Supremely talented Derry teen Niamh McCay will take to the stage for her first full gig this weekend as part of Other Voices’ Music Trail.
Despite being just 14-years-old, she is among the 60 lucky musicians chosen from over 200 applicants to create the Musical Trail bringing the city centre to life this weekend.
The Thornhill College student will play Cafe Nervosa on Magazine Street at 4pm this Saturday afternoon - the gig is free and all are welcome to come along and hear Niamh for themselves.
Despite her young age, Niamh, from Ardanlee in Culmore, is already proficient in many instruments and is looking forward to showcasing her music.
“I’d heard about the festival before and then saw that they were looking for performers, so I thought we might as well try,” Niamh told the ‘Journal’.
“There were 200 people applied apparently, and then I think there were 60 people chosen and I was one of them, so I have to play a 20-30 minute set on Saturday. I’ll be playing guitar and piano and I’ll probably play a selection of both originals and covers on the day.”
Niamh is self-taught with most of her chosen instruments and cites a life-long love of singing as the start of her passions.
“I’ve sung ever since I could talk,” she laughs. “I started lessons at around three and a half-years-old and piano around eight years-old. Then I started playing pop-songs instead of just classical stuff on piano. I only picked up guitar a few years ago and taught myself that too. I did go to guitar lessons for about a week, but I didn’t like it much!”
“I got myself a ukulele last year and then a banjo this year too, so it’s all a work in progress but I’m getting there!”
Niamh is only trained in piano and singing, at the MacCafferty School of Music, and the rest she has picked up along the way.
“I also do drama as well, and I’m doing Grade 8 Musical Theatre and Grade 7 Classical. I also got a High Achievers Award from the Royal Irish Academy and performed at the awards ceremony in Sligo too.”
As if that isn’t enough, Niamh also heads the Year 11 Folk Group at Thornhill College too.
While this weekend marks the first solo gig for Niamh McCay, she has graced a professional stage before, as she reveals: “During the summer I did a workshop with the Interact Festival and I performed one of my own songs that I wrote in the Nerve Centre when being mentored by the Wonder Villains and Cashier No 9.
“That was my first time on stage musically. I am always in shows, but it’s totally different when you get up to begin singing or playing piano on your own!”
“I just love music,” she goes on. “It’s not something I need to do, it’s something I enjoy doing... I don’t spend much time downstairs, I’d rather spend all my time in my room making music until I’m told to come downstairs and be sociable!”
So while the entire city sings this weekend, catch Niamh at Cafe Nervosa within the Nerve Centre, Magazine Street, from 4pm this Saturday.
See this Friday’s ‘Journal’ for a full line-up of all the local acts involved in Other Voices’ Music Trail. For a sneak preview of Niamh singing visit www.derryjournal.com to view a short video.