Arts Q&A: Gemma Bradley on Beyoncé, Stephen King and Samm Henshaw

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Draperstown musician and new Across The Line presenter Gemma Bradley

Gemma Bradley will perform at this month's Atlantic Sessions festival

1. When did you think about a career in music and what were your first steps into it?

I started pursuing music at the age of nine and began playing guitar and writing songs. I got the chance to go to a music workshop held by Glasgowbury Music Festival in Draperstown and I fell in love immediately. I started to think of music as a career around 14 as I gigged quite frequently and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I nearly didn’t pursue it at university level as there was always a stigma attached that it wasn’t seen as a 'real job'. But I took the plunge and went on to study Commercial Modern Music at BIMM in Dublin and I am still performing and writing songs.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?

Malojian at Bennigans Bar, Derry. It was the first time I had ever seen this artist live and it was magical. The intimate setting of Bennigans and the three-part harmony blended perfectly. Secondly, Glasgowbury 2013 as the atmosphere, setting and the opportunity to perform at it made it magical. Finally, Beyoncé, Sasha Fierce tour at Belfast's SSE Arena. I was 14 years old and a huge Beyoncé fan. Her presence on stage was phenomenal and it really inspired me to see such a strong woman performing.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?

I would love to have Samm Henshaw play.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island?

Intoxicated by Martin Solveig because it puts me in a good mood whenever I hear it and I never get sick of it.

5. And the book?

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. Why? Because I am currently reading it and want to know how it ends. The writing is also superb.

6. Top three films?

Joker, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Get Out. I like these movies as they all bring different elements to the table – mental health, escapism and racism.


7. Worst film you’ve seen?

Slender Man – it was just really badly written and didn’t have much of a storyline throughout.

8. Favourite authors?

Stephen King, JK Rowling and Kate Cann.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top teams?

The two sports I most enjoy and played growing up was camogie and Gaelic football. My top team has to be my hometown team, Ballinascreen.

10. Ideal holiday destination?

Paris. I have been before and it was a dream.

11. Pet hate?

I have quite a few pet hates but the worst is people who are in front of you stopping suddenly.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Pizza.

Dessert? Either hot chocolate fudge cake or sticky toffee pudding.

Drink? Any fruit juice.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My best friend is my mum, which probably isn’t very 'cool' to say but it’s true. We are very close and she’s very supportive.

:: Gemma Bradley will be performing at Me and Mrs Jones, Portstewart on Friday November 15 as part of this year's Atlantic Sessions. More than 100 musicians will descend upon Portrush and Portstewart for the four-day music festival from November 14 to 17. For tickets, artist biogs, maps, travel and accommodation details, visit

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