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For Hannigan, a Mercury nomination represents more than a career boost -- it's a vindication after two years of turmoil and uncertainty.In March 2007, as she and Rice were preparing to perform in Munich, he delivered a bombshell: he wanted her to leave the band.
The Irish supergroup, who are following in the footsteps of U2, invited Lisa to play with them on their recent UK tour and Gary and Lisa grew very close.
A source close to the band said: "Gary is smitten with Lisa. They've known each other for ages but things only became serious recently.
Anglo-Asian artist Talvin Singh was dropped shortly after his 1999 victory; obscurity has similarly risen up to swallow winners Ms Dynamite (2002), Roni Size (1997) and M People, a disposable soul outfit who controversially got the nod at the height of Britpop in 1994, ahead of Blur's Parklife. It's also hard to get past the fact that Irish nominees tend to be unrepresentative of the overall state of music in the country.
Across the water, Hannigan is already being dismissed as this year's token folk nominee (one UK writer described her as a "truly obscure" nod towards the "moribund sensitive singer-songwriter genre").
Byline: By STEPHEN MAGUIRE & SEAMUS ROSS SNOW Patrol singer Gary Lightbody has had his heart melted by fellow singer Lisa Hannigan.
The millionaire pop star admitted recently that despite his sexy image, he finds it hard to meet girls.
In a subsequent statement, Rice announced their relationship "had run its creative course". Looking back with some healthy hindsight, I can say it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
"Straight away, though, I threw myself into my own work. It forced me to move on, to develop as an artist." Before she cracks open another bottle of champagne, Hannigan might reflect on the fact that not every Mercury nominee goes onto greater things.
Label-less and increasingly seen as an artist whose moment has passed, it's questionable how much of a commercial future she has.
Then there is the infamous 'curse' of the Mercury, which has struck down a series of winners in their prime. Even Klaxons seem to have come down with a case of the Mercury blues -- their new album was apparently rejected by their label on the grounds that it was far too bizarre.
But now Gary, 30, is blissfully in love with 26-year-old Lisa who he has known for years.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating