County's pop starlets get set for debut show
A NEW girl group from East Lothian, snapped up by a production company which has worked with such top music stars as Adele and Jessie J, will make their debut performance tonight (Friday) after a whirlwind six months in London.
Hairdressers-turned-pop stars Gemma Brown and Nadia Thorburn, aka Duelle, will perform an eight-song set, including their debut singles Dreamin' and Alarm Bells, for a 300-strong audience at The Pleasance in Edinburgh at 8pm.
Since the beginning of the year the girls, both aged 20, have been under the tutelage of Wendyhouse Productions, which has worked with a number of the music industry's leading female stars, including Brit-winner Adele and Pixie Lott, at its studio at Shepherds Bush.
During their time in the UK capital, Gemma and Nadia have enjoyed a tantalising tour of the music industry, including meeting X Factor boy band sensation JLS and being given the chance to record in Annie Lennox's studio.
"It's been an amazing few months and we've just been so busy," said Nadia, who is originally from Haddington and a former pupil of Knox Academy.
"We were invited down to meet with Wendyhouse Productions in November after we sent them samples of our music. Really we were just looking for advice on whether we were any good and what constructive criticism they could give us.
"We couldn't believe it when they got back in touch with us right away to say that they loved what we'd done and wanted to meet us. The meeting went really well and the next thing we knew we were relocating to London.
"It's been non-stop. We've had vocal coaching, song-writing workshops and have been recording our material in a professional studio.
"Meeting JLS was great because they were so down-to-earth and friendly, and it showed us that despite all the focus on celebrity in the music industry, the important thing is to keep yourself grounded and never forget where you're from."
Duelle, who first met while working as hairdressers for top salon Charlie Miller in Edinburgh, describe their music as "hip pop" and a combination of "the Spice Girls meet Nicki Minaj".
Gemma, a former Musselburgh Grammar School pupil whose family now lives in Tranent, said: "Our music is perky and very feminine.
"When we're writing it's important to us to approach themes and issues that we feel affect girls our age.
"We want to be both singers and role models to the fans who will listen to our music."
On tonight's gig, Nadia said: "There would be something wrong if we weren't a bit nervous, but we love doing this.
"We want to succeed, so I'm confident that we're going to do well and have a great night.
"It's looking likely the show will be a sell-out and no one will be allowed to sit silently while we're on stage!"
A Wendyhouse spokesperson said: "The group have been gaining more and more momentum since 2011.
"Since then the singles Dreamin' and Alarm Bells has had an impressive amount of plays on the Duelle soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/duelleuk) especially in Scotland where they are gaining huge momentum and a huge fanbase."
This article appeared in East Lothian Courier 28 Jun 12