“I start with stretching the vocal chords. The best thing to do is humming; that really helps. Close your mouth, put your tongue to the roof of your mouth, and go like this …” He does it, and it sounds sort of like an old-fashioned air-raid siren or maybe like the siren on the Ghostbusters’ Ectomobile – a whiny, nasal up-and-down sound. I try it myself.
“Yeah, that’s it. See, when you do it, you’re stretching the vocal chords like a rubber band. After that, I start with the “ee-ah-oh” sounds. I start in the low range and go higher. Then I sing a Frank Sinatra song. Barry Gibb once told me Sinatra songs are the best warm-up because of the range.”
It’s an impressive regimen, and one devised by a man who clearly isn’t fooling around. Ronan may still have his boyish looks, a very pretty wife and all the benefits that rock stardom brings. After all these years in the business, however, he comes off strikingly professional.
Which is what I tell him. But he shakes off the notion without any hesitation. “I don’t consider myself a pro. I’ve got 25 years under my belt, but I look at people like Elton John or George Michael – Lord rest his soul – and to me they’re just the best of the best. I think about them, and I still feel like I’m 22. I still feel like a kid. It’s crazy to think that I’m 15 or 20 years older than Adele and Ed [Sheeran].”
He’s modest, too, which is refreshing. You won’t find much bragging on his Twitter feed. And several times during our conversation, he makes it a point to tell me how truly grateful he is for all that he has accomplished. “Longevity is the greatest achievement in the music industry, especially today. So if you’re still here years later, still able to headline a festival or whatever it may be, that’s what really counts.”