Sound of Belfast: Singer Kate Nicholson thrilled to be performing in NI venue where she once collected glasses

A Portstewart GP and mother of two is set to perform in a venue where she once collected glasses.

Singer Kate Nicholson is heading back to the Empire Music Hall

For Kate Nicholson tomorrow night’s gig will be made even more surreal when she performs alongside the lead singer from one of the bands who played in the Empire when she was carrying out her glass collecting duties.

The 35-year-old, who grew up in Draperstown, has been writing songs since she was 16, but said that being a mum gave her the added push to create and share her music, including an album recorded during lockdown.

During the pandemic, with the help of Oh Yeah’s Mothers in Music programme Kate was able to meet women who understood the challenge of making music from a mother’s perspective.

She said: “I have so much respect for these women who have overcome adversity to continue to do the things they love.

“We had songwriting classes with some of the best in the business such as Katie Melua, and formed a bit of a support network to encourage and collaborate with each other.

“I think it came at a good time for us when a lot of things were put on ice due to the pandemic.”

Last week Kate took part in the Mothers In Music open mic night in the Oh Yeah Centre.

Tomorrow she’ll be taking to the stage for a Sound Of Belfast showcase in the Empire Music Hall presented by BBC Radio Ulster’s Ralph McLean.

Kate will be part of an ‘in the round’ night of music along with Siobhan Brown, Bernadette Morris and Cormac Neeson, where performers will take turns to entertain the crowd from different parts of the venue rather than the traditional concert format where acts play for a set time on stage.

Kate recalled: “When I was 18 or so I collected glasses at the Empire and had the privilege of seeing ‘The Answer’ live. Needless to say I was impressed, so to be sharing the stage with Cormac (lead singer of The Answer) is pretty special.

“I’m also excited to play alongside Siobhan and Bernadette who are first class. The night is hosted by Ralph McLean whose show I’ve been listening to for years.”

Kate’s new single ‘Wrong Side of the Town’ features Cormac Neeson on vocals and the pair will play it to a live audience for the first time tomorrow night.

The Sound of Belfast music festival runs until next Thursday and includes the NI Music Prize at the Ulster Hall on Wednesday.

The timing of the festival couldn’t be better with Belfast being announced this week as a UNESCO City of Music. It is the third UK city to be given the accolade, previously awarded to Glasgow in 2008 and Liverpool in 2015.

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