Anne's story starts in Dublin as a young girl.
The nuns in her primary school told her mother that she had
talent and so she started signing Anne up for talent contests
around Dublin when she was 14. Anne was successful and
started to get some attention locally, ending up singing at a
cabaret spot in the Asgard Hotel in Howth on Saturday nights. It
was the summer of 1970.
Anne was soon approached to
join a band called The
Gypsies, and was persuaded to take a more appropriate stage
name, Lola. The Gypsies lineup included Lola (vocals), Paul
Holohan (bass), Dave Flood (keyboards), Albert O'Sullivan
(guitar and fiddle), Norman Clifford (sax), Tony Hughes (drums).
An article in the February 15, 1972 issue of Spotlight states
that a trumpet player was yet to be named for the band.
She worked with Dave Pennyfeather and John Keogh on
her first single, Down By The River. While the band was in
Canada playing at the famous Maple Leaf in Toronto, Anne was
asked to return to Ireland to audition for the National Song
Contest. It was 1972, and the song she eventually sang was an
Irish (Gaelic) pop song called "Oro Aine". Although it
was a catchy tune, she lost to Sandie Jones who sang "Ceol An
Ghra" which came 15th in Luxembourg that year, but reached
Number 1 in the Irish charts.
Chart success eluded Anne's
song, but on the strength of her performance she ended up doing a lot of studio
work, background vocals, jingles, etc.. While on a session, she
met John D'Ardis and
Bill Whelan at Trend studios and according to Anne, "that is when I really fell in
love with music." She credits Bill (of eventual Riverdance
fame) as teaching her much about the business and putting her in
touch with many of the movers and shakers at RTE (at that time
Ireland's only national television station). Through her
contacts, Anne was invited to be in the back up singing group as part of the RTE orchestra
for three years in a row at the Eurovision.
After a couple of years
learning her trade as a session musician, Anne was ready to hit
the road. She was offered a spot in Brendan Bowyer's Big Eight
band, but turned it down as she was not ready to leave Ireland
and her family for six months of the year. In late 1973, she was
asked to join the New Blues, the band which was formed from the
remnants of the Royal Blues a few years earlier. Already in the
band was the late Glen Curtin. Together Glen and Lola made a great pair
and rivaled the talent of Red Hurley and Kelly of the Nevada who
dominated the pop scene during that time. In fact, Glen would
leave the New Blues to replace Red in the Nevada in mid 1974.
In late 1974, Lola recorded the song
"I'm So Afraid" which was penned by John D"Ardis and arranged by
Bell Whelan. The recorded climbed the Irish Charts, reaching number 13
and staying on the charts for five weeks. The collaboration
won several awards as well. Anne was enjoying life on the
road and adds, "I really enjoyed everybody in the
band. They were a nice group of fellas primarily from
Said Anne recently, "In the
beginning, I had a good experience traveling on the road. I was quite disciplined and even
brought my own food. My older sister taught me yoga and
how to stay well by eating healthy food. She saved my
life! I would have died of a heart attack eating all
those mixed grills and ham sandwiches with endless cups
of strong tea." Eventually, though, life on the road got
"I became increasingly tired of the
road, so when I got the opportunity to join the Big 8
and Las Vegas was part of the deal, I was intrigued,"
Anne continued, "especially since I knew I would be in the same place for
six months." So in 1976, Anne left the New Blues for Las
Vegas and the Big 8. She replaced Kelly, who had been with the
band for 2 years. Although a blurb in Spotlight in
December, 1975 announced Helen Jordan had joined the band, a few
months later, it was Anne who was in the Big 8. However, Helen
would then replace Anne 2 years later. The band spent six months
of the year in the States, returning to Ireland for the summer
During the band's second
season in Las Vegas, Anne got married. Anne takes up the
story, "the marriage lasted 4
years, but I stayed in Las Vegas. I then put my own group together and worked on the
strip in the lounges for 15 years. I occasionally had the
pleasure of working in the showrooms opening for acts like The
Smother's Brothers, George Burns, Jerry Lewis and Don Rickles.
I must admit that my career in Las Vegas was very
successful yet it lacked the simplicity and freshness of my
experience in Ireland. I think I just missed my family and
the people I used to work with."
While Anne was working in a
production show at Harrah's Casino in 1988 she met her
current husband. "We got married in December 1989. He had four
children from his previous marriage and we went on to adopt
two little girls, said Anne. "Needless to say, the last 20 years have
been quite wonderful and extremely busy! The kids are all
great and my husband (Mike) and I travel a lot, play tennis
and enjoy life and each other."
Today Anne continues to
live in Las Vegas and has for over 30 years. Her husband
runs a company
that builds affordable housing for senior citizens and low
income families. Anne still sings occasionally for the senior
citizens. Anne continues, "I love it here in Las Vegas because I have a
family that is awesome. I also have an awesome family in
Ireland. I love it when I get to go visit or when they come
to me. Life is great."
In looking back of her
showband years Anne admits, "Being in the showbands in
Ireland was a great experience for me. It did really
prepare me for the Las Vegas stage. I was so lucky to
be involved with some of the best musicians in Ireland.
I learned that a life on the road is not easy unless you
take care of yourself. So I took that knowledge to Las
Vegas and it helped me tremendously."