Pop sensation Leah McFall has thanked the people of Newtownabbey for their “incredible support” as she waits to see how her debut single fares in the charts.
The Carnmoney girl shot to fame last year after wowing the judges and millions of TV viewers with her sensational performances on the second series of hit BBC1 talent show The Voice.
After finishing runner-up in the competition, she was immediately snapped up by her musical mentor, Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, and later signed a recording deal with Capitol Records.
The 25-year-old former fashion student, who now lives in London, says it has been an “insane” 18 months since she appeared on The Voice. And she loves the fast-paced lifestyle that has seen her jetting between London and Los Angeles, work with top artists and producers and recently go on tour with Jessie J.
“There’s a lot of hard work involved. But it doesn’t feel like work when it’s something that you love and are really passionate about,” she told the Times.
Her debut single, Home - a song inspired by the incredible support she’s had from people in Northern Ireland since she decided to pursue a career in the music industry - was released on Sunday, July 27, and has already been a big hit online with the YouTube video having had more than 640,000 views.
Her fans around the world are keen to see the track, which features will.i.am, reach number one, but a modest Leah says she isn’t setting any targets.
“I’m an up and coming artist so it’s a really good start. I’ve been blown away by the response to be honest. I’m not too sure how it will chart, but I’m not putting a goal on it,” she said.
“If all of Newtownabbey and Northern Ireland buy it then I’m sure it will be number one forever!”
Admitting that she misses “the people and the banter” back home, she said: “I get home every few months or so, but every time I see a wee gap in my schedule I’m like ‘Right I’m away home’.
“We’re very good at getting behind our own and supporting our own so I just love being back home. It would be nice to get home a bit more, but I love what I do and I’m very thankful to be getting the chance to do what I’m doing.
“I’d just like to thank the people of Newtownabbey and Northern Ireland. The support they have given me has been amazing. I’m so glad I got to dedicate my first single to them and hopefully they will continue to support me.”
For more than a year Leah has been busy writing and recording her first album, Weird to Wonderful, under the watchful eye of Will.
“People aren’t messing around when they call him a genius, he’s just so, so talented. He is the producer on every single one of the songs, so to have that kind of involvement is amazing. You just consistently learn from him because he’s just oozing inspiration,” she said.
The album is due for release in the autumn, with a series of promotional gigs to follow.
While tour venues and dates have yet to be finalised, Leah says she will definitely be playing in Northern Ireland - and she hasn’t ruled out the possibility an intimate gig somewhere in Newtownabbey.
“I’m so excited about the next year. I think it’s going to be a very, very fun year.
“I’m just going to take it as far as it will go. I’ll keep working as hard as I can and just really enjoy it because it’s amazing,” she added.
While she’s now firmly establishing herself in the music industry, Leah says fashion is still a big part of her life and revealed that she is currently in talks with a number of designers about the possibility of launching her own range of clothing and shoes.
• Home is available on iTunes now.