Chloe Agnew has been a member of the Irish ensemble Celtic Woman since she was 14, making her a veteran of the group at just 22. She's seen the world, including Australia and Japan, and toured the U.S. numerous times. But Agnew considers Charlotte one of her favorite tour stops.
"There's the best sushi restaurant in a little complex with loads of other restaurants. It's amazing," she recollected earlier this week. "And the same familiar faces are always in the audience. The same people come back year after year."
Fans of Irish music and Celtic Woman's PBS concert specials will flock to Ovens Auditorium on Tuesday. Agnew will be joined by fellow original member fiddler Mairead Nesbitt and more recent additions Lisa Lambe and Susan McFadden. Original member Lisa Kelly is on maternity leave.
"I always say the changes are for the better. It changes the balance on and off stage and keeps things fresh and keeps us on our toes," says Agnew.
In the U.S., women are often pitted against one another (look no further than "The Real Housewives" reality series), but Agnew says the women of Celtic Woman are not trying to out-diva each other.
"The foundation for this (project) was that we were originally five solo individual artists hired to perform our solo pieces and a couple of group numbers. Eight years later, that is still the basis. The fans get to know us as individual artists," she says.
"Because of that, it does take the egotistical element out of it. Everyone gets their five minutes. Fans love the ensemble numbers, but it's just as important to keep our solo pieces. The four of us are so different on stage and off, and that's evident in the style of music and the way we perform."
Agnew released two albums before she joined Celtic Woman, and plans to work on her solo writing in L.A. later this year. On her own, she's experimenting with everything from country to dance music.
"What's ironic is the music I write is more country music. That's something I'd love to pursue. In the last couple months, I did a trip-hop dance track. I'm building up loads of music so I can decide what I want to make an album out of and seeing what works," she adds. "It's great to have two solo albums under my belt, but I was 14. My voice has changed."
Having spent a healthy chunk of her life touring with Celtic Woman, Agnew says the group and crew have become a family over the years.
"There's a great love and camaraderie," she says.
While life on the road so far from her real family can be taxing, she appreciates it most when she's home.
"Every time I come home and see friends of mine who are feeling miserable and blue in college and can't get a job, I'm grateful to have a job that takes me all over the world."
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