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Andrea Begley
Born 15 January 1987 (1987-01-15) (age 34)
Pomeroy, Northern Ireland
Genres Pop rock, pop, Celtic, folk, country
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Years active 2012–present
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Danny O'Donoghue, Philomena Begley

Andrea Begley is a singer-songwriter from Pomeroy, Northern Ireland, who is most notable for winning the second series of the BBC talent search The Voice UK, beating the favourite to win, Leah McFall. She is the niece of Irish country music singer Philomena Begley.

Music career

Having grown up performing in all-Ireland fleadhanna (Irish dance and music festivals) and singing competitions, Begley began songwriting and performing in open mic and other events in Belfast following completion of a law degree, in 2008.

2012: RTÉ's The Hit

In 2012, she took part in the pilot episode of RTE 2 song-writing competition show, The Hit, with her original composition The Message being selected by producer Steve Lillywhite for the final eight.

2013: The Voice UK

Andrea Begley auditioned for The Voice UK, with The Script's Danny O'Donoghue choosing her for his team. After being crowned the winner, she was signed to Capitol Records and moved to London to record her debut album. Her winning single, a cover of "My Immortal" by Evanescence, entered the UK Singles Chart at number 75 that week. The single then went on to peak to number 30 on UK Singles Chart and number 70 on the Irish Singles Chart. Her debut studio album The Message was released on 21 October 2013.

Performances

Performed Song Original Artist Result
Blind Audition "Angel" Sarah McLachlan Joined Team Danny
Battle Rounds "People Help the People" (against Alice Barlow) Birdy Winner
Knockout rounds "Songbird" Fleetwood Mac Winner
Week 1 "Ho Hey" The Lumineers Safe
Week 2 "One of Us" Joan Osborne Safe
Final "My Immortal" Evanescence Winner
"Hall of Fame" The Script
"Angel" Sarah McLachlan

2013: The Message

On 21 October 2013 Begley released her debut studio album The Message, which includes "My Immortal", her winning single from The Voice UK, and "Dancing in the Dark". On 23 October 2013 the album was at number 10 on The Official Chart Update. On 24 October 2013 the album entered the Irish Albums Chart at number 61. On 27 October 2013 the album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 7. Her cover of A-ha's "Take On Me" was uploaded to YouTube by Shane O'Connor, who combined it with animation by Ecole Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques students Camille Chaiz, Hugo Jean, Juliette Jourdan, Marie Pillier, and Kevin Roger to create a spoof version of a John Lewis ad.

2014—present

In 2014, Begley moved back to Ireland and has continued to tour, including two Irish tours with aunt Philomena Begley, in 2018 and 2019. She has released a number of singles independently, with her second studio album, "Soul of a Songbird", being released on 6 December 2019.

Visual impairment and activism

Begley is partially sighted as a result of glaucoma, which she developed at the age of 5 following a diagnosis of juvenile arthritis at age 3 and a half. Since then she has had around 23 operations, leaving her with about 10 per cent vision. From the age of 19, she has volunteered with the Royal National Institute of Blind people, and is currently chair of the RNIB network committee in Northern Ireland. She is a motivational speaker, delivering talks on her own experiences of sight loss and issues around visual impairment and disability to organisations and businesses across the UK and Ireland.

Discography

Albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
UK
IRE
SCO
The Message
  • Released: 21 October 2013
  • Labels: Universal Music
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
7 61 7
Soul of a Songbird
  • Released: 6 December 2019
  • Formats: Digital download, CD

Singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK
IRE
SCO
2019 "Shallow" (with Hype) n/a
"Always Remember Us This Way" (with Hype) n/a
"Beyond the Rainbow's End" n/a
2017 "Never a Pal Like Mother" n/a
2014 "In the Bleak Midwinter" n/a
2013 "My Immortal" 30 70 36 The Message
"Dancing in the Dark" 113
"—" denotes release that did not chart or was not released.

EPs

Year Title Peak chart positions EP
UK
IRE
2012 "The January Song" From the Blue
"The Message"
"Talent in my Fingers"
"—" denotes release that did not chart or was not released.

Other charted songs

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK
2013 "Ho Hey" 98 The Message
"Take On Me" 103
"—" denotes release that did not chart or was not released.

Autobiography

Begley's autobiography, "I Didn't See That Coming", was published by BBC Books in October 2013. Of the title, Begley said, "I was conscious with the book I wanted to give it a tongue-in-cheek title ... For me, I think the most important thing is making people comfortable with [my visual impairment], and I think the more comfortable I am with it and the more I can sort of, you know, make a bit of a joke and have a bit of a laugh with it I think makes other people comfortable with it."

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