Curtis Magee lives in Coleraine on the beautiful North Antrim Coast of Ireland, He originates from the border Town of Strabane in County Tyrone, where he attended the local primary & secondary schools. His Father Lexie & Mother Mary reside in Castlederg in County Tyrone. Curtis Has Two Sisters; Pauline, who is a year older than Curtis and Dianne, who is the baby of the family.
Music has always been at the heart of the family. Lexie had his own showband called The Starbeats in which he played saxophone and clarinet.
It doesn’t stop there however, because he also plays accordion, fiddle, harmonica and the bagpipes. Lexie was, in fact, a pipe major to many local bands and is still found entertaining in local hospitals and old peoples homes but now, for his own enjoyment. It is not hard to see from where Curtis gets his love and talent for music.
At the age of seven along with sister Pauline, he attended piano lessons during which he learnt to read music and took several examinations, which they both passed with flying colours.
A few years later, at Christmas, Curtis became the proud owner of his first guitar. He was just a little disappointed at that time because he had hoped for a Manchester United Football kit. This time, with guitar in hand and Pauline in tow again, it was off to guitar lessons and his introduction to country music.
Although we all know Curtis for his ability to play the keyboards, accordion and guitar, in the early days his ambition was to be a drummer. He spent many hours practicing on his father’s old showband drums, where he played along to records of his boyhood favourites Philomena Begley, Susan McCann and Brendan Shine.
Now Curtis often shares the stage with these idols. A dream come true you could say!
Curtis kept nagging Lexie, a bus driver at that time, to buy him his first amplifier and speakers. After months of persistence Lexie finally gave in and set off on his bus one morning only to return with the much sought after equipment. An electric guitar soon followed so Curtis was up and running and looking for work at the very early age of twelve.
His first booking came courtesy of his mother and father’s local pub, the Welcome Inn, Strabane where Curtis was to play every Saturday night. It was not long before another such booking came in but this time for Fridays at Paddy the Butchers pub just around the corner.
Curtis could always have a laugh at his school friends, who spent their weekends collecting shopping trolleys for a few bob, Curtis got a lot more for singing a few songs. It was this solo act that gave Curtis the notion to have his own band. Along with two of his school friends, they started their own band, called Country Cream.
As some of the lads were too young to work the pub and club circuit, work was hard to come by and they settled for church hall socials. They enjoyed playing to a captive audience but as these functions didn’t pay money, Their only reward at the end of a hard nights work was a cup of tea and a cream bun.
Around this time Curtis was bought his first accordion by his late uncle Johnny. Lessons weren’t necessary this time because the talent was already well enough set in to enable him to teach himself.
This accordion is the one you see alongside Curtis on the stage today and is unlikely to ever change because of its great sentimental value.
Curtis left school with an 0-level in music and many dreams for the future. It was necessary, however, to bring in some steady money and he took various jobs in shops around his home town of Strabane where he worked his way up from store man to shop assistant. During this time he played rhythm guitar part time in another band called Eugene and the Mountain Ramblers.
He later founded his own band called Curtis in which he played keyboards and this band became a popular name in many local social gatherings.
In 1987, Curtis released his first album entitled “Cowboys Ain’t Supposed To Cry” It was such a success that within two years the second album was on sale this time called, “On The Road Again”. With the need for a third album, Curtis made the brave decision to hang up his shop overalls and go professional.
At this exciting time with album three, entitled “Irish Favourites?”’ topping the charts he embarked on his first overseas tour. These three albums are now something of a collector’s item as they have been discontinued.
His travels took him first, thanks to the help of Ann Carmody in Inverness, to the Scottish Highlands.
It was a real success and Curtis brought the house down in every one of his performances He was immediately rebooked for another tour the following summer, this was designed to coincide with the Inverness Country Music Festival and Curtis’s first appearance at a major festival.
This was also a showstopper for Curtis and it just so happened that compeering the festival was a gentleman by the name of Tony Best. Tony was so impressed with Curtis’s performance that he invited him on a tour of England. This was quite an introduction and the one, which Curtis considers really put him on the map.
This tour took Curtis to places throughout England and Wales where he enjoyed his first experiences of audiences south of the border. The first date of this tour was at Presthaven Sands in Prestatyn in Wales and his first English appearance was at Woodborough Social Club in Wiltshire.
To say that Curtis went down well is an understatement because from that one appearance he was to win their solo act of the year award for 1992. His travels on that first tour also took him to places as far away as Devon and Whitchurch to his first TBL event in Scarborough. Curtis was absolutely overwhelmed by the response he received and completely sold out of merchandise when it was time to go home.
1992 rates as Curtis’s most significant year to date. It was also the time at which he met with Terry Corrigan of TC Records who has to take the credit for the success of the numerous recordings by Ireland’s newest star.
Terry has been responsible for the recording of everything you see in Curtis’s shop today, which includes something for everyone. From Gospel songs, to Christmas hits and line dance favourites to sing-a-longs and instrumentals. There are also eight different videotapes/DVD’s and various CD’s available.
Since those heady days of new introductions and great openings for this young entertainer he has become a frequent visitor to Great Britain and also enjoys visits to other countries which include the Shetland Islands and the more sunny climates of Spain, not to mention several trips a year in to the South of his own beautiful country.
It is not surprising to know that this success has gained him many awards at various prestigious clubs and venues.
These accolades include solo entertainer of the year, entertainer of the year and band of the year.
There are far too many to mention them all but it would be fair to say that Curtis is most proud of his achievement in winning the Lazyacre soloist of the year award 9 times! His latest award was presented to him by no other than Ken Dodd!
Since those early days in the music business, Curtis continues to be one of the busiest entertainers on the roads of Britain & Ireland and he now has recorded over 20 albums to date.
For the past 15 years, Curtis has performed at the Aul Lammas fair in Ballycastle in County Antrim and in recent years his eldest daughter Natasha has joined him on stage raising over £12,000 for cancer research in Northern Ireland.
Curtis has two daughters Natasha (15) & Shannon (11) who like their dad seem set to follow in his footsteps and create another generation of musical Magees.
The girls sang on Curtis’s latest album on a track called “Daddy’s Girl”
In November 2004 Curtis headed ‘down under’ to Australia for the first time.
Curtis played in venues at Melbourne, Brisbane,and Sydney, and also took in Singapore and the Fiji Islands.
This was his chance to get his music across to a a new generation of fans.
In 2007 Curtis joined the cruise ship ‘Experience’ around the Mediterranean. Visiting places such as Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, France and Portugal.
A well travelled man by all accounts!
Curtis’s philosophy is simple;
…Give the people what they want & send them home happy as they continue to dance & sing-a-long to what has made the wee man simply Ireland’s no 1.