Video: Draperstown singer Gemma Bradley is City of Culture star

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A song written by a Draperstown teenager and inspired by the cult horror film the Wicker Man has been selected one of the hit songs of Derry’s year as UK City of Culture.

Gemma Bradley’s catchy track Wicker Men was voted No 1 in the Best Youth/Under18 category in the Nerve Centre’s Resonate music project.

Following an online poll and judging from a panel that included Ciaran Scullion (Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland) Stephen McCauley (Radio Foyle) and Graham Stewart (Culture Company) the 17-year-old was named as the best under 18 act in the Resonate chart.

Despite her relative youth, Gemma, a pupil at St Patrick’s College Maghera, has already written more than 10 songs and appeared on stage in front of thousands of revellers at the Glasgowbury music festival twice.

Earlier this year, her collaboration with local artist Paddy Nash saw her reach the final of the IMRO Christy Hennessy Song contest in Tralee.

Her self-penned song ’Wicker Men’ wowed judges in the underage category.

Now Gemma is left to decide whether to pursue a full-time career in music when she leaves school or go on to university to study radiography.

She said: “The Resonate project has been great in providing the inspiration and opportunity for young musicians.

“I feel I have grown as a performer throughout the City of Culture year. And it has provided tremendous role models like SOAK who is only year older than me and has already achieved so much.”

Jackie O’Sullivan, of the National Lottery added: “The RESONATE project has really brought to the fore the amazing musical talent in Derry ~ Londonderry, the UK City Culture 2013. Not only does the city boast a rich array of fine musicians but this competition proves it’s people can provide the inspiration and imagination for some great pieces of music.

“National Lottery players can be proud to have supported such a wonderful project.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and one of the judges on the Resaonate panel said:

“UK City of Culture has very much been about supporting home grown talent and staging it alongside internationally acclaimed acts. RESONATE is a wonderful example of how being given a platform can really change the direction of a career. We have been so impressed by the calibre entries, it really has been encouraging to know we have so much talent on our island.”




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