Famed vocalist and musician Paul Carrack is hitting the road for a new tour across Ireland and the UK next month and we caught up with him to chat about his life and career.

The esteemed singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist rose to fame in the mid 1970s as the frontman of rock band Ace and went on on to gain further recognition as a member of the new wave group Squeeze.

He is probably best known as the co-lead singer and a songwriter for Mike + The Mechanics, the band he formed in the mid 1980s with Mike Rutherford, Paul Young,  Adrian Lee and Peter Van Hooke. 

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Carrack has gone on to carve out a successful solo career, and recently released the album These Days which contains 11 new tracks, including five co-writes with his old Squeeze bandmate Chris Difford.

Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment ahead of performing a special arrangement of The Living Years, accompanied by Cór Linn, on Saturday night's Ray D'Arcy Show, Carrack said he's looking forward to coming back to Ireland for his gigs in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and the Cork Opera House in October.

"We did a couple of shows here last year, it was great, I loved it", he said.

He was suffering from a touch of jet-lag having just returned from America where he was touring with Eric Clapton playing keyboards. The music star said preparing to embark on a solo tour is a totally different prospect.

"Basically doing your own stuff is more satisfying, whereas with Eric people come to see him and it's great to be involved because he's a class act, he's a total legend. But any pressure is on him really, so as I say it's a bit of a busman's holiday!", he said.

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When asked about the songwriting process, Carrack admitted that it's "a bit of a chore, in a way."

"If it wasn't the fact that I want to keep making records, I probably wouldn't write songs. I'd still mess around and play and free-form, but actually sitting down and making it into something is a little bit, well I'm lazy so it's a bit like hard work", he said.

"I don't write all the time, I know guys that write a song every day, I don't do that because my songs are pretty simple and I like to keep it fresh.

"So I generally write when it's time to make an album. I am in the habit now of putting down little bits of ideas, but then to actually put it all together...it's like writing a letter or something, you have to apply yourself."

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As he's been dubbed "the man with the golden voice", the singer said he did sometimes feel under pressure ahead of performing.

"It's a nightmare actually, that's why I say going on tour with Eric and playing keyboards, to me it's like I'm going on holiday, because the organ's there you just have to switch it on and it works, whereas the voice is such a personal thing and in some ways delicate", he said.

"It involves your whole being, you've got to stay healthy, you've got to stay strong and you've got to keep the voice in good order. It is a pressure, there's no doubt about it because you don't want to let people down. It very rarely has let me down.

"But it is [a pressure] it takes all the fun out of it because you're never 1 million per cent confident in it. That's it, that's what it's like being a singer, it's tricky.

The 68-year-old music star said his voice has changed "a little bit" over the years, "I think it's better, I think it's richer. When I was younger I had a bit of a sweet spot and it was always quite high so you tend to pitch the songs high because they sound more exciting but as I've gotten older I've developed more of a lower range as well.

"So I can still get up there but I'm a bit more economical with the high notes because I think it's a more intimate sound, a bit lower, less screechy."

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When asked if he feels grateful for his long and successful career, Carrack said: "I just like the fact that I'm more established now as something in my own right.

"Not with everybody, still some people know the names of the bands, but I've put a lot of work in over the years just to establish myself touring, so it's not bad place now. To be fair, I have worked hard, I have put the effort in, I've always been dedicated. I've put the long miles in and it hasn't always been easy by any stretch of the imagination.

"I feel I'm one of the fortunate ones who's had a good career and done ok and am still doing it and still enjoying it. I'm lucky in that respect. I never expected or took anything for granted, I keep my feet on the ground and I work hard."

Paul Carrack and his band play the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on October 14 and the Cork Opera House on October 15. Tickets are on sale now.

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