Ciaran Donnelly is currently a degree student at Perth College UHI, and as a recent dropout of the same course, I can tell you it's no walk in the park. You have to balance written work and musical theory alongside composition and regular gigs. That's all before you take into account the business side of things! Ciaran seems to be taking it all in his stride though and even has time for a career as a recording artist (you can read my review of his debut single here), which he promotes through solo gigs.
As well as earning money as a fingerstyle guitarist, Ciaran also pays for his college course by waiting tables. Any additional spare time is spent on college work, practising the guitar, managing his musical career and rehearsing for gigs. If he does get a moment of quiet though, he likes to hang out on a park bench reading or writing poetry or spending time with his girlfriend. He cut into his poetry time and busy schedule to chat to me about his music, college work and more!
Tell us the weirdest or funniest thing that has ever happened to you at work?
As a waiter at a Best Western Hotel, we deal with a lot of big functions and events such as weddings, ceilidhs and dances. This particular time the groom had hired two actors to pretend to be waiters but then during the wedding, they were to have a fist fight and fall into the cake and ruin it. I was selected and was to appear in my debut acting role as a sort of bouncer that held one of them back. The idea completely flopped as no one was paying attention when it all kicked off, the cake was so tough that it didn’t smash, and I was named as the most convincing out of the lot of them! Next stop Hollywood, well... Hollyoaks maybe.
What signals the start of your days off?
Being able to wear more comfortable clothing signals the start of my days off. I also try and read and write music or poetry a lot so those are definitely up there. I'm trying to stick to a good diet but pizza always seems to sneak into my days off in some way or another! I think of myself as wanting the comfortable clothing of an old man but the vitality of life that a young person has.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I love to write poetry and enjoy other types of music other than fingerstyle. I love fingerstyle guitarists like Andy Mckee but there is always room for all types of music.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
Oh boy, I think a bucket list is sometimes quite a torturous thing to have. I think I want to see and experience so many things that if I had a list written down that contained things I hadn't managed to do then I'd be doomed to wander the earth as an unfulfilled ghost or something! I'd say I have a pretty stiff challenge for my number one. In the final moments before I die I'd like to feel content with the life I'd lived.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I think maybe all of my jobs are tied, looking back I've definitely learned lessons in one way or another. That's the nature of life, there's always a message. But I think working in a supermarket and for a computer/tech company are definitely something I would recommend people avoid. You are just constantly stuck in a loop of stacking shelves or telling people the same things over and over again, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
Who or what inspires you?
She knows me better than myself – a quickdraw soulmate cowboy.I think my wife inspires me the most, we're not married or engaged I just like to call her that. She has an amazing outlook on life and can find the beauty in everything where most people, myself included, can't. It's always refreshing and she's continuously restoring my faith in humanity. She knows me better than myself – a quickdraw soulmate cowboy.
Tell us about the day you’d love to live again?
I don't like to live in the past or regret things, I like being here and now and loving whatever happens to be going on. I think it's the best outlook to have but having said that it would have to be the day I met my girlfriend.
What’s the best part about your job?
In terms of being a musician – It's the best job anyone could hope for because it doesn't feel like one, it's like putting your soul to sound or words, it gets everything out, the good the bad and the ugly. In terms of being a waiter – definitely the people I've met and the situations I've been in.
Complete this sentence; the best things in life are….
Love, friends and family, music, art and presence.
Ciaran's debut single Masks was released on the 23rd of February, an album will follow later this year. More information at merakirecords.com
Roberto Cassani is a talented Perthshire songwriter and double bass player and chats all about his musical workdays and weekends.
August 5th Sunday 2018
We caught up with Mark Bush - owner of Summer Harvest Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil to chat about work and how he loves to spend his time off!
July 29th Sunday 2018
We catch up with the super talented local Perthshire photographer Gavin Ritchie and chat all about his busy workdays and weekends.
July 19th Thursday 2018