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My people: Singer Daniel Duke's special relationships

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 19/06/2015

Finely tuned: Daniel Duke is enjoying a successful music career
Finely tuned: Daniel Duke is enjoying a successful music career

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter is best known for his appearance on BBC talent show The Voice. Originally from Banbridge, he now lives in Edinburgh with his girlfriend, Hannah McCafferty. He will be performing live at BuskFest 2015 in Banbridge this weekend.

My girlfriend, Hannah

We went to school together at Banbridge Academy, so we've known each other for about 15 years, but have only been going out for the last five. I moved over to Edinburgh with her a couple of years ago, where she works as a teacher.

It's nice that Hannah has a normal life, but at the same time when I'm touring and gigging we don't get to see each other very much. It is lovely to have someone to come home and talk to about everyday things, though.

My best friend

Ross McLaughlin has been my best friend for a long time and we've been playing music since we met at school.

We started a band which actually won the Best Band prize at BuskFest in 2008 under the name The Reels. I found my musical style at Ross's side - he still lives in Northern Ireland and plays drums for me when I gig at home.

We still like busking together, it's how we have spent summers and Christmasses because it's so much fun.

There's also Howard Rose, who I met on The Voice - he was also on Team Tom.

We connected as we were both songwriters and doing something a little different. We've stayed in touch ever since and have booked a tour over the summer. We'll be playing in Belfast and Warrenpoint.

My parents, Andy and Sue

My dad is the managing director at Greers of Antrim Volvo, and my mum works with him now, but for most of my life she looked after us.

I also have twin brother, James, an older brother called Paddy and an older sister, Rachel. I'm a graphic designer and still do freelance work - it helps pay the bills and I can do it from my laptop, wherever I am in the world. I can always fall back on that if I need to, but it was actually my dad who took me aside after university and said "If you don't at some point take a year out and pursue music as a career option, I'll be disappointed in you".

There has always been music in our family. Dad plays, as did his father, and I got my first guitar when I was 11. My parents even bought a drum kit for us when were teenagers.

Person I go to for advice

In the first instance, it would be Hannah as she's the person I see the most often and trust.

Then it would be my brother James, as he is also a musician. He gets where I'm coming from in terms of music and promotion and, of course, no-one would know you better that your twin/best friend.

My celebrity crush

I don't go in for celebrity crushes much, but if I had to choose someone it would be Taylor Swift. I sang one of her songs on The Voice.

Fantasy dinner party

Bob Dylan, as he's one of the greatest songwriters of our time and I'm sure he'd have a few interesting tales

Then I'd ask Sandi Toksvig. She's such an interesting woman and I'm a huge fan of BBC Four's News Quiz.

Next would be one of my favourite writers, Bill Bryson. He'd have so many adventures to talk about.

Finally, my personal hero, John Lennon. I grew up listening to The Beatles and they really affected my writing style. It would be incredible to speak to him about his experiences.

  • For dates, times and information about BuskFest 2015, visit

Belfast Telegraph

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