Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Fame's a mixed factor for Andrea

The Voice's Andrea Begley: I'm often told I've won the X Factor.

The Voice winner Andrea Begley said people often congratulate her on "winning The X Factor".

The 26-year-old songbird from Pomeroy, County Tyrone, said she always took the error in "good spirit" as each show "kind of merges into the other".

At the first big London gig of her career, partially-sighted Begley said fans on social networks regularly wrote to tell her she was like an "angle" when they meant "angel".

She told the audience at the Union Chapel - appropriately in Angel - that she always hopes they mean "a cute angle" as opposed to an obtuse angle.

The star, who described the gig as "a highlight" so far, said: "I still keep pinching myself."

Between songs from her album The Message, which went into the official chart at number seven, Begley entertained the packed venue with witty anecdotes.

In a faux English accent, the Irishwoman said she regularly hears: "I just want to congratulate you on winning The X Factor."

"So I've done very well this year - I've won two shows," she added.

After the gig, which ended with a standing ovation, Begley said: "I think for people, the one show kind of merges into the other. "I take it in good spirit."

The singer, who was guided over to the microphone on stage due to her partial vision, said she has had some strange offers.

"I did have a lady come up to me one day and offer to cure me. I'm still waiting for that," she laughed.

Begley gave a mention to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and said it is great that she can be "a bit of an ambassador for visually impaired people".

She said she "never set out for a second to be inspirational", but said that if she can inspire other people then that is "really humbling" and a "great feeling".

A former civil servant, Begley said that while she loves her new life as a professional singer, she fondly remembers her time behind a desk.

"I miss being in an office - I guess having that camaraderie," she said.

Begley said she enjoyed the challenges her job as a civil servant presented her with, but says her new career brings with it different challenges.

She said she had made "the most drastic career change you can probably make".

The star, who writes her own songs, said working on her own material is what she wants to focus on long term.

Begley's performance on the Union Chapel's altar was watched by her proud parents who sat in the pews.

Her father Kieran said they were "very proud", and described her success on The Voice and since as "unbelievable".

Speaking about the support from home, he said: "The whole village and the whole of Ireland was proud of her."

Begley performed in the Ulster Hall in Belfast on Sunday night.

At the Union Chapel she was supported by Josh Flowers and The Wild.

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