The Glee Project’s Damian McGinty Interview

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Damian McGinty This 18 year old Derry City native is no stranger to performing. He’s been singing professionally and touring for four years now with Irish singing group, Celtic Thunder. Already with years of experience under his belt, he’s now one of the top four contenders for the coveted guest starring role on Glee. He auditioned on a whim on MySpace for The Glee Project and beat out 40,000 people to win one of the 12 spots for the show. Damian talks to Hopeless Thunder on being in the bottom three, Irish slang, and booty popping. Keep reading for more!

Damian on how he about the Glee casting auditions and what he sang for Robert Ulrich.
I heard about the glee auditions through MySpace. I was actually meant to be doing Homework, but, as usual, I was online messing about, and I came across it. It asked for people to send in an audition tape, so that’s what I did. And people watched it, it was crazy, it got hundreds of thousands of views!! It went from there, and what a ride this has been!!

You obviously had quite a lot of performance experience under your belt before the show began. Were the performances in the show a different experience for you than on the road with Celtic Thunder?
The performances in this show were SO much more different than Celtic Thunder. In Celtic Thunder, I fell into a comfort zone, of a certain type of performing. And I didn’t realize. When I started the Glee project, it was a huge shock to my system. Almost a foreign language. And I struggled. It was tough. So for me, it was a case of putting in my back pockets, what I had learned with Celtic Thunder, and building up a totally different performer, whilst saving my behind each week!! It was tough.

You’ve had a lot of experience with being on camera due to your career but what was it like to be on camera and “miked up” all the time? Did you have to watch what you said?
Being on camera, and being Miked up all the time, was truly awful. I did not like it. I mean, I wasn’t afraid, I said from day one, I was gonna be me, and if I was going to give myself a chance of winning this thing, I would do it my way. I was not willing to change who I am, and fight for the spotlight to stand out. It’s not me. So it was hard being filmed 24/7.

Damian McGinty

You were in the bottom three the first episode of the show. How was that experience for you to have to sing for Ryan Murphy to save your spot so early in the competition?
Being in the bottom 3 in episode 1 was terrifying. At the beginning, everything was so fresh, so raw, and not knowing how the competition went, what the formality was, I would have done anything to not be there. I was scared out of my mind, it was an awful moment.

Two weeks later, you were in the bottom three again. You didn’t show vulnerability in the challenge but being in the bottom brought that out for you. How did it feel when Zach told you, maybe putting you there was probably for the best?
When I was told I was in the bottom 3 for week 3, I had almost resigned to my fate, up against Cameron and Emily, I thought I was going home. But something happened, something clicked inside of me that night, and whatever it was, saved me. When Zach said it was probably best putting me in the bottom, I felt relieved. From the judges comments that week, I had a fair idea that I had saved myself, but didn’t wanna speak too soon! That week was when it all changed!!

You said on the show you don’t like to expose yourself. What was it like to have to explain your vulnerability to the coaches?
Explaining my vulnerability to the coaches was Hard. I mean, I felt like it wasn’t significant. I am not an insecure person in any shape or form, I enjoy life and I embrace who I am as a person and the way I look. It’s how God made me. So, I definitely felt like that hindered me on week 3. Me and Cameron both. It’s much more effective and powerful, if you go out there with a sign saying ‘Gay’, ‘Fat’, ‘Anorexic’….but I am none of those, it was definitely a strange and difficult challenge.

Tell us about the Irish slang song you made up in the shower. How did that come about?
Haha, the irish slang song, is a bit of a story really. I used to work with a guy called Paul Byrom, and he was from Dublin. His accent is your real typical southern person from Ireland. He used all those sayings, and I used them to write a song…in the shower!! There is a 2nd verse too…I am just not sure it will make the show hahaha.

Damian McGinty and Cameron Mitchell

Living with your competition, even though you were all fighting for one spot, you all became very close. Was it conflicting to realize you had to compete against your friends?
I did not find it difficult at all to separate competition from friendship. It’s weird, if you sit down and think..”I’m living with my competitors here”…but I just got on with it. I made great friends in there. I think the top 6 in particular, we are in L.A a lot of the time, and I would consider every last one of them a friend for life. And the other guys were great too.

Who did you become close to while you were shooting the show? Do you still keep in touch with the cast?
I came closest to Cameron during the show. But I am also so close with Hannah, Lindsay, Samuel and Alex. We all know each other too well now. And for me, after working with adults for 4 years of my life from the age of 14-18, its great working with younger people, around my age. I felt for a while like my mentality was getting too old, and as ridiculous as it sounds, this show has made me much more youthful again.

Being able to be on the show and get a role on Glee was a huge opportunity. Did the competition make you realize anything about yourself that you didn’t know before?
The competition made me realize that it is important to do more than just sing. I came into this contest, with the mentality that it was a singing contest. Well, was I wrong!!!! I now realize it’s important to try and be a triple threat to help you have a long career in show business. I wouldn’t call myself the greatest dancer, but the show helped my confidence in that respect, and I know feel like I could learn most routines, and add my own twist!!! The awkward DMCG twist!!!

Damian McGinty, Cameron Mitchell, Hannah McIalwain

For the fourth episode, we see you say “the rest of us are committing sins in our heads” as Marissa is booty popping during the video shoot. Care to explain the situation?
Hmmmm……..Let’s just say, Marissa is incredibly attractive, I know I aint the only man thinking that….and I’ll let you figure out the quote for yourself!!!!

What was it like to realize that because of Cameron’s decision to leave, he was saving you?
When Cameron quit, it was tough. So tough. I didn’t know what to think. I was in the top 5, but Ryan obviously doesn’t like me that much. That was going through my head. And I had lost my rock!!! But I had to be as professional as possible, and that was probably the biggest test of character and mentality that I went through.

Do you still wish you were Jessie’s girl?
I think Jessie’s girl is one of those things an individual will have to live with forever!!!!!!


Photo Credit: Oxygen Media

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (She's basically a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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