Mary Byrne (singer)

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Mary Byrne
Birth nameMary Byrne
Born (1959-11-03) 3 November 1959 (age 60)
Ballyfermot, Dublin, Ireland
GenresEasy Listening
Years active2010–present
LabelsSony Music (2010-11)
Universal Music (2011-12)
Decca Records (2011—)
Associated actsThe X Factor finalists 2010, Phil Coulter

Mary Byrne (born 3 November 1959) is a top 10 selling Irish singer and TV presenter based in Ireland and the UK. Mary rose to fame in 2010 after becoming a finalist on the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010. Following her elimination in the live semi-final, she signed a record deal with Sony Music Ireland.[1] Byrne and her fellow The X Factor finalists gained a number-one single on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart with a cover of David Bowie's "'Heroes'" in aid of Help for Heroes.[2]

She was also Neil Diamond's special guest at the Aviva Stadium, where she performed in front of 55,000 people.[3] In August 2011, Byrne appeared in GREASE: The Musical at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin.[4] She began work on an autobiography, This Is My Life, and was released on 21 October 2011 in the UK and Ireland.[5] Mary decided to leave Sony Music as she accepted a new record deal offer with Decca Music and Universal Music, who are confident they can 'get her music career up and off the ground'. She has produced her second album, called ...with Love.[6] In 2012, Byrne appeared on Celebrity Bainisteoir.[7] Mary is also the main presenter on 3 networks panel show Midday, a show that airs live weekdays in Ireland and follows a format such as the ITV series Loose Women. She is also a co - presenter on the talk show Elaine Crowley.

Early and personal life[edit]

Byrne suffered from arthritis in her knees which proved difficult for Mary during the initial stages of the X Factor, but has led to comical improvisations during her tour with Grease.[8] Before The X Factor, she worked for supermarket chain Tesco, leading to her referral as "Tesco Mary".[citation needed] She quit singing at 28 because of low self-esteem after a failed relationship. After her appearance on The X Factor she admitted on RTÉ's The Late Late Show that she had suffered from clinical depression for a number of years.[9][10] She performed with her brother, Tommy, under the name The Tommy Lee Experience.[11] In 2008 she won the Irish television singing contest Nollaig No. 1 using the name Mary Lee and released the single "Siúil Leat".[12]

Music career[edit]

2010: The X Factor[edit]

Byrne entered reality television show The X Factor in 2010. Her employer, Tesco Ireland, started a campaign to persuade all staff to support her.[13] Byrne advanced to the live shows and was mentored by Louis Walsh. On the first live show, Byrne gained the most public votes by singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World".[14] Byrne was in the 'Final Showdown' twice. In the quarter-final, she was in the Bottom Three with fellow contestants Wagner, and Katie Waissel. As Waissel received the fewest votes she was eliminated first and competed against Wagner in the final showdown. Byrne advanced to the semi-final after Walsh, Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole voted to send Byrne through to the semi-final. Although Simon Cowell was not required to vote as there were already three of the four judges voted to send Byrne through to the semi-final, he confirmed that he would’ve also voted to send Byrne through to the semi-final. However, in the semi-final, Byrne was in the bottom two with Cher Lloyd and was eliminated with only her mentor, Walsh voting to send Byrne through to the final, finishing in fifth place. After the series finished, voting statistics revealed that Byrne received more votes than Lloyd. This meant that if there was not a Final Showdown, or if Minogue or Cowell voted to send Byrne through to the final or if the result to deadlock, Byrne would've advanced to the final and Lloyd would've been eliminated.

Mary Byrne's performances on the seventh series of The X Factor UK
When Performed Song Result
Audition "I Who Have Nothing" Through to Bootcamp
Judges Houses "Fix You" Through to live shows
Week 1 "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" Safe (1st) - 22.28%
Week 2 "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" Safe (2nd) - 18.55%
Week 3 "I Who Have Nothing" Safe (2nd) - 13.92%
Week 4 "Could It Be Magic" Safe (3rd) - 11.98%
Week 5 "There You'll Be" Safe (4th) - 12.02%
Week 6 "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" Safe (4th) - 10.66%
Week 7 "Something" Safe (5th) - 11.97%
Quarter-Final "All I Want Is You" & "Brass in Pocket" Bottom three (5th) - 11.29%
Final Showdown (Quarter-Final) "This Is My Life" Saved by judges' vote
Semi-Final "Never Can Say Goodbye" & "The Way We Were" Bottom two (4th) - 14.99%
Final Showdown (Semi-Final) "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" Eliminated by judges' vote

