On the 29th November 2001, Ireland lost one of its most eclectic and talented troubadours. Singer-songwriter Mic Christopher – aged just thirty two – died tragically after an accidental fall on steps in the Netherlands, the same night he opened for his musical heroes, The Waterboys.
Now sixteen years later, Mic is remembered through the release of his debut album Skylarkin’ on vinyl for the first time.
This feat was achieved through Born Optimistic, an Irish record label and concert promoter. Through the help of Born Optimistic’s founder and former friend of Mic’s, Donal Scannell, and by the request of the late singer’s family, the occasion was marked with the vinyl release.
Andrew Gleeson, Assistant Promoter and Producer at Born Optimistic said, “Mic’s family ordered a substantial amount of his album on vinyl as it was approaching the anniversary of his death. Donal, who had been friends with Mic had also been thinking of doing something to mark the anniversary too and got in touch. Mic’s family then asked him to release it through Born Optimistic.
“The family didn’t necessarily want to make a big deal out of the release, just enough to celebrate him so that fans could avail of the iconic album in a way they hadn’t before,” Andrew said.
Michael “Mic” Christopher, born in 1969 in the Bronx, New York to Irish parents, moved to the then relatively new area of Clondalkin when he was a toddler. Mic’s family were self-proclaimed Elvis fanatics with music being programmed into the young Mic’s mind as a child. From the age of fifteen, Mic began making the trek into the city centre to busk on Grafton Street. It was there he met fellow busker Glen Hansard and the pair quickly became best friends. With their natural showmanship and powerful voices, the pair became a formidable duo act playing to the masses on Grafton Street. The two rented a flat on Harcourt Street for quick and easy access to their workplace.
Last year for Mic’s 15 year death anniversary, Glen Hansard and several of Mic’s former busker friends performed a sold out show in Vicar St. titled “Glen Hansard and friends sing the songs of Mic Christopher” where they performed Skylarkin’ in full.
Mic formed the band ‘The Mary Janes’ in 1990 and performed with the band up until their split in 1999. What Mic is known mostly for however is his posthumously released first and only solo album Skylarkin’, and its blissful songs that remain just as influential and significant as they did back on the album’s first release in 2002.
The lead single of the album, “Heyday”, featured famously in a 2003 Guinness ad and would become an Irish anthem in the following years, with tracks such as “Listen Girl” and “Daydreamin’” fully encapsulating the singer’s writing talents and seemingly limitless future potential. The album achieved platinum status in 2004, selling 15,000 copies, and though sadly this was a feat that Mic did not live to see, the songs still resonate in Irish culture.
The vinyl release of Skylarkin’ on what would have been the singer-songwriter’s 48th birthday is not just a remembrance of a true Irish talent, but a celebration of art and creativity living on long after death.
Skylarkin’ is available for order here: https://bornoptimistic.com/products/mic-christopher-skylarkin-vinyl
By Killian Dowling