Off the scale | 

Limerick teacher packs in job as Tom Jones and will.i.am battle over her on The Voice UK

Niamh Nolan (26) says David Guetta ‘was on about my name and how some of the best recording equipment is called ‘Neve’

Niamh Nolan

Eugene MastersonSunday World

A young Co Limerick woman has given up her job as a kindergarten teacher after Tom Jones and will.i.am battled to sign her for their teams on the Voice UK TV show.

And one of the world’s top DJs – David Guetta – also lauded Niamh Nolan with praise when he helped Will .I. Am coach his singers for the battle rounds.

“I remember before I sang I had a nice conversation with David,” Niamh (26) tells the Sunday World.

“He was on about my name and how some of the best recording equipment is called ‘Neve’, so he was kind of asking me about my name and he was saying that I was off to a good start became my name is the same as this really high quality equipment.”

In her blind audition Niamh had Tom Jones and Will fighting over her, with the Welshman turning first but she ended up choosing the Black Eyes Peas singer.

“I know a lot of people are like ‘why not Tom?’,” she recalls. “And I know he gave me a standing ovation as well. I was on stage, I was in such shock, I never really saw that until I watched the blind auditions back, but I’ve no regrets.”

“I think when you’re on a stage you are in a little frenzy. Everything is just blurry, you’re standing in this moment that you’ve always kind of dreamed of standing there and you’re just not sure what to do.

“In the back of your head, you almost pray that you might only get one to turn, so you don’t have to make that decision. But obviously to get more than one is amazing. My gut just told me, I have no regrets. “

Because the show was filmed during major Covid restrictions last year she had little up close and personal contact with Will.

“Obviously we don’t see too much of the coaches, we’re not chilling day to day with them,” she points out.

“It was the height of Covid as well, so it was quite strict in terms of Covid rule, which was good because if a singer gets Covid they are finished. So, it was quite strict on social distancing, and masks and all that.

“In terms of group advice, before we sang, just giving us advice and telling us to go for it.”

She adds that Will gave her a lovely compliment after she sang.

“He said my range was phenomenal, which was lovely to hear,” she beams. “He reckoned I could sing lower than him and higher than a lot of women. I remember him saying that to me, which is a lovely compliment. He is just fun to be honest. He is full of energy and good craic.”

Niamh was joined by Dublin siblings the Beatty Brothers as the only Irish acts who made it through to the battle rounds.

“Myself and the Beatty brothers auditioned on the same day even though we weren’t aired on the same day,” she explains.

“I remembered hearing the two Irish accents and my ears pricked up immediately because up ‘til then I was the only Irish one on the journey so it was great to meet them and have a little chat with that home accent.”

Sadly, Niamh and the Beatty Brothers did not make it through to the next round and viewers were full of praise when they exited the show last weekend.

“It will be a standout moment forever singing for French star David Guetta” she admits.

This is not the first show Niamh auditioned for.

“I entered the Voice of Ireland. I was quite young, I was maybe 19,” she recollects. “I went to Dublin for the audition and I got through the first stage and then I went for the second stage and never got through that.

“I never considered it again or anything when the Voice UK approached me when they saw me on TikTok and asked me to enter.”

Niamh, who hails from the Co Limerick village of Kilcolman, which is near to Newcastle West, had been working as a kindergarten teacher in a local childcare centre when she did her audition.

“When I was in childcare I was in a toddler room, two to three-year olds, the fun ages. I used to sing to them, mainly nursery rhymes, and they loved it,” smiles Niamh, who as well as singing also plays the guitar and piano.

“That was lovely but I have since left childcare to focus on music. I am a hair and makeup artist as a sideline. I just want to free up a bit more time to concentrate on music. I still do a little bit of child minding. Any bit of time I’ve got free, I’m recording for TikTok or gigging

“I was gigging last weekend in Dolan’s in Limerick. There’s little opportunities that come out of this which is great

“On the show I was blonde and I’m now dark haired. I have got a few funny looks from people asking, ‘is that her, is it not her?’ ”

Niamh, who is single, now hopes to increase her TikTok audience.

“I know recently I’ve hit half a million likes on my songs, and I’m about to hit 28,000 followers,” she reveals.


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