Hamish Downie’s Five MORE Questions With Sean Patrick Murtagh

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.


TGG: Could you tell us about yourself (one more time for the people in the back)?

SPM: An actor asked to talk about themselves? Hmmm…I’ll do my best! Hello everyone, My name is Sean Patrick Murtagh. I am an actor and singer based in NYC. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. I am coming up on my 12th anniversary in New York City, which means it’s my second anniversary as an official New Yorker. It was an interesting milestone to reach in the middle of the pandemic, (the 10 year New Yorkaversay) and yet perfectly paired. I never once considered leaving New York. Where would I go? New York is my home and it was probably the safest choice for me to stay put here.

In a very New York Fashion, as rough as the past two years have been, I have been very lucky in finding projects to keep me performing and managed to rack up some pretty cool achievements. I created two “Pandemic Concert Series” the first being my bi-weekly Pantsless Living Room Concert Series and the second, The Mario 100!, a year long concert series celebrating the Mario Lanza Centennial by presenting 100 songs from his iconic songbook. I was also extremely lucky to work on some great film projects, including a short film by Hamish Downie, produced and directed by AJ Mattioli, Night Disclosure- which if you can stream it, you definitely should.
 


 
Other highlights included winning the 2020 MAC Award for Best Cabaret Debut, 2021 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Awards for Best Male Vocalist and Best Special Event for my Lincoln Center debut Summer Sunday Soirée as part of their Restart Stages programming.
Outside of performing, I love to cook and entertain friends. One of my favorite achievements as a host was my Game of Throne watch parties. Every week was a different menu and craft cocktail inspired by the storylines and characters. For the “grand” finale, I threw a nacho party with seven different nachos to represent the 7 Kingdoms. The writers messed with my theme in the end, but come on, 7 nachos…everyone wins. As we as a society continue to safely gather again, I am really looking forward to my next theme party and excuse for a new caftan.

TGG: Sounds Fabulous! Could you tell us about your concert series and your upcoming album?

SPM: I have currently put my concert series on hold to focus on my debut album, The Mario 101! Vol. 1. For the past three years I have had a great amount of success and recognition for my Mario Lanza tributes, the first taking place in 2019, which brought me back to my roots as a singer. I was first introduced to Lanza by my voice teacher Richard Nickol, who also sang a lot of the same repertoire. The first time I heard Mario Lanza sing, I couldn’t believe my ears. The bar was set and my devotion to The Golden Tenor of Hollywood was cemented. Aspiring not to sound just like him, but to fully experience my voice and artistry to be able to give as much of myself to a song as he did. And this is what led me to coming up with learning 100 songs to commemorate his 100th birthday- what a great way to not only celebrate him, but to push myself to continue to grow. Coming out of last year’s concerts, I felt a sense of accomplishment I have never felt before.
 


 
So, what’s next? One of the best parts with live performances is that they are a unique experience that happens only once. Even if you do the same show the next night, it is a different experience from the night before and different from the next and so on. Each performance is an experience that is best appreciated in the moment- live and in person (virtual attendance accepted the past two years). The downside is, you put in all that work and it’s done. Learning 100 songs in a year didn’t allow me much time with each song and almost no time to revisit the material. Recording the album is the best way I can think of to capture and reflect on last year’s efforts and accomplishments. It has been a lot of work, and I have grown immensely as a singer and performer because of it. I’ve reached a place where I am not ashamed to acknowledge myself for what I accomplish. So if on one album I could share all of this with you while at the same time introducing you to Mario Lanza in 12 songs, you get The Mario 101 vol. 1.

TGG: What’s the process of selecting songs been like?

SPM: All the songs on the album will be covers of classics from Opera to Broadway to Movie Musicals and everything else that makes up The Mario Lanza Songbook. I have put together over a dozen shows so far honoring Lanza, and the process of selecting songs has not gotten any easier. It is a MASSIVE songbook- thankfully. For the first show I did, I went on a Spotify deep dive, “favoriting” all the songs to a playlist for consideration. When I went back to review the playlist, there were over 140 titles. So I had to categorize all the songs: Opera, Neapolitan music, Broadway, American Songbook, MGM Movie Musicals, etc. I then had to find the balance of making sure to have a little bit of everything represented. I ended up with about 40 songs, so I then looked at which songs were basically telling the same story in the same “feeling” and voila I had the 13 songs comprising the first set list (plus 2 bonus songs for the encore) of the 2019 Mario! A Salute to the Great Lanza, for which I won the 2020 MAC Award.

Doing the centennial concert series was rewarding because I got to explore and play with the songs that didn’t make the original tribute. By now, yes, you would think having put together all these setlists would have made finalizing my song choices for the album easy, but I found myself back where I was in 2019 looking at a100+ songs that I could only choose 12 for the album. I calmed my mind by putting “Volume 1” after The Mario 101!, with the promise of volumes 2, 3, 4, etc. an open invitation to return to this material again.

But to answer the question more concisely, it has not been an easy process, but I am still having fun.

TGG: I’m looking forward to listening. Which do you like better, acting or singing?

SPM: This is kind of an unfair question to ask a performer who feels equally confident both as an Actor and a Singer. It’s a bit like asking a parent who their favorite child is. Obviously, there is a clear choice, but you feel like you have to be diplomatic in your response. (Can you tell I am the baby and favorite of my family?) With all that being said… Singing. Singing is without a doubt my first love, my passion, and my purpose. Singing is a spiritual experience that helps me better understand what we are all doing here.. It’s how I connect to my heritage, Irish/ Mexican/ Salvadoran. It’s how I heal and process- happiness, loss, pain, love, all of it.

TGG: Finally, how can we best support you?

SPM: The first thing I always tell people when they ask how they can support me is “Like, Comment, Subscribe, and Share.” It is so easy and FREE to support artists online by engaging with them on social media and sharing their content to help grow their fan base and reach.

So after you follow me on all social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok: @seanieboysfnyc and subscribe to me on YouTube: Sean Patrick Murtagh, you can go to my kickstarter for the album and make a contribution. The goal for the album is to crowdsource $12,000.00, which is both conservative and attainable. Any amount is greatly appreciated and whether large or small, all donations will help get us to this goal very quickly. And when you share the kickstarter with others, you are growing a community, while being part of making this album happen.

The link to the kickstarter as well as how to find me on other platforms can all be found on my LinkTree: Linktr.ee/SeanPatrickMurtagh

https://www.facebook.com/Seanieboysfnyc
https://twitter.com/Seanieboysfnyc
https://www.instagram.com/seanieboysfnyc/


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