Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Voice songbird Andrea Begley swoops to conquer big Belfast audience

Andrea Begley performing at the Ulster Hall in Belfast

It's been a whirlwind six months for Andrea Begley, the visually impaired songbird from Co Tyrone, who won the hearts and votes of the public to win this year's The Voice.

The 26-year-old received a rapturous reception at her big Belfast gig, which followed the launch of her debut album The Message last month.

The evening kicked off with Michael Purcell And The Balmoral Big Band on numbers such as Cheek To Cheek and All Of Me.

Just after 9pm Pomeroy's finest was escorted on to the stage wearing a beautiful gold, green and purple floral dress finished off with the most fabulous sparkly high heels.

Andrea was in fine voice, starting off with Falling Slowly and a cover of Semisonic hit Secret Mile from her No.7 charting debut album of mainly acoustic covers.

She thanked everyone at the venue, which was around three-quarters full, for their support throughout The Voice and now as she embarks on an exciting chapter in her career.

Next up was Ho Hey by The Lumineers, which had everyone clapping along.

Andrea is very likeable and has a great sense of humour, appealing for "no crowd surfing" and joking "this is the part were I fly into the audience on strings".

Her performance on Latch was very smooth and soulful and then it was on to songs she has penned, including Just A Task and Autumn.

A stripped down version of A-Ha track Take On Me, complete with a gorgeous violin accompaniment, was a highlight, as was her performance of Songbird, which she dedicated to her father, who is fast approaching a "big birthday".

Andrea, a niece of country star Philomena Begley, has a background in Irish traditional music and spoke of being inspired by Cara Dillon and Mary Black among others. After she sang The Message, the title track of the album she had worked on with Script frontman and Voice mentor Danny O'Donoghue, the Balmoral Big Band was brought back to help on That Old Devil Called Love Again.

Towards the end of the 75-minute set things turned uptempo with Andrea shocked to find a "fast set" in her concert line up.

Breakfast At Tiffany's and Lightning Bolt got everyone clapping and cheering.

Andrea gave a big shout out to her Royal National Institute of Blind (RNIB) friends in the audience and shared how the charity had helped her learn more about herself.

Covers of Love Will Tear Us Apart, My Immortal and Angel ended a polished and entertaining concert, with a standing ovation for the star at the centre of it.

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