Country music star Cliona Hagan will join a host of big names for a live Valentine’s Day fundraising concert tonight before enjoying a romantic meal with her new fiancé Simon Sheerin.
he Co Tyrone singer was swept off her feet by fellow musician Simon when he sprung a surprise marriage proposal just before Christmas.
Making the most of life in lockdown, the couple have been busy doing popular live streams on Facebook every Sunday, watched by tens of thousands from across the globe.
But for tonight only, Cliona will join a host of other country stars including Nathan Carter and Daniel O’Donnell, for a free fundraising concert in aid of the charity Breast Cancer Research.
However, it won’t be all work and no play, as afterwards the couple plan to have their own romantic Valentine’s celebration.
Cliona (31), who lives in Ballinderry, reveals: “Simon is a fantastic cook. I’m awful at cooking; I can’t even describe how bad I am. We have a good system going in that he cooks and then I clean up.
“After the concert we will have a lovely wee dinner together and just relax and have a really nice wee night.”
That Simon (33) will have a surprise in store for their first Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple is not out of the question as he showed his romantic side to a stunned Cliona on December 17.
The couple have been together for a year-and-a-half and Simon, who is a drummer in Cliona’s band, lives in Westmeath. It was during a visit by Cliona to his parents’ house that Simon sprung a very romantic surprise marriage proposal.
Cliona recalls: “When I go down to visit him at his parents’ house there is a beautiful lake where we always go for a walk. We were walking there on December 17 and we came round a corner and there was this beautiful floral arch with a red carpet, candles and music and it was really romantic.
“He certainly scored 10 out of 10 for romance. I loved how it was just me and him and it was so intimate and romantic, he did really well.
“I had no idea it was coming but it was a good shock. We’ve been together a year-and-a-half and he is my best friend.
“He had the most beautiful engagement ring. He knew I loved square stones and the one he gave me is hexagon shaped which I have never seen before and it is absolutely beautiful and really suits my hand.”
The couple want to marry surrounded by all of their friends and family so have put plans for their big day on hold until Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. It was a high point in what was otherwise a tough year for Cliona whose family has suffered dearly due to coronavirus.
The virus took the life of her 44-year-old cousin Lee Hagan, a father-of-three from Cookstown in October.
Cliona says: “Lee was such a lovely person. He was one of those people who was always so joyful and happy. It was devastating for his parents and his wife and children.
“It was horrific and we couldn’t even embrace them or comfort them in person. Covid made everything so cold. It puts things in perspective and if it taught me anything it was to appreciate family and the simple things in life.”
Like all musicians Cliona’s career stopped in its tracks when Covid hit last March and plans for a solo concert tour were cancelled.
However, it hasn’t stopped her working and two weeks ago she launched a new live single, I’ve Forgotten You, which went straight to number one in the iTunes charts.
She also has plans to launch her first live album later this year with several singles from it released before then. Her weekly live streams on Facebook have been reaching huge audiences of around 70,000 with many new fans tuning in from across the world.
Cliona qualified as a music teacher and was teaching for three years when she decided to give it up to follow her passion for music and performing.
Her career has soared over the past four years with annual sell-out concert tours, two albums and numerous hit singles. While her new single is a cover, Cliona has been using the time in lockdown to write her own songs which she hopes to record this year.
She is thrilled that her new single shot straight to the top of the charts: “It is my first live single and is taken from my first live album which I am hoping to launch in September. I can’t believe I will be launching my third album. I love live music, there is nowhere to hide and I am very happy for everyone to hear me live.”
Like most artists she can’t wait to get back to live performing but while lockdown continues she has been helping to brighten the day for many fans by taking part in the now popular Reach Out Programme.
The programme was set up by singer Trudi Lalor to help keep country stars connected with fans via a phone call during lockdown.
Cliona adds: “I have spoken to a woman recovering from breast cancer, a young boy who had his foot amputated and another boy with Down’s Syndrome.
“It’s been so lovely. They are so happy to hear from me and it has also lifted my spirits.”
- Tonight’s Valentine’s Day concert will be streamed live at 8pm on www.valentinesconcert.ie
- You can book a call from Cliona through Reach Out on Facebook.