by Caoimhe Hegarty

After two incredibly difficult years for County Derry-born country music star, Niamh McGlinchey, she is finally back where she belongs - in the studio working on her fourth album.

The album, which the 26 year-old plans to release in time for Christmas, may be almost two years later than initially planned but the Lavey woman ‘couldn’t be happier’.

Around this time last year, at the tender age of 25, Niamh began to have genuine fears that her professional singing career was over, a career that she had dreamt about since she was a little girl.

Just as her hard work and persistence was beginning to pay off, the one thing that she relied on, seemed to be letting her down.

Niamh knew for some time that there was something abnormal affecting her singing. Her voice was starting to sound husky and her range was decreasing. During lengthy performances, her throat was also becoming sore and strained. Despite her best efforts to keep going, she knew that she couldn’t ignore the warning signs any longer and she decided to seek medical advice. But after numerous visits doctors and consultants, she was no further forward.

“I genuinely thought my career was over. I was absolutely devastated, something I loved so much was being taken away from me without reason,” Niamh told the County Derry Post.

“I was in the pits and really down. Singing was all I had ever known but it looked like my career was over.  It was really a difficult time for me,” she said.   

Music has always a massive part of the McGlinchey household. From a young age, Niamh participated in a host of singing competitions including the Lough Neagh Feis, Scor and Fleadh. She used these competitions as a platform to develop her talent and build confidence.

Claiming an All-Ireland title for solo singing in the 2008 Scor Na Óg, was only a sign of what was to come. The following year, she was selected to represent The North, in RTÉ’s ‘All Ireland Talent Show.’

However it was her debut album in 2012 that marked the start of her professional singing career.

Over the past couple of years, Niamh has shared the stage with some of the biggest names on the country music scene including, Daniel O’Donnell, Frances Black, Derek Ryan, to name but a few. However it was her collaboration with rising star, Nathan Carter as part of RTÉ’s ‘Glor Tire,’ which would take her career to new heights.

Between her own private gigs including weddings and community events, as well as touring with Nathan, Niamh was busier than she had ever been but she had no choice but to take a step back.

On December 23 last year, Niamh finally got to the bottom of what was affecting her voice.

“After a long couple of years of speculation, pain and many, many tears remedies and consultation after consultation, I finally got to the bottom of my problem. I was a victim of silent acid reflux.

“At the time it sounded like an absolute cop-out, how could acid reflux be my problem?  Because I was using my diaphragms more, when I was sleeping, acid from my stomach was seeping up and resting on my vocal chords. The acid was burning my vocal chords which was making me sounding hoarse.

“It is now eight months on and thanks to controlling my diet, singing lessons, speech therapy and medication, I’m now back to my usual self.

“I delighted to be able to tell you that I am currently back in the recording studio, working on my fourth album and I couldn’t be happier. I am hoping to release the album just in time for Christmas.

“The album is over a year and half later than planned but it’s better late than never. Patience is a virtue in this game, so I would like to thank each and every one of my fans for your continued support and encouragement through my tough times. If it wasn’t for my family and friends and you all believing in me, even when I couldn’t, I would have given up a long time ago,” she said.

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