Sunday 15 September 2019

Helena Bradley Bates added to list of contenders on 'The Voice'

Helena Bradley Bates
Helena Bradley Bates

By David Medcalf

'It was as though she gave me strength.'

Helena Bradley Bates is convinced that her late mother Margo Waters Bradley was looking down on her as she made her successful appearance on 'The Voice'.

The entertainer from Wellingtonbridge took the Helix Theatre by storm with her version of 'Alone', just a couple of days after Margo was buried.

'She was a singer as well,' said Helena afterwards of her departed parent, 'but more on the country scene. I spoke to her about doing the show - we had long chats about it.

'She was excited about it, so I said I would continue.' Now the daughter takes her place in the line-up for the RTE talent show along with Sasha Smith from Wexford town.

She came through in fine style, despite the fact that, not only was she recently bereaved, but she is also expecting a baby in April.

The invite to the Helix came after three rounds of auditions, the first conducted over the internet for which she submitted a video captured at the Thomas Moore Tavern in Wexford.

She then came through a couple of sessions in Dublin hotels before being selected to appear in front of the cameras - and the judges.

The mother of four has been wooing audiences since she first played keyboard and sang for customers at the Ross Inn in New Ross as a 15 year old.

Anyone who has ever heard her sing in pubs around her native county or across the ballroom at Kelly's Hotel in Rosslare has no doubts whatever about her ability.

But the Newbawn native confesses that lack of self-confidence tended to hold her back in the past, though she twice appeared on television on 'The Lyrics Board'.

Her CV also includes ten days on set in an elf costume at Drimnagh and Ardmore as an extra during the making of the movie 'Ella Enchanted'.

The day of 'The Voice' recording meant a 4 a.m. start for Helena and for her supporters - partner Neil Kinsella and his sister Claire Smith.

They arrived in Dublin promptly but the final take was not in the can until 9 p.m.: 'I don't know how I got the high note but you get this burst of energy.'

She hit all the right notes to the extent that three of the judges swivelled their chairs in approval and she has now been allocated Kian Egan as her mentor for the weeks ahead.

She will be trying to persuade him that what viewers need is plenty of what she calls old school rock, perhaps in the style of Metallica.

'This is what I have been wanting all my life,' she says of her new adventure, 'to share with everybody the love of music, the passion for singing.'

Her only worry is that, if things continue to go well, the new sibling expected join Dean (17), Ayla (16), Callum (12) and Órin (11 months) is due to be delivered around the time of the programme final.

'If I get that far, I'll have to have the ambulance all set up,' she says, only half in jest.

Wexford People

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