BY SEÁN P. FEENY
ONE of Donegal’s youngest and newest Country stars in the making will be headlining on the Glór Tire stage alongside her mentor Lisa McHugh this week.
On January 9, Gráinne Gavigan from the beautiful south west village of Ardara was introduced as one of this year’s contestants on the TG4 talent show.
In a bid to become Ireland’s next big thing in Country music, the 18-year-old was paired up with Lisa McHugh, who was a contestant on the show herself in 2009.
It was, in fact, Lisa McHugh who invited Gráinne to take part in the show. “I’ve known Lisa for years and we have become great friends.
Gráinne said: “I couldn’t ask for a better mentor, Lisa has been there, reaching the final herself, she’s young and very successful in her career as a Country singer.”
Since appearing on the first programme in this year’s series the daughter of Hugh and Eileen Gavigan has been flat out touring, performing and rounding up votes.
It has all been leading up to this Wednesday night, March 6, when Gráinne’s solo programme with Lisa will be broadcast on TG4.
Since the show began in January, each of the nine contestant has been given their own programme alongside their mentor for a chance to show off their talent in-depth.
Voting lines have also been open for each contestant since the Glór Tire first aired this year and voting continues 24/7 until March 27, the last programme, when they will be tallied and the first two contestants are eliminated from the show.
“It’s been a lot busier than I thought it would be, I’ve been out pretty much every weekend, performing mostly with Lisa on her tour dates,” said Gráinne.
The young singer, who has been a well-known face on the Irish Country scene for some years, said she has also been lucky to be able to sing for some other stars.
“I did several dates with Robert Mizzell, stepping in for Lisa while she was sick, during his recent tour around the country, singing in Omagh, Armagh, Newry and other theatres.
“I’ve also had the opportunity of singing for Patrick Feeney in Omagh, Johnny Brady in Bundoran and with Nathan Carter just last week at the Clanree in Letterkenny.”
Gráinne said the constant performing and travelling over the past two months have given her a good insight into the hard work that touring Country singer have to put it, but it certainly hasn’t put her off – she’s got the bug.
“People don’t see the long days that the singers have to put in from rehearsals during the day, soundchecks, concerts and meet and greet’s after the show. But like Lisa said to me if you catch the bug, you don’t think of it as work and love every minute of it.”
Gráinne said that she has received tremendous support from everyone in her hometown of Ardara, from her old schools Gortnacart National School, Ardara and St Columba’s Comprehensive School, Glenties, the local GAA club and the whole community.
She said that everyone at her college, Letterkenny Institute Of Technology, where she is studying health and social care, has also been very supportive for the past two months.
“The student union’s entertainment officer sent an email around when I was first featured on the programme and a lot of people mentioned it to me,” she laughed.
“A lot of people didn’t even realise I sang, never mind Country music. But everybody has been really supportive and they will be publicising this week’s programme, too.
“I’ve also been very fortunate that the head of my department has also been very supportive and said they would understand if I need a bit of time of in between.”
With the show already pre-recorded, Gráinne is looking forward to gathering at her home on the Glenties Road, outside Ardara, with friends and family to see what comments she receives from the judges.
“I haven’t actually heard what comments they made yet, so I am really looking forward to it and see how the programme was put together.”
Gráinne will be depending on the public for their support and will be very grateful for all your votes. The voting lines are open 24/7 and you can vote as often as you like until the line closes on March 27.
To vote from the Republic of Ireland, you can call 1513 415 108 or text ‘GLOR8’ to 53307. For those voting from Northern Ireland, you can call 0901 6566 108 or text ‘GLOR8’ to 81108.
Tune into Glór Tíre this Wednesday night, March 6, at 10.30pm on TG4
The book looks at the experiences and achievement levels of Irish-born football migrants to Britain and further afield.