2011: Mine & Yours[edit]

Following her career on The X Factor, Byrne signed a record deal with Sony Music Ireland and began work on her debut album.[1] The album, Mine & Yours, was released in the UK on 28 March 2011, and 25 March in Ireland.[15] Byrne released her debut single, a cover of Martina McBride's "I Just Call You Mine", due to phenomenal demand when the track was debuted from her album Mine & Yours on Irish radio. The fan reaction was so positive that Sony Music Ireland were 'inundated' with requests to make the song available to the public and 'eager fans' prior to the album's release.[16] After little to no promotion, the song peaked at number 12 on the Irish Singles Chart.[17] Byrne revealed her album would be sold on QVC like Susan Boyle did to help sell a few more copies.[18] In an interview with Digital Spy Byrne stated;

The album was produced by hit-maker, Nigel Wright[20] and contains tracks which Mary performed on The X Factor. However, the songs on the album are not her performances from the show.[20] Byrne was on the 2011 The X Factor Live Tour, and Sony Music began planning Byrne's first solo concert tour before she decided to move onto Universal music.[21] Mine & Yours debuted at number-one on the Irish Album Charts on 31 March 2011.[22]

2011: ...with Love[edit]

On 13 September 2011, it was announced that Mary Byrne had asked to end her record deal with Sony, and asked to switch to Universal.[23] It was later announced that she had started working on a second album, produced by Phil Coulter, to be released in Ireland by Universal Music Ireland, and in the UK by Decca UK.[24][25] On 2 November, Mary Byrne stated on her Facebook page that her latest album, which is called ...with Love, would be released in Ireland on 25 November. Her management team later announced that the album would be released the following year in March for the UK. She appeared on The Late Late Show the day of Ireland release, and talked to Ryan Tubridy after performing a song on the album called "Thank God That This Was My Life", written for her by Phil Coulter.

2012: "An Evening With Mary Byrne & Phil Coulter"[edit]

Mary began a concert featuring her latest songs from the album with Phil Coulter at the INEC, Killarney and in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar in April 2012. Initially, one night was planned for the acts to perform in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on 8 May 2012. However, the public demand for tickets was so overwhelming, 5 extra nights were added, eventually resulting in a total of a 6 night residency leading up to 13 May 2012.[26][27] Both Mary Byrne and Phil Coulter performed individually throughout the shows, but they also sang numerous duets. The shows were met with a number of standing ovations from the audience and an encore on each of the six nights. Despite the fact the concert was initially intended to showcase songs from "...with Love", Mary sang several songs from her début album "Mine and Yours" and other songs which did not appear on either album.


In November 2011, Byrne released an autobiography co-written by Eddie Rowley, entitled This Is My Life, named after the Shirley Bassey hit of the same name. The book was released by O'Brien Press in Ireland and was on the bestseller list for four weeks. During the same time, the book was also released in the United Kingdom. This Is My Life was met by good reviews, not only catering to fans of The X Factor but also regaling stories of a Dublin youth and an exhilarating list of experiences, and thus appealing to a wider audience.[28] Amongst the stories which Byrne narrates throughout the book, she writes of a year which she spent on kibbutz Geva in Israel, travelling Europe whilst working for a Dublin factory, moving homes and even winning a car. The book contains several accounts of failed relationships, and Byrne admits to having a two-year relationship with a colleague.[29] A darker side of the book looks at the deaths of Byrne's parents, and in particular, the heartache which Byrne experienced after the death of her mother, who suffered from suspected Alzheimer's Disease. A first hand account is given of life on The X Factor both on stage and backstage through the eyes of a contestant, describing the difficulties which Mary experienced, her true opinions of other contestants and her stance on the judges.[30] The book achieves in combining fifty years of a "salt of the earth" existence with a new-found life of fame, with both sides experienced by the same person.

2013: Magic of the Musicals[edit]

In March 2014 Mary recorded "Magic of the Musicals". This reflects her love of the timeless classics. Magic Of the Musicals contains eleven tracks including 'On The Street Where You Live', Cheek To Cheek', and 'Hello Young Lovers'. The album also includes Mary's first self-penned number, 'Midnight Dreamer'.[31]

2017: Mary Sings The 60s.[edit]

Crushed Records music group issued Mary's latest album entitled 'Mary Sings The 60s. An album full of covers from iconic artiest in the 60s era. This album includes the single 'I Just don't know what to do with myself' and duets with John Mcniholl.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Mine & Yours 1 6
...with Love 10 28
Magic of the Musicals
  • Released: 28 March 2014
  • Label: Hetton Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Mary Sings the Sixties
  • Released: 15 September 2017[36]
  • Label: Crashed Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
"—" denotes an album that did not chart or was not released.


