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Friday People: Hannah McPhillimy

We ask personalities about the special relationships in their lives

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter released her debut six-track album Seeing Things last year, and will be appearing at the Belfast Barge tonight, as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. She is currently single and lives in Belfast.

My best friends

I've known Lizzie Fleming for a long time – our parents forced us together when I was about seven and we actually ended up at school together in Dalriada. Lizzie is very caring and very creative and a good listener.

She's been studying medicine in Aberdeen for the last few years, but she'll be coming home to work in September. We still hang out whenever we can.

My best friend from university is Katie Smith. We met at Queen's because we went to an ultimate frisbee beginners course. We were the only two girls in the group and the boys didn't really let us join in. Katie dropped out after a while, but we kept going for coffee and cake anyway.

Katie is now a physics teacher in Liverpool, but we talk about once a week or so. It helps that she gets long holidays as a teacher.

My mum and dad, Raichard and Shirley

My dad is a solicitor and a part-time amateur saxophonist. My mum was a social worker and now runs a contact centre where people go to spend time with their children.

I have an older sister, Maeve, who lives in Bristol and also works as a solicitor. She's married and expecting her first child. I also have a brother called Miles who is also married, and is a teacher in Southampton.

I accepted a place at Queen's University to study International Relations and took a gap year to Cambodia before I went. I had a bad time while I was there and when I came home, I was diagnosed with severe depression and took a year out.

When it came time for me to re-apply for university, it was then about studying something I could actually get through, and music was something I had always loved. After the whole experience I think mum and dad realised I should do something that I enjoyed and would help me. Dad has been even more supportive since he started playing the saxophone himself. They were amazing and really helped me though the experience.

Who I got to for advice

I'm a bit of an external processor so my housemates are my advice people, just because they're there. There's three of them – Eleanor Kyle, Nicola Brown and Catherine Spence. I know one from church and two others through a mutual friend.

My mentor

Jan Carson is the outreach and heritage officer at the Ulster Hall, but she's also a novelist.

She's in a different artistic discipline from me but she's really helpful to talk to about the arts. I really like her whole outlook about making the best start you can and making things as inclusive as possible.

My secret crush is... Ewan McGregor

I first spotted him as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars and then I saw him singing in Moulin Rouge and loved it.

My fantasy dinner party

I love the way Amy Winehouse sings and I saw a programme about her before the drugs kicked in. She seemed really genuine about her music and I liked her approach.

Next, I'd ask Jay Z; he's had an interesting life and has lots of great contacts. To break the ice I'd ask Graham Norton, as he would have no trouble if I got star-struck.

Then I'd ask the suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst. I would love to ask her what she thinks of women now and if things have changed for better or worse.

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