Q and A with Gerard Carroll

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 Northern Ireland singer Gerard Carroll is the first to admit that taking up the harp started out as only a hobby. But now that his “Shut up and Dance” video has gone viral—gaining the attention of Mashable, Belfast Telegraph, and others—Carroll says he may “take things a bit more seriously.” I contacted him on Facebook (where he couldn’t have been nicer) to find out more.

First harp video, Shut Up And Dance

Posted by Gerard Carroll on Thursday, August 11, 2016

Q: Your video on Facebook has only been up for two weeks and you’ve already gotten almost 35,000 views! It’s also your first video. When did you realize you had a viral hit?

I realized during the first day that it was a lot more popular than I had ever expected it to be. It got 13,000 views in the first 24 hours and the views steadily increased over the two weeks. It was then shared by lots of big websites and newspapers which was even more overwhelming since this was ever only really a hobby.

Q: Why “Shut up and Dance?”

It’s simply a great song that appeals to everyone. People of all ages love this song because it’s so catchy and it’s a very positive song.

Q: What do you think it is that resonates with people about your playing?

I think the harp is still quite unusual and unique that it gave the song a bit of a twist. My version is certainly a lot more relaxed and calm than the original too, so it’s nice to see different arrangements of songs.

Q: So I read on Belfast Live that you only took up the harp a year ago. What made you choose the instrument and how did you start learning? Did you already have a music background?

I actually have a friend who suggested I take up the harp to play at her friend’s wedding, so I took up the challenge! I love the gentleness and the soothing tone of the harp. It can be quite therapeutic to play. I taught myself—having a musical background made this easier but I would still like to improve. I have since played four weddings, including my own sister’s. I have played piano and actually taught piano to many students during my years at university. I really love playing the piano as well.

Q: Do you plan to keep playing and if so what are your goals?

I have already received bookings for weddings and events so that has greatly influenced me to keep playing and to take my hobby a bit more seriously! I would love to continue playing weddings and other events.

Q: Tell us about your life when you’re not playing the harp.

I am actually an Irish dancing teacher by profession! I started my school in my home town 4 years ago, and have taught children who have gone from beginner level right up to world qualifier standard. Irish dancing is a huge passion of mine and I was ranked 3rd in the World for solo dancing in my competition days.

Connect with Gerard Carroll on his Facebook page.

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About Author

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Kimberly Rowe is co-founder of Harp Column and served as Editor of the print edition from 1993–2013. She now serves as Web Editor. Kimberly performs and teaches in the mid-Atlantic region of the US. She is co-founder of the Young Artist's Harp Seminar, and on the faculty at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

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