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16th Oct 2022

Glee star Damian McGinty looks back on his time on the hit series

“It was a massive show and it was such an honour and a pleasure for me to be a part of it.”

If you were a huge Glee fan (like me) back in the day and watched the show religiously, you’ll remember Rory Flanagan.

Played by Derry’s very own Damian McGinty, the singer won the chance to star in the third season of the show after making a name for himself on the spin-off reality show, The Glee Project.

Playing the sweet and charming Rory, an exchange student from Ireland, fans still hold a special place for his character – especially us Irish fans.

Ahead of the release of his new album Moments, Damian was gracious enough to let me ask him as many questions about Glee as I wanted, and while it would be completely understandable if he was sick of talking about it, he knows the show has had a huge impact on a lot of people.

“I was so big, it’s kind of hard to fully capture in words everything that was going on and everything that experience brought to my life. I think it just taught me a lot and it gave me really fantastic experience and it helped me kind of find this amazing place of peace within my career, it helped me find exactly what I want to do, what it is that brings me happiness within this career. I was just a fantastic experience that I’m very grateful for,” Damian said when talking about the impact the show had on him.

Irish fans of the show remember vividly when Rory was introduced as a character, to have some Irish representation on a show that big – even if he was slagged for being a leprechaun.

“The Glee experience for me was only a maximum of three years, it’s a show that people are always going to remember, a show that’s always going to be talked about and it’s a show that I’ll always remember for being a part of – and that’s totally okay with me. I can sense people sometimes feel uncomfortable or think I might not want to talk about it, I get that. There’s only a handful of shows that have this longevity where people don’t forget them, and Glee is just one of those shows.

“It was a very small part of my life in terms of me physically being there but I’ve made complete peace with the idea that people are always going to remember me for being in it. It was a massive show and it was such an honour and a pleasure for me to be a part of it.

“The show done a lot of amazing things, meeting people and talking to them and hearing how big of an impact the show had and all these different things. When you’re a part of it, you see a bit of the impact it has but when you’re an artist you spend two years creating and writing a record, but you’re not there when it’s being consumed, you have no idea the impact it’s having.”

While the cast of Glee has each gone off to do their own things, there are a few that stay in contact with one another and when it comes to Damian, he and Heather Morris, who played Brittany on the show, are still close friends, as well as Cameron Mitchell who appeared on The Glee Project with Damian.

And as any Glee fan now knows, Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale’s Glee podcast (9ish mins) is coming back, and Damian is hoping to get an invite onto it to discuss his time of the show – but he won’t be going to see Funny Girl on Broadway in a hurry.

But there’s no badness behind the comment, Damian’s reason for not going? He just doesn’t like musicals.

“I remember on The Glee Project and on Glee itself, a lot of times I personally felt out of place a wee bit because I didn’t necessarily have an interest in shows like Funny Girl, and that’s crazy to say because I know so much of the Glee audience is that demographic. I was always interested in folk music or writing music or Celtic music, I came from a slightly different background.

“So nothing to do with Lea whatsoever, I probably just wouldn’t have an interest in seeing Funny Girl at all. I’m sure she’s amazing and it’s a dream of hers to do that.”

Damian’s new album Moments is out on November 25th and if his single Like Moments Do is anything to go by, it’ll be a good one.

“I’ve always led a hectic lifestyle but the last quarter of last year, it really hit a place where it felt uncontrollable. Every day I was waking up and I felt suffocated and I knew everything was too fast and I knew I wasn’t present. Eventually, I came home for Christmas and just had a great conversation with my mam and dad, my wife and I just started putting a few things in play and making a bold choice to live presently, taking a day at a time and the album was born out of that.

“Like Moments Do is a tip of the hat to that, appreciating the smaller moments that don’t necessarily get credit. The album itself is called Moments and there’s multiple different songs on there that represent different moments that go on throughout your life.”