Lisa McHugh helping to put the cool back into country music
Singer Lisa McHugh has said she is blazing a trail for aspiring female stars as the country music scene becomes "more cool".
The Glasgow-born songstress, who lives in Enniskillen, spoke ahead of her sell-out gig at the Waterfront studio on March 23.
At just 28, Lisa is already a five-time Female Vocalist of the Year, and she hopes her success will help to pave the way for the female artists of the future.
"The past six or seven years have been the best of my life; it has been incredibly hard work and I've never once taken it for granted," she told the Belfast Telegraph.
"I have certainly had my fair share of knocks and people trying to say it's not going to work and that it's too difficult for a female.
"But I find that it makes me more determined to try and prove them wrong."
Currently on tour with her latest album '#Country', Lisa said she hopes she has "opened doors" for budding female country singers.
She also believes there has been a resurgence in the popularity of country music, with youngsters no longer viewing it as "uncool."
"There is a lot more respect and a spotlight on country music from the mainstream media now, it is more cool," she continued.
"I think there are a lot of reasons it has taken off: Downtown Country is now playing 24 hours a day, we have the Country to Country music festival every year, there are TV shows like Nashville, and a lot more American country acts are coming to Belfast," she said. "It has all combined into a second blossoming for country music here."
Describing her previous relationship with fellow country music star Nathan Carter as "old news," Lisa said that the pair remain friends.
"I still have a very good relationship with Nathan, we're still great friends and in the same group of friends and we're in the same business so we know exactly what each other is going through," she revealed.
Whereas traditional country singers often sing of relationship woes, Lisa said she "doesn't have time for a man just now."
"I like to think that I don't need a man in my life, I'm very independent and run my own business and I class myself as someone who would be strong," she said.
"I think maybe we are seeing the evolution of women in country music."
Ambitious Lisa now has even bigger dreams for the future.
"My ultimate dream is to get the opportunity to do a world arena or stadium tour," she revealed.
"That goal keeps me going and striving towards it," the singer added.