Hot Press



A selection of top Irish artists give us the lowdown on their local music scenes.

Rebekah Fitch has become a Northern Irish pop phenomenon. Her excellent single ‘Need To Feel’ earned her a well-deserved spot on the Hot Press Hot For 2019 list, and no less a gure than Gary Lightbody has described her as having “Great songs and a powerhouse of a voice.” We caught up with the Belfast native to hear her experience­s within the thriving Northern Irish music scene.

“I wasn’t aware of what was going on here growing up. It was only when I went to university in England that I got interested in music. That’s when I started looking into what was happening in Belfast. When I was young I would’ve known the massive acts like Two Door Cinema Club and Snow Patrol, but in terms of local groups, I didn’t know anyone in bands. It was only when I started doing it myself that I began to see bands from Belfast that I looked up to and wanted to work with.

“I’ve had great chats with Cheylene from Beauty Sleep – she’s always been really encouragin­g. Neil from

The Emerald Armada has also been a massive support. In terms of gigs, I love to play at The Empire (42 Botanic Ave, Belfast). It feels like a special place because of the decor and history. McHugh’s Basement (29-31 Queen’s Square, Belfast) is a real staple of the scene. Everybody has played there, it’s like a rite of passage. The Black Box (1822 Hill St, Belfast) is great and they’ve started putting on really cool gigs at the Duke Of York (7-11 Commercial Ct, Belfast). It’s one of those pubs where, when you go inside, you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

“The main studio where a lot of people record is Start Together in the Oh Yeah Centre (15-21 Gordon St, Belfast). Rocky runs it and he’s amazing. I’ve done all my recordings with Owen McGarry at his studio Zomerhof, just above The National. There’s enough choice that you can nd someone that clicks with the genre you want to work in.

“Musicians tend to congregate at 39 Gordon St., but basically anywhere around the Cathedral Quarter, because that’s where they play: places like the Harp Bar (35 Hill St, Belfast), Duke Of York and the Dirty Onion (3 Hill St, Belfast). For radio, the BBC have been fantastic, especially Across The Line and Gerry Kelly. The Cool FM guys and Maurice Jay from U105 are also really helpful. Aine Cronin-McCartney – who works with Quiet Arch, which is run by Lyndon Stephens, who manages Joshua Burnside, Ryan Vail and Malojian – does vlogs that highlight up-and-coming acts, with a new top ve every month and gig reviews.”

Rebekah Fitch launches her new EP Lies We Tell Ourselves on April 12. She will play Belfast and Dublin dates in May.

“I love to play at The Empire. It feels like a special place because of the decor and history.”

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