Mary Byrne (born 3 November 1959) is an Irish singer-songwriter from Ballyfermot, Dublin. She rose to fame in 2010 after becoming a finalist on the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010. Following her elimination in the live semi-final, she signed a record deal with Sony Music Ireland. Byrne and her fellow The X Factor finalists gained a number-one single on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart after releasing "Heroes" a cover of David Bowie, in aid for Help for Heroes. Her debut single, "I Just Call You Mine" was released on 4 March 2011. Mine & Yours, Byrne's debut album was released 28 March 2011 in the UK. The album was produced by hit-maker Nigel Wright. In June 2011, Byrne was asked to perform at a special gala performance in Dublin to mark Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Republic of Ireland. She was also Neil Diamond's special guest at the Aviva Stadium, where she performed in front of 55,000 people. August 2011 saw Byrne appear in GREASE: The Musical at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin. She began work on an autobiography, This Is My Life, and was released on 21 October 2011 in the UK and Ireland. Mary decided to leave Sony Music as she accepted a new record deal offer with Decca Music and Universal Music, who are confident they can 'get her music career up and off the ground'. She has produced her second album, called ...with Love

Early and personal life

Byrne currently lives in Ballyfermot, Dublin with her 23-year-old daughter Debbie, as she is a single mother. She suffers from arthritis in her knees which she says can sometimes stop her from performing. Before The X Factor, she worked for supermarket chain Tesco, leading to her referral as "Tesco Mary". She quit singing at 28 because of low self-esteem after a failed relationship. However, she later returned to perform pub gigs in 2005 to give her musical career a try where she also performed with her brother, Tommy, under the name The Tommy Lee Experience. In 2008 she won the Irish television singing contest Nollaig No. 1 using the name Mary Lee and released the single "Siúil Leat".

Music career

2010: The X Factor:

Byrne entered reality television show The X Factor in 2010. In her audition, she said that she wanted to be a singer all her life but had very low self esteem holding her back but 'got the confidence to go out and do it in the last 5 or 6 years'. She impressed the judges with her performance of "I (Who Have Nothing)" and was put through to the next round. At the judges' houses she performed "Fix You", and was put through to the live finals, even though she forgot a few words to the song. Her employer, Tesco Ireland, started a campaign to persuade all staff to support her. On the first live show, Byrne gained the most public votes by singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World". The audience gave Byrne a standing ovation after the performance and the longest round-of-applause of the series. Mary was in the 'Final Showdown' twice. The first time she was in the Bottom 3 with fellow contestants Wagner, and Katie Waissel. As Waissel received the fewest votes she was automatically eliminated leaving Mary to battle against Wagner in the Final Showdown. The following week she was in the bottom two with Cher Lloyd. This was when Mary was eliminated from the show by the judges. This later became controversial, as the show stated that the contestant with the fewer public votes would be eliminated, but it turned out that Byrne in fact received more votes than Cher. Mary performed a total of 15 different songs, on 13 occasions in front of the judges:

Mary Byrne's performances on the eighth series of The X Factor UK

When Performed




I Who Have Nothing

Through to Bootcamp

Judges Houses

Fix You

Through to live shows

Week 1

It's a Man's Man's Man's World


Week 2

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me


Week 3

I Who Have Nothing


Week 4

Could It Be Magic


Week 5

There You'll Be


Week 6

Can You Feel the Love Tonight


Week 7



Week 8

All I Want Is You & Brass in Pocket

Bottom three

Final Showdown (Week 8)

This Is My Life

Saved by judges' vote

Week 9

Never Can Say Goodbye & The Way We Were

Bottom two

Final Showdown (Semi-final)

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

Eliminated by judges' vote

Mine & Yours:

After the elimination from The X Factor, Byrne signed a record deal with Sony Music Ireland and begun work on her debut album. The album, Mine & Yours, was released in the UK on 28 March 2011, and 25 March in Ireland. Byrne released her debut single, a cover of Martina McBride's "I Just Call You Mine", due to phenomenal demand when the track was debuted from her album Mine & Yours on Irish radio. The fan reaction was so positive that Sony Music Ireland were 'inundated' with requests to make the song available to the public and 'eager fans' prior to the album's release. After little to none promotion, the song peaked at number 12 on the Irish Singles Chart. Byrne revealed her album would be sold on QVC like Susan Boyle did to help sell a few more copies. In an interview with Digital Spy Byrne stated;


Recording this album was a dream come true. I'm so grateful for all of the support I received both during and after the show. Nothing I'm experiencing now would have been possible without the wonderful people who picked up their phone each weekend and voted for me! I hope you enjoy listening to the album as much as I enjoyed making it.


--Mary Bryne in an interview with Digital Spy

The album was produced by hit-maker, Nigel Wright and contains tracks which Mary performed on The X Factor. However, the songs on the album are not her performances from the show. Byrne was on the 2011 The X Factor Live Tour, and Sony Music began planning Byrne's first solo concert tour before she decided to move onto Universal music.Mine & Yours debuted at number-one on the Irish Album Charts on 31 March 2011.

...with Love:

On 13 September 2011, it was announced that Mary Byrne had asked to end her record deal with Sony, and asked to switch to Universal. It was later announced that she had started working on a second album, produced by Phil Coulter, to be released in Ireland by Universal Music Ireland, and in the UK by Decca UK. On 2 November, Mary Byrne stated on her Facebook page that her new album, which is called ...with Love, was to be released in Ireland on 25 November. Her management team later announced that the album would be released the following year in March for the UK. She appeared on The Late Late Show the day of Ireland release, and talked to Ryan Tubridy after performing a song on the album called 'Thank God That This Was My Life' written for her by Phil Coulter. The track listing for ...with Love is as follows;

"Never, Never, Never",


"The Air That I Breathe",

"I Don't Know How to Love Him",

"You Don't Know Me",

"For The Good Times",

"Who's Sorry Now?",

"If You Go Away",

"Scorn Not His Simplicity",

"You Needed Me",

"As Long As He Needs Me",

"Thank God That This Was My Life",

Mary is due to have a concert featuring her latest songs from the album with Phil Coulter in the Olympia Theatre on 8 May 2012. The public demand on ticket sales was so overwhelming, 5 extra nights have been added, evidently resulting in a total of a 6 night residency leading up to 13 May.