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Keith Peter Thomas Francis John Duffy was born on 1st October 1974 in Donaghmede, Dublin, to proud parents Pat and Sean. Already parents to older brother, Derek; younger brother, John arrived a few years later.
Keith’s early years were a worrying time for his mum and dad as he contracted whooping cough, pneumonia and measles all before the age of three. However, he got through all those problems and grew to be, according to his mum, someone who ‘was a real extrovert’ but at the same time ‘sensitive and caring, he was a very cuddly child.’
As a youngster Keith wasn’t keen on the academic studies at school, instead preferring to concentrate on sport and practical subjects.
From the ages of 7 to 18, Keith played hurling and Gaelic football; representing Dublin for three years at under-16 level in the hurling. And in Gaelic football – although he didn’t play many matches – he played at Croke Park a few times. He only stopped playing both sports when he started a Saturday job with his dad at Frawley’s, which meant he couldn’t commit to training
Music played its part in Keith’s childhood and teenage years; he started playing the drums early on and was part of a marching band when he was eight years old. He bought his first drum kit when he was 16 and learnt to play them in a shed at the bottom of his garden. Keith played with two bands in his time; one called Toledo Moon and the other; This Burning Effigy.
After achieving a good leaving certificate in building construction, engineering and architecture, he went on to further study architecture at college. He did that for a year before deciding two weeks into the second year that it wasn’t for him anymore. He left and moved onto various jobs.
In 1993 Keith saw photos of Mark Walton and Shane Lynch in the papers and read about them both being in a new boyband, said to be the Irish version of ‘Take That.’ Shane’s was a face he knew well as they’d grown up around Donaghmede and were, in the words of Keith, ‘the two good looking blokes around the area.’ Keith had even dated Shane’s older sister, Alison for a little while. He had heard about the auditions and he wanted to be involved; he asked Shane if he could get him an interview with Louis Walsh but nothing came of it.
By some coincidence, Keith was dancing on the stage of the Pod nightclub in Dublin when the same man who he’d wanted an interview with three weeks earlier, approached him and asked him if he wanted to be in a pop group. Keith’s answer was yes and he went along to the second audition and sang Billy Joel’s ‘Piano man,’ then danced to Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m too sexy.’ Keith was chosen in the original line up of the band that were to be called ‘Boyzone.’ Once two members of the group left; new member, Mikey Graham, Keith, Shane, Stephen Gately and Ronan Keating set about achieving the success of number one singles, albums and
sell out tours.
Although Keith wasn’t seen as one of the front members of Boyzone, he did have the opportunity to sing lead vocals on two songs (‘Where have you been’ and ‘Will I ever see you’) he performed them on Boyzone’s later tours and they were also included as B-sides on the singles, ‘No matter what’ and ‘Everyday I love you’ respectively.
Written & Researched by Leonie Stevens