AN emerging artist from Glengormley is making waves with her new sounds in the USA.

Andrea Magee has been creating and performing music her entire life, achieving a BA Honours degree in Music, the youngest Northern Irish contestant in BBC's Fame Academy, winning a fan in Robin Gibb from The Bee Gees, and a judges houses finalist on UTV's X Factor.

Her unique style of bodhrán playing accompanying a voice as smooth as still water and a live show bursting with energy, she is well on her way, and putting Belfast on the map in the live music capital of the world in Texas.

 

Andrea also made an instant impression in the USA when she arrived in 2014 achieving great successes with her duo Beat Root Revival previously releasing albums with Surfdog Records under Dave Kaplan Management.

Touring the world with Brian Wilson (Pet Sounds Tour), Brian Setzer, Jeff Bridges, touring and singing harmonies for Eric Johnson (Hold onto Love 2022) and a private party for The Rolling Stones under her belt, Andrea is making it quite an exciting ride so far.

2022 has kicked off with two successful solo single releases and Andrea is very excited to dive into some deeper waters with her brand new solo album.

The album, entitled 'Belfast Girl' is a development of Andrea's story and really shines a bright light on her songwriting and producing skills. 

Andrea started by telling us about growing up in Belfast.

"I was born in Belfast, grew up right by the zoo in Glengormley, went to University at University of Ulster and lived there until my mid-twenties," she said.

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"So basically my whole first chapter of life was being a Belfast Girl. I spent my teenage Saturday's getting the bus into town, going to Latin American dance class at Clarke's on Donegall Avenue and roaming around the shops.

"Music has always been the centre of my life growing up. I had a family band with my sister and dad, started on classical flute in primary school, took opera singing lessons in high school and have always performed in bars in Donegal and have been song-writing since I was really young.

"I also come from a very sport-orientated family and that was a big part of my upbringing and will always tie me to home. I played netball for Northern Ireland from the age of 13, captained the British Unis team and also represented Ulster in badminton. 

"As much as I loved my sports and still miss them to this day, it's always been music."

Andrea said that she started in the family band up in Donegal.

"My dad was a teacher so we would spend every summer there.

"I would play in a bar called Joe's from around the age of seven and always went to the local session in Ardara with my dad and that was when I got my first bodhrán drum, so Irish music has been my roots from the start and really influenced my own sound.

"My primary school and secondary schools also had great music teachers (Mr Hunter, Mr Evans, Mr Moreland, Mr Dallas) who really encouraged music to be a big part of my schooling experience and I am grateful of that every day.

"On a more personal note I also turned to songwriting on my own in my bedroom from a really young age. I remember creating a melody with lyrics for the first time and feeling like the world stopped and everything around me disappeared, that feeling has never left me and I don't think ever will."

In 2014, Andrea moved to the USA with her music 'partner in crime' Ben Jones after both decided they needed a change and in search of something new.

"I had just had an experience in the UTV's X Factor which was both wonderful and a little damaging to my confidence," Andrea continued.

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"I got to the judges houses with my original music and it really was a great ride but I knew the focus of the show was not based on that so I came up against some challenges, but all in all I am grateful for the experience and the people I met.

"I knew I needed to start fresh and figure myself out and really find the right path for myself, so off we went and haven't looked back.

"It has been an incredible rollercoaster ride. We formed the duo Beat Root Revival together, always keeping our solo music going on the side.

"Through good fortune and hard work we managed to make the right connections over here in the States, signing our first deal with Surfdog Records out in California, touring with Brian Wilson (three years as an opening act on Pet Sounds world tour), Brian Setzer, The Fixx, Eric Johnson and Jeff Bridges and finding a home in the live music capital of the world – Austin."

Speaking about her new album, Andrea admits she is excited to share it with her audience.

"I am so excited to share Belfast Girl on September 30 this year," she added. "The album came about during the lockdown when I couldn't travel home for two-and-a half years.

"I need to get my home fix at least three times a year – if not more – so this was a real personal challenge.

"I missed my family and home friends and all the Belfast ways a lot and started putting this into my writing for the first time.

"I started with the title track Belfast Girl and the rest of the album followed very organically. It was honest and true to how I was feeling during that time and has helped me realise a lot.

"I love my life here in Austin TX. It's a dream come true but I will forever miss my roots.

"I hope that when people listen to this new music they find comfort, they relate to the feeling of missing something that is no longer a constant but can also find the gratitude for all that we have to get to this point and be who you are today. 

"As for the future, I want to be happy and continue to live a life creating and connecting.

"Music has taken me on some incredible adventures and connected me with some of the best people in the world and I want that to continue.

"I want to come home to Belfast as often as I can and would love to share my music a little more on this side of the world too."

'Belfast Girl' by Andrea Magee is released on September 23. You can listen to Andrea's music on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube.