Belfast Telegraph

Delight for talented Derry songwriter Michelle as she joins forces with legendary music producer

Londonderry singer-songwriter Michelle Walsh
Londonderry singer-songwriter Michelle Walsh
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A Londonderry singer-songwriter looks destined for great things in 2020 after being signed by a legendary music producer who has worked with the likes of David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Duran Duran.

A career in music was always a possibility for singer-songwriter Michelle Walsh, who wrote her first song when she was aged 10.

Her talent revealed itself early on when she sang and played the lead in school productions.

Years later, she paid the bills as a hard-working wedding singer, and threatened to enter the charts with her first band, Mosquito, while living in France in her 20s.

She proceeded to record an EP in Paris but despite her best efforts, illness forced her to quit the band.

Michelle (42) was forced to return home to Derry on a singing sabbatical that would last several years.

In 2013, with the city buzzing as the inaugural UK City of Culture, she was finally inspired to get back in the game.

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Michelle enrolled in a Music Performance and Technology course at the Nerve Centre in the city and began to write new material.

She has since penned a formidable collection of songs, expertly put together, and launched her debut single 'Fire Away' in July this year.

Her next video and single 'I Hate How Much I Love You' is due to be released soon followed by tours throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom and America.

Londonderry singer-songwriter Michelle Walsh
Londonderry singer-songwriter Michelle Walsh

Growing up, Michelle listened to bands including Blondie, Gladys Knight, The Beatles, Prince, Queen and Nirvana.

"When I'm not singing my own songs I like to perform soulful songs like 'Midnight Train To Georgia' by Gladys Knight," Michelle said.

"I certainly have a soft spot for soul music and I've massive respect for singers and bands from that era.

"I sometimes find it hard to tune into what's being played in the charts to be honest as I'd rather listen to soul classics, and that goes for rock music too."

Michelle has been tipped as "the next singer-songwriter to be a force in the music industry" after being signed by AMG/Sony and taken on by Mark S Berry, a music producer with an impressive back-catalogue.

Berry cut his teeth in the music business as an assistant to George Martin, the man responsible for producing arguably the most influential band in the history of rock 'n' roll, The Beatles.

Michelle said she is humbled by the chance to work with Berry.

"This is an amazin g opportunity and means the world to me," she added.

"It's so hard to crack this business as there are so many talented and dedicated musicians out there, so I'm truly grateful."

Michelle has recently returned from LA after being selected as a brand ambassador for the world-renowned Judy Stakee Songwriting Retreats for 2020.

She is the only songwriter chosen from UK/Ireland.

Judy is best known for signing and developing artists such as Sheryl Crow and Katy Perry.

Michelle said: "It really is an honour to be working for Judy, and I'm so proud to call her my mentor.

"I'm currently looking for talented songwriters to put forward for her life-changing songwriting retreats and she will be helping me, by promoting my new single."

Michelle said her journey so far has been a roller coaster ride.

"It took years of hard work, dedication and perseverance to get where I am today. I'm just so glad that I didn't give up.

"I struggled on and continued to write songs in the hope that one day someone would hear my work and believe in it.

"Now my dream has come true but I still have both feet firmly on the ground.

"I do realise that this is just the beginning and there's still a lot of hard work to be done."

Michelle said she is also hugely grateful for the support of the people in her home city.

"I'm super-proud to hail from a city like Derry with so much talent," she added.

"I hope my story gives upcoming artists, bands and songwriters inspiration to push on, follow their dream and never give up."

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