He’s not just the guy from ‘Glee’
A young Irish singer — who made his debut on a popular TV musical dramedy in the role of a character who is believed by a cheerleader to be a leprechaun — will perform alongside a quintet of his country-mates next week at Symphony Hall.
Damian McGinty, who spent 17 episodes of “Glee” as the foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan, is the guest artist for the Very Best of Celtic Thunder Tour, which plays at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Other singers include Colm Keegan, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Emmett O’Hanlon and Neil Byrne.
The 45-city tour marks a return to roots for McGinty, who joined the group known for its PBS specials when he was 14 and stepped aside for a few years to work toward the “Glee” gig.
Revisiting Celtic Thunder as a singer with more life experience appealed to McGinty.
“(I thought) it would be interesting to see that through a different perspective,” he said in a phone interview from a tour stop in Canada earlier this week. “Originally, I was a kid. We’ve had a blast. We’ve been on the road for two months. The audience have been receiving the show very well.”
McGinty said he remembered his first brush with a microphone. The Derry native came upon a karaoke competition while on vacation with his family when he was about 5, he said.
He got up and performed “No Matter What,” a hit for Boyzone, a late 1990s Irish boy band.
“I sat down, and everyone was cheering loudly,” he said.
From then on, he kept singing at local gigs and competitions, whenever he got the chance.
“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I want to do this for a job,’” he said.
He was recruited to try out for Celtic Thunder at an open audition, he said. The rest happened quickly.
“I was there 4½ years,” he said. “We shot four or five specials and six albums. It took off fairly quickly. Everything with Celtic Thunder hit the sky at fast pace.”
Eventually, he got the itch to try something new. He auditioned to be a part of Oxygen’s “The Glee Project,” a reality show with a grand prize of a role in seven episodes of Season Three of the Fox series. He and Samuel Larsen shared the top prize.
After his seventh episode, McGinty said he was given a script to return the next week. He ended up seeing the role through the character’s graduation from William McKinley High School.
“It was good timing. I didn’t want to be known as ‘The Guy from ‘Glee’,’” he said. “I didn’t think that would be smart. I like to keep things fresh. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”
In addition to Celtic Thunder, McGinty is in the early stages of writing his first solo album. And as soon as this tour ends, he will spend some time in a studio in Los Angeles.
“We’ve written a few tracks,” he said. “So far, it’s Sam Smith-slash-Coldplay. It’s just really different. It’s young, it’s fresh, it’s got a cool vibe to it.”
He’s able to write while on the road, he said. And his fodder is the experiences of the past almost-decade.
“I’ve had an interesting life so far,” McGinty said. “I’m 22, and I’ve been traveling the world for eight years, working with so many people. We’ve been writing about a lot of things: Growing up, relationships and love.”