Being given the opportunity to perform a solo on the London Palladium stage has been an incredible career highlight for me. Two years ago, I entered Celtic Woman's 'Voices of Angels' UK competition after having seen the competition advertised online. I submitted a live performance of the Irish folksong, Danny Boy, which is a song I have loved to sing and perform since my first album release aged 9, Little Ray of Light. I had also performed the song as part of my ABRSM Grade 8 Singing exam in 2013 as my unaccompanied folk song, so was thrilled to see that it was the required song to enter the competition having done so much previous work on the piece.
I recorded my entry in the stunning Corinthian Room at Cokethorpe School, Oxfordshire, which has the most beautiful acoustics and holds a lot of sentimental value for me, having been the venue for my first album launch in 2005. Here is a link to my YouTube entry that won me the solo performance at the London Palladium:
A few weeks passed before I received an e-mail with the result of my entry. I could not believe that Celtic Woman had selected my video as the winning submission to perform on their 'Voices of Angels' UK tour, and even more shocked to find out that I had been chosen for the performance at the London Palladium. I prepared a performance of a solo rendition of The Prayer, a song that had been previously performed by Celtic Woman and one that I have sung frequently as both a solo and duet. I chose this song due to the requirements for both a softer, light vocal performance in the first verses before the more operatic middle and ending sections, showcasing my vocal versatility and allowing me to perform to my strengths.
On the day of the performance, I spent the day rehearsing and becoming accustomed to the incredible performance venue. Sound-checking my song with Celtic Woman's musical director, Gavin Murphy, accompanying me on the piano was surreal; the entire London Palladium auditorium was empty and vast. The Celtic Woman team were so welcoming and conscious to make me a part of the ensemble for the day. I had never performed with in-ear monitors before, and so took some time to get used to hearing both my voice and the piano accompaniment relayed directly back into my ears.
The show began and so too did the anxious wait for my performance. I remember being stood in the wings watching the performance, and getting to look into the famous backstage mirror, where big names of the industry who have performed there in the past have all looked into before their stage entrance. The experience was very humbling and gave me a huge amount of motivation and confidence in my ability to pursue my performing dreams.
I was introduced to perform, and after a very welcoming applause, the auditorium was eerily silent. I have performed at similar sized venues in the past, but nothing compared to the sheer focus upon me and my accompanist in those five minutes. The blinding lights made it easy to totally lose myself in the song, and enjoy an incredible experience that I had been preparing for for months.
The experience was totally surreal and overwhelming, and one that I will always cherish. I felt very lucky to have such supportive family and friends who travelled to London especially to see me perform on the London Palladium stage for those five minutes. I will always be grateful to the Celtic Woman team for the opportunity and hope to perform on that incredible stage again in the future.