As lead artist[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2011 "I Just Call You Mine" 12 Mine & Yours

As featured artist[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions
2010 "Heroes"
(as part of The X Factor finalists)
1 1


  1. ^ a b Carbery, Genevieve (8 December 2010). "'X Factor' Mary signs record deal". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Newsbeat - X Factor: Finalists cover David Bowie for charity". BBC. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  3. ^ "X Factor star Mary Byrne confirmed as support act for Neil Diamond at The Aviva Stadium!". Music Scene. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Sunday World". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012.
  5. ^ This Is My Life: Mary Byrne: 9781847173102: Books. ASIN 1847173101.
  6. ^ "Music Review | Ed Case - Ed's Guest List". Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Rozanna Purcell takes charge of Tipp team for Celebrity Bainisteoir". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. Rozanna joins model Pippa O'Connor who will coach Naomh Brid from Ballintra, Co. Donegal while her husband, presenter Brian Ormand, will manage St. Mary's from Rochfortbridge in Co. Westmeath. X Factor star Mary Byrne is coaching a team from Tullow, Co Carlow and reality TV stars Calum Best and Paddy Doherty are also set to join the programme.
  8. ^ "Arthritis pain stops Mary Byrne dancing on The X Factor". Unreality TV. 24 October 2010. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Byrne reveals lesbian relationship". RTÉ Ten. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  10. ^ Darvill, Josh (30 March 2011). "Good morning! Here is a story about Mary Byrne's fling to start your day". Telly Mix. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  11. ^ McBride, Caitlin; Feehan, Conor (28 August 2010). "We always knew Mary would be X Factor success". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Mary Lee, TG4's Nollaig No.1 winner, releases her Christmas single Siúil Leat". TG4. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010.
  13. ^ Ken Sweeney (5 October 2010). "Tesco text factor mobilises for Mary". Irish Independent.
  14. ^ "Revealed: The X Factor 2010 voting percentages and detailed results - X Factor 2011 | The X Factor 2011 by TellyMix". 12 December 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Louis Walsh backing Mary Byrne's career". The List. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Sony Music Ireland Latest News". Retrieved 1 April 2011.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ a b c d Peak positions in Ireland
  18. ^ "X Factor: Mary Byrne to sell 'Mine & Yours' on QVC". Unreality TV. 3 March 2011. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  19. ^ "Music - News - Mary Byrne announces debut LP details". Digital Spy. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  20. ^ a b "Mine & Yours The Debut Album From Mary Byrne". Outside Organisation. London: Outside Organisation. 18 February 2011. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  21. ^ "X Factor: Mary Byrne is planning her own tour". Unreality TV. 18 March 2011. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  22. ^ "IRMA – Irish Recorded Music Association". Archived from the original on 17 December 2011.
  23. ^ X Factor's Mary Byrne moves from Simon Cowell's Sony Music to Cheryl Cole's Universal label | Unreality TV Archived 21 February 2012 at WebCite
  24. ^ Showbiz, Entertainment, Gossip & News: Irish and International Celebrities Archived 21 February 2012 at WebCite
  25. ^ "Wild ride for Celtic Thunder's 'Storm' and composer Phil Coulter - VIDEO". 22 September 2011.
  26. ^ [1] Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Extra concert dates added for Mary Byrne & Phil Coulter live at The Olympia Theatre in Dublin May 2012! | Music Scene". 6 January 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  28. ^ "Review: Autobiography: This Is My Life - The Oficial Autobigraphy by Mary Byrne". Irish Independent. 12 November 2011.
  29. ^ Byrne, Mary, This Is My Life (Dublin, 2011), 62.
  30. ^ Byrne, Mary, This Is My Life (Dublin, 2011), 172.
  31. ^ "Mary Byrne".
  32. ^ a b Peak positions in the United Kingdom:
  33. ^ "The Irish Charts". 1 October 1962. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  34. ^ "The Irish Charts". 22 September 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  35. ^ "The Irish Charts". 1 October 1962. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  36. ^ "Mary Sings the Sixties by Mary Byrne on Apple Music". iTunes Store (IE). Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  37. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 14 October 2017.

External links[edit]