Dungiven singer Cara Dillon: 'Performing on home soil is always amazing'
Dungiven folk singer Cara Dillon will be performing this weekend as part of this year's Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast.
Along with her band, Cara will be taking to the stage at the Festival Marquee at Custom House Square in the city on Saturday, April 28.
And despite currently traveling the world and performing her award-winning music to sold out crowds, Cara says she's always delighted to make the trip home to a Northern Ireland audience.
Are you happy to be back performing in Northern Ireland?
Performing back at home for me is always amazing. Everytime we come home there's an added injection of excitement with all of us in the band. We all feed off the audience and there's always such a great atmosphere.
I'm really looking forward to getting on stage in Belfast
What would you say the audience can expect from your concert?
I think my shows take you on a bit of a journey because we do quite a lot of heart wrenching songs, songs about unrequited love, but we also put in a few lively tunes.
I work with amazing musicians and there's never a dull moment throughout the show. I'm really looking forward to getting on stage.
Do you enjoy performing as part of festivals like CQAF?
We've done quite a few festivals in Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland and they always have a really interesting crowd. Belfast is such an amazing and flourishing city now with lots of cool, trendy people.
We tend to find out that the audience is very varied at festivals - which is always a good thing.
What have been the highlights of your music career so far?
Definitely visiting and performing in China. We started going to China four years ago after we were asked to do a small tour there and I found out I have a fanbase in the country.
To sell out shows there has been great. I've met students who have been taught my songs as part of their curriculum for learning English at university.
It's amazing to think that at the other side of the world, people know and sing along with my songs.
Any other stand out moments for you?
I worked on a couple of Disney tracks, so thats been another highlight. I never thought growing up in Dungiven and being a folk singer that I would get the chance to record at Abbey Road in London.
And of course the benefits of that was getting trips to Disneyland to see the shows I had been singing in.
Also, Ed Sheeran writing a tweet about my last album, that was pretty exciting too.
We nearly crashed our car when he tweeted saying that he always had the album on his playlist.
Are you a fan of Ed Sheeran's music?
I'm in awe at how he has taken over the world, he's so inspirational that he stands up on stage with just a guitar - he can turn his hand to any style or genre of music.
I know the guys in the band Beoga who play on his hit Galway Girl - and it just shows you that that syle of music can travel the world and is accepted. Ed Sheeran has made it cool.
Who would you say are you musical influences?
Growing up I loved listening to Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and Joanie Mitchell. And I suppose quite a lot of 1970s retro music.
I grew up listening to trad music as well - people like Dolores Keane, I'm a massive fan of her vocals.
And now I've got three children, I get in the car and I listen to people like Little Mix and One Direction. If you're open minded, you can be influenced by the most unexpected people.
What have you got coming up in the coming months?
We are about to record a new album and we have quite a few gigs coming up, we are going to be busy doing the odd festival here, there and everywhere.
Come September we have a few festivals in America and we are hoping to squeeze in another trip to China in the autumn.
We also have a massive tour coming up for Christmas - so it's pretty full on and it's brilliant because this is what I love doing.
Live music is where it is at, it's more important than stepping into a studio. Getting feedback from a crowd is the most important thing.
I am so blessed and I'm so lucky and I think music takes you on such an amazing journey in life and it's been incredible so far.
- Cara Dillon will be performing at the CQAF Marquee in Custom House Square, Belfast on Saturday, April 29 at 8pm.