Belfast Telegraph

Voice star Georgina Richmond: Every song I sing from now on is in memory of Uncle Paddy

By Angela Rainey

A Belfast singer who has been wowing judges on The Voice Of Ireland says she will dedicate all future television performances to her uncle who was killed in a traffic accident in the US.

Talented singer Georgina Richmond (30), from west Belfast, has been keeping audiences on the edge of their seats with her powerhouse vocals week after week on the RTE show.

But the mother-of-one has been participating in the singing competition in the wake of a family tragedy.

Her uncle Paddy McDonnell (52), a renowned stained glass window craftsman originally from west Belfast, was knocked down in North Carolina, leaving the whole family devastated.

Only the night before the accident Ms Richmond had been exchanging texts with father-of-three Paddy, who said he was over the Moon for his niece.

"We had been Face-timing and he was dancing about and singing," Georgina told the Belfast Telegraph.

"He was so funny and always great craic, and he said that he was really proud of me, which was nice.

"If he had still lived in Belfast he'd definitely have been down to see me perform on The Voice.

"So, from now on, every song I sing on the show is for him."

Despite news of the tragedy reaching the family here at 7am on February 23, Georgina was due to attend auditions in Dublin and had to wipe her tears and go.

Georgina, who will be blasting out The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter on this week's show, has been singing since she could talk.

If she is successful in winning The Voice Of Ireland, she will bag herself a £100,000 record deal.

She followed in the footsteps of dad George, who used to sing in band The Avalon in the 1980s.

Often she would have joined him on stage, before going on to carve her own career performing in bars, clubs and hotels throughout the province from the age of 12.

Her 1993 school report prophetically said she was "a natural born performer".

Influenced by Greta Smith, Beyonce and a host of others, the musical genes have also extended to her seven-year-old daughter Sophie, who loves to sing a Patsy Cline tune, who's another of her mother's favourite singers.

Sophie is said to be delighted seeing her mum on television on a weekly basis, and is also very proud.

"My uncle Paddy would have been so proud," added Georgina.

"He loved a song he could dance to, especially Seventies music, and he would get on the floor and shout 'Wow!' Everybody remembers that about him.

"He was the best. The whole family is still very upset, especially my mum Geraldine - his sister - who is heartbroken.

"But he always supported me in my singing.

"Just before he died we had been messaging and he told me that had tuned in from America into a local radio station here to hear me being interviewed.

"And he was joking about not forgetting him if I made it big.

"It's amazing to think that six months ago I was sitting watching TV shows like The Voice and The X-Factor and thinking how I'd love to enter something like that.

"I'm glad I did.

"I'd advise anyone thinking of doing the same to follow their dreams and show up for the audition.

"You never know how far you will go until you try it."

Although recording for the 'battle' rounds has been done, there's more to come for fans of Georgina.

For the time being, the budding star says she's enjoying being part of the show and is thankful that people across Northern Ireland are backing her - so much so, she is the bookies favourite.

"I'm so grateful for everyone here getting behind me and for all the support, people here have been amazing. I just hope to get to the final and win... I better do, because loads of people have put a bet on me!"

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