"
Everything about the stage enthralled Sinead. While other kids whiled away their summers doing nothing, Sinead would be attending Newbridge College, taking classes in music and drama, and having parts in their productions, including the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Then, to complement her dance classes, in her free time (!) she took classes in speech and drama from a woman named Edele Mulligan. Being up there under the lights was all she ever really wanted to do, and while her mother might have tried to bring her back down to earth, both her parents were actually very supportive of her dreams.
Those dreams of being on the stage came one small step closer when Sinead turned fifteen. That was when she began lessons in jazz dance and ballet. This wasn't in Newbridge, however, but in Dublin, which meant she had to commute into the city from home. While fifteen was late to begin ballet, what she really needed was the basics to be able to round out her dance education and add to her arsenal of graceful moves. Obviously, she wouldn't have gone this far without showing real talent and promise. While it seemed very adult to her, taking the bus into the center of Dublin for her classes, it was what she needed to progress in this. She was excited about the possibilities with dance. She loved it, she excelled, and she honestly believed that this was where her future lay. She was still making good grades at school, and enjoyed it, but the idea of college did nothing for her. Her heart was with dance, and the idea of being on the stage.
The big leap came when she was entered for a dance scholarship. This was really serious. It would mean no more school, but learning full-time about dance. And it would be in London, far away from home, but really the best place for her to learn with some of the top professionals around, what she'd really need if this was going to become her livelihood as well as her art.
She was on edge for weeks, waiting for the mailman every day to hear whether she'd won the scholarship. When the news that it was hers came through, she was overjoyed! Now, finally, she was really on the road to becoming a professional dancer. It was going to be difficult, leaving her parents, but in her heart she knew it would all be worthwhile.
The London Studio Centre was a prestigious dance school, one of the very best in England. A lot of people who'd studied there had gone on to perform in shows in the West End, on television, and to become choreographers. The curriculum was tough, and they demanded a lot from their students. But in return, they taught virtually the whole spectrum of dance. In fact, Sinead said, about the only type of dancing they didn't teach there was breakdancing!
The Centre was in the King's Cross area of London, not the city's most salubrious area. But Sinead didn't care. Her parents found her a room with a nice family, and saw that she was settled in and comfortable. For herself, she didn't care what kind of neighborhood the Centre was in; simply to be going there, to be learning so much made life fulfilling. Every single day was a joy. She was sixteen, and full of all the possibilities of her life. More than that, she had all of London to go at. There was the nightlife, the shopping, all the sights to see.
As years go, that one was brilliant for her. Not only was she learning and pushing ahead, she was growing as a person. Away from home, she was learning a lot about how to cope alone, something she'd need for the future. She missed her family, of course, and talked to them on the phone and traveled home for the holidays, but it was as if she'd blossomed into an adult.
But the scholarship was for just a year. She'd made huge improvements in her technique, but the question was, was she ready to risk it all by staying in London and trying to make it as a dancer? She was just seventeen, and that, her parents thought, was still just a bit too young to be on her own, possibly starving in a big city a long way from home.
And Sinead agreed. London would still be there when she was ready to conquer it properly. It wasn't as if Dublin was without shows and opportunities for her. It even contained her favorite place in the world, Sandymount ("I love it there, it's so beautiful"). Better to start off in Dublin, become a big fish in a small pond, and then try her luck in the bigger pond.
So Sinead moved back home. Of course, after having had so much freedom, it wasn't quite the same, but she loved being around her family again; it was a warm, comfortable feeling, and she realized just how close to them all, she was. After a few months, though, she realized how much she'd enjoyed being on her own, and compromised, taking a tiny apartment in Dublin.
The first thing she had to do was look for work. Not just as a dancer, but also something to bring in some money, a day job. Not that she had any career in mind beyond entertaining. Any day job she took on would be just something to help support her until she made a living from her art. And so there was a succession of small jobs. She tried her hand at telemarketing, was an attendant in a cinema, and even worked retail for a little while, in a store called Angel's. Meanwhile she was going to every audition she heard about, and got some parts at a couple of theaters in the city for shows, the Olympia and the Gate, as well as a few appearances as an extra on Irish television shows. It was a modest start, but a start nonetheless.
The jobs, she knew and believed with all her heart, would only be temporary. As she said, "I'm stubborn, ambitious, and earthy, you could say I'm a country girl at heart." And that country heart, and her drive, were going to make her succeed.
She continued to work at the theaters, even though the money wasn't much. But it made her feel as if she was achieving something. And she also took some classes at the Digges Lane Dance Centre, just to keep her technique strong. Also working out there were some other girls. Lindsay Aramou would occasionally drop by, and so would Keavy and Edele Lynch, who were part of a dance team, and constantly learning, and trying to improve as dancers. The four of them knew each other in a very casual way, just to say hello and things like that. They'd never stopped and chatted, and didn't even know if they had anything in common.
Sinead might have been a girl who was driven, but she wasn't someone who was capable of driving herself, it seemed. Naturally, her father had a van for his electrical business, and the family also had a car, which Barbara used a great deal. She'd tried to encourage Sinead to start driving, so she wouldn't be so reliant on public transport to get home from Dublin at night. Sinead did sign up for driving lessons (in Ireland and Britain, there's no such thing as drivers' education in schools), but quickly gave up, because being behind the wheel left her "too frightened" — it might be hard to believe, but it's true. So, after that brief experience, she was a girl who was driven, both metaphorically and literally!
Excerpted from B*Witched by Anna Louise Golden. Copyright © 1999 Anna Louise Golden. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Part One: The Girls,
Part Two: The Band,
6. The Beginning,
7. The Song,
8. The Tours,
9. The States,
On The Web,
St. Martin's Paperbacks Titles by Anna Louise Golden,
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