The last few months have been kind to northern NSW singer-songwriter Mick McHugh, who performed to sold-out audiences with three coveted support slots with Aria Award-winning indie-pop darling Amy Shark as well as an east-coast tour with Irish folk singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey.
Tomorrow, the Byron Bay-based Irishman releases his debut album, 'A Million Stars'.
"Mick McHugh connects with the important elements of music: his songs and his audience." - Amy Shark
Who is Mick McHugh… I am a singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, based in Australia since 2005. I'm about to released my debut studio album.
I sound like... A singer-songwriter troubadour with his passion, lyrics and acoustic guitar. Think David Gray, Passenger, Cat Stevens, Glen Hansard, John Lennon.
My first gig was… A songwriter's night at The International Bar, Dublin, Ireland. Many of my singer-songwriter heroes started out there.
When did you settle on your stage name... My lyrics, song themes and way I present my music is very honest, so it seemed only right to use my real name. Also, Mick McHugh is an alliteration like many superheroes, e.g. Peter Parker, so why change a good thing.
In the studio I usually... Buzz. I love being in the studio, the creative side of making music is one of my favourite things.
If I could tour with anyone... Glen Hansard, Passenger, David Gray.
Social media is... A huge part of how I made my album. I crowdfunded $19,000 to make my album, and couldn't have done it without the use of social media. It's an amazing tool as an independent artist.
My favourite app at the moment is... Quik. It's a video-making app. I'm loving being able to make short videos on my phone so easily. I just made a 2017 highlights reel of my music.
To date, my most embarrassing moment was the time... Hmm, most embarrassing? Hard to choose just one, lol. But one would definitely be when I bumped into Tash Sultana at Bunnings, Byron Bay last month and got tongue-tied trying to explain to her why I was buying 'rope light'.
Life on the road can be... Very exciting seeing new places and playing to new audiences. Tiring with very early mornings and very late nights, you’ve gotta make sure to get the naps in when possible.
If you'll have me on your bill, all I ask is that our rider contains... Good coffee. Air conditioning if it's Australian summer and a grand piano would be lovely. Playing piano takes me away to another place.
The most scary scenario I've found myself in, was... When I was 20, me and my best mate got trapped in a gorge in the mountains of Morocco. Night was falling fast, and a thunder, rain and lightning storm suddenly came in and cut off the roads home. We had no supplies or way to contact anyone.
We were hiding out from the storm when we spotted a truck in the distance, so we ran as fast as we could after it. It had an open back and was full of drenched people. We didn't speak Arabic, but they instantly pulled us up to safety, and the truck was able to drive through the flooding roads.
Or was it the time I was wrongly imprisoned in Germany... story for another time.
What celebrity/ famous person would you love to be spokesperson of the band... Russell Brand. I admire his use of vocabulary and turn of phrase. He would tell it as it is.
Three people you’d like to invite around for a dinner party... Someone from the past, someone from the present and someone from the future. Would make for great conversation to compare notes.
If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us? Hmm; a good hearty roast maybe. But more importantly in my culture is, what drink? And the answer is a real Irish coffee. The high of the caffeine, low of the alcohol, the sweet kick of chocolate, it's the perfect combo.
No matter the expense, send me a case of... Freshly poured pints of creamy Guinness pulled from a little, country bar in Ireland. There's no comparison.
The last time I saw the inside of a gym was... In my shed yesterday. I've got my own set-up at home 'cos I live on a rural property in Byron hinterland. It's the best kind of gym 'cos no monthly fees.
What's the one chore you dislike the most? Shopping. Shopping centres wear me down quite quickly. Think Kryptonite 'round the neck of Superman. It's not pretty.
Do you have any phobias? None that bother hugely, though I wasn't 100 per cent into sitting down and playing my piano that time there was a huntsman bigger than my own hand on the keys.
Would you ever partake in a reality show? If so, what type? No. I did used to love the MTV one where they put a bunch of people living together in a really cool apartment in a groovy city like Berlin or New York. I was attracted to the idea of living in a cool cosmopolitan city. But I can't stand most of the current reality shows, it's all so contrived.
If you could prank any of your friends, who's your target, and how are you bringing them down? My manager, Fran, 'cos he's always doing pranks on me. I call him 'the fun boss' after the David Brent character from 'The Office'. It's in the pipeline and can't say 'cos he'll read this. Thing is though, I’ll have to be prepared, 'cos he will be out for revenge. [Ed's note: we want photos when the prank goes down Mick.]
'A Million Stars' is released 16 February.
Fri 2 Mar - Jasper Corner (Federal, NSW)
Mick McHugh Tour Dates
Sat 3 March - Currumbin Pub Band Room (Gold Coast)