The shape I'm in: Brian Kennedy, singer/songwriter

Brian Kennedy finds interior decorating and cooking for friends relaxing.

HE talks at top speed, memories, ideas and insights tumbling out as he reflects on life.

Brian Kennedy has every reason to be fired up by life. Last year the singer/songwriter was diagnosed and successfully treated for rectal cancer. 

He is now enjoying the energy surge that comes with having finished a gruelling course of treatment and a strict health regime. 

“I feel absolutely great. I’ve no symptoms of anything,” says the 50-year-old Belfast native.

His older brother Bap was not so fortunate. Last year the renowned musician and songwriter also developed cancer but it was in his pancreas and incurable. 

Though the circumstances were “overwhelming”, Brian travelled to Belfast in August to reconnect with his brother.

“We had been estranged for about 25 years, so I decided to contact him, which I’m very glad did.

“There was a great deal of peace about it. I said: “I don’t really care about the past, I just care about right now. As incredibly sad as that was, it was a real wonderful thing to get the chance to say goodbye properly. He died in November.”

Finding a core of inner steel, he continued to perform throughout his radiation and chemotherapy treatments. 

“I decided to myself, unless I’m crawling on the floor I’m not cancelling anything.”

He has just finished a UK tour, has a calendar packed with dates around the country and is gearing up for China in September. 

“My energy levels are great. I’ve never been better,”

* Brian Kennedy performs at Hillfest 2017, Watergrass Hill, Co Cork on June 4.

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What shape are you in?

Normally I would do a proper workout twice a week and supplement that with cardio on alternate days once or twice a week but no more than that.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

These days I’m practically vegan. I occasionally have a little bit of chicken or turkey. I just had some hemp milk with some vegan protein powder as a shake with lots of greens in it.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I love a really good Margherita with proper limes, proper 100% agave tequila.

How do you relax?

I’m an awful man for interior design. I’m always moving paintings around or looking at what I can do to a room. I’ve been cooking a lot lately. I love to cook for friends. I love to think about what wine we’re going to have when I’m drinking.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would love to have Oprah Winfrey; Judge Judy, I think she’d be hilarious; probably our own dear Panti who’s hilarious; Senator David Norris, again incredibly entertaining.

What is your favourite smell?

For my 50th birthday last year, someone very kindly for my 50th last year gave me Chanel’s Coromandel. I really love it. Or anything by Jo Malone. I put lavender essential oil on my bed sheets, especially when I’ve just laundered them.

Is there anything you’d like to change about your appearance?

I don’t think so. I’ve grown accustomed to my face, as they say.

When is the last time you cried?

I met up with an old, old friend last year. He’d heard I’d been unwell and wrote me a letter to saying he’d like to see me. It didn’t really go that well. A lot of time had gone past and he was very different. 

I just got a bit sad that [my cancer] was the motivation that took him to come forward. When I left him, I went into Merrion Square and had a little weep to myself. I immediately felt better.

What traits do you least like in others?

Bad timekeeping. I’m one of the annoying friends that shows up a little early for things. It’s so important to me that somebody knows that I’m showing up on time because I value their time. Now, I’m well able to say ‘I’m sure they’re not late on purpose’.

What traits do you least like in yourself?

Sometimes I can overthink things and be a little unforgiving and judgemental. As I get older I’m copping on a lot.

Do you pray?

My prayers are songs. That can be like an incantation for me. I might put on a bit of Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush or Van Morison. 

There is always a song that seems to be the touchstone for that moment. Because of a lack of faith in faith at this point I reach for music every time.

What would cheer up your day?

A surprising phone call from someone that I would love to hear from.


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