Source: The Irish Times

Writer: Roisin Ingle

Date: 18 June 2011

TRUE CHARACTERS: Gilbert O'Sullivan, singer songwriter

If I canít hear my voice during a gig . . . itís just horrible and impossible to cover up how uncomfortable it makes me feel. It happened at my last Dublin concert when I didnít have my own sound engineer. It made it so difficult to perform that I went off stage in the middle of the concert. I was on such a downer, I felt like walking out of the theatre and just disappearing. I am glad I went back on but itís a struggle to sing when I canít hear my voice. I got two letters of complaint, and I apologise to anyone else who had a bad experience. I wear my heart on my sleeve when I perform and I just couldnít hide that I was having problems.

The perfect cup of tea is . . . strong, Assam, loose tea served in a china cup. Between Assam and Camomile I drink around 10 cups a day. The first single from my new album is called Where Would We Be Without Tea?

The new album is called ĎGilbertvilleí because . . . my brother was driving through Missouri in the US and he passed a sign for a place called Raymondville Ė Raymond is my real name Ė and then a while later he passed a sign for Gilbertville. It was one of those things. We used the real road sign on the album cover artwork.

I used to get annoyed . . . about some people only wanting to hear my old stuff and not being interested in my new music, especially when I am writing and releasing new material all the time. I stopped worrying about it around five years ago. Life is too short.

Home is . . . the island of Jersey. I am also very proud of my Waterford roots and of growing up in Swindon in the UK. There is a great education system in Jersey which I wanted for my two daughters and itís been very good for me creatively. People do write asking me to open village fetes but I explain that I am not a red-carpet person or even a village-fete opening person. I like that I can just be myself on Jersey.

I only cook . . . on Friday nights. Thatís my egg, beans and chips night. I make very good chips. It comes from my Catholic upbringing that you donít eat meat on a Friday. If I go to my mumís in Swindon on a Friday, we always have fish and chips from down the road.

I think Lady GaGa . . . is interesting in terms of that kind of theatrical pop. She can put a teapot on her head and nobody cares, while I had trouble getting away with wearing a cap and boots. I like artists like Jessie J and Rihanna, but I think itís sad they have to be half naked in pictures. It doesnít do them justice. People like Aretha Franklin are remembered for how they sounded, not how they looked. An artist like Adele shows they donít need to go down that road to be successful.

My stage outfits are made by . . . Paul Smith, and they cost a fortune. I donít have any qualms about spending silly amounts of money on clothes for my gigs, but at home I wear clothes until they fall off me. I get very attached to things Ė shoes with holes in them or cardigans that are unravelling Ė although sometimes Iíll ask my housekeeper to mend them. My wife Aase would like me to be more interested in my clothes but I think itís crazy to spend more than 30 quid on a pair of trainers. Iím just a scruff at heart.

People might not know that . . . Dublin city councillor Mannix Flynn featured on my single Divorce Irish Style. I wanted to have a man and a woman arguing with each other as the song faded out. He was the man we hired and he did a great job.

Gilbert OíSullivan plays the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on Thursday, June 23rd.