Breaking On Through

For Hazel O’Connor, stepping out of the shadow of the work that helped define her career has proven to be a highly cathartic experience.

It was back in 1980, and the role of Kate in the hit film Breaking Glass, that launched the then-25-year-old singer and actress.

Twenty years later, O’Connor put together her autobiographical stage show, Beyond Breaking Glass, dealing with the fame, the fortune, and how fate tends to throw a few curveballs at you.

The film was a breakthrough moment, both professionally and personally, something O’Connor addresses in her new autobiography, Breaking Glass Barefoot.

Having run away from home at the age of 16, making her way across Amsterdam (making and selling clothes), France (picking grapes, of course), Tokyo (where she joined a dance troupe) and on through Beirut, West Africa and Germany, it still came as something of a shock to the system for the Coventry girl when stardom came crashing through.

Not only did O’Connor play the lead in the box-office hit about a troubled singer, but she also wrote the soundtrack. Which happened to feature the universal hit, Will You.

Today, the songs have become more personal, with the death of O’Connor’s mum, Joyce, in 2009 sparking the addition of a new song, Re-Joyce, to the ever-evolving show.

“I always felt guilty about running away and all the things I had done,” O’Connor explains, “being a bit of a wild child. I just suddenly realised that all the record company troubles that I’d had over the years, and all that had happened to me, wasn’t important. What was important was that I had made my mum proud…”

Today, a much happier and more rounded O’Connor – who lives in the wilds of Wicklow these days – is enjoying her work like never before, with the addition of harpist Cormac de Barra as her musical partner and co-songwriter sparking a whole new wave of creativity…


Greystonians will have a chance to get Up Close & Personal with Hazel O’Connor – and Cormac de Barra – on Saturday, October 21st. Details here…



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