John Lillis grew up in the bohemium city of Galway in the west of Ireland. Guided by his father, an actor and his mother, a concert pianist and opera singer. John took to stage at the age of just six as boy soprano. Simultaneously he showed an interest in learning cello, piano and classical guitar. Throughout his adolescent life he gained Diploma certificates in musical theory and piano from the London College of music.
At the age of nineteen John decided to move to Manchester; England. Here he speant five years studying a bachelors degree while touring around the UK with his self directed 7 piece band Lillis. They featured on BBC Radio 3 while playing respected venues such as Band on the Wall and Academy 3. Since then he has consistenly lived and travelled to over 35 countries with experience in 5 different languages. John has most recently decided to make a move to settle back in Ireland to focus on arranging and recording.
John has performed on the same bill with artists like Van Morrison, The Waterboys, The Cranberries, Christy Moore, Bob Dylan, Shane Mc Gowan (The Pogues), Sharon Shannon and Finbar Fury. He has featured in the UK at London Feis Festival in Finsbury Pk. Most recently while in Australia, he held a residency at the iconic Espy Hotel in Melbourne while touring the country featuring at folk festivals such as the National Folk Festival and the Fleurieu Folk Festival. John was very active on the music scene here having toured and recorded with up and coming Australian artists Pierce Brothers and Jamie Mac Dowell.
Before the end of his time in Australia, John funded and directed a large scale project recording two albums with the backline of Australian rock legends Wolfmother. This album was mixed and co-produced by Michael Stavrou former studio engineer/producer at Air Studios for Paul Mc Cartney, Cat Stevens and Elton John.
John most recently had an opportunity to showcase his unique arrangements for Irish folk songs in the Princess theatre. His teacher and mentor Carl Hession has arranged for Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. This inspired him to add his unique color to the energetic stories of Irish music.