IRISH singer and songwriter Ciara O’Connor is living her dream life these days as a member of superstar Dua Lipa’s backing band.
Performing on the world stage with one of modern music’s hottest bands is a teenage fantasy – and for Ciara, it all started at BIMM College in Dublin.
“Ciara was one of our voice students and she’s amazing,” BIMM director Alan Cullivan told Shuffle.
“She landed a job with Dua Lipa for the past three years and is now part of her band as one of her three permanent backing vocalists.”
BIMM, which gives students an education in all aspects of the music industry from the creative side to the business side, is a four-year degree that is now open to applicants until February 1 through the CAO. .
Ciara, who earned a BA (Honours) in singing, told BIMM she landed her exciting role after sending Dua Lipa’s music director her resume and a rehearsal video.
Having worked with a number of industry veterans and talented speakers during her studies, Ciara shared how the education and experience she gained at BIMM played a huge role in her development as an artist.
“I certainly apply the vocal techniques and disciplines I learned at BIMM to this work,” she said.
“I explored a lot about changing my pitch and vowels in the Styles, Studio Recording, and Solo Performance modules (in college), and it was a useful skill.
“Then, when it comes to networking, I can trace almost every job I’ve had in the industry back to someone I met at BIMM.”
Besides New Rules singer Dua Lipa, Ciara, who grew up in London and Dublin, has also worked as a backing vocalist for Dermot Kennedy, James Vincent McMorrow, Westlife’s Mark Feehily and Paul Brady.
Speaking about her first tour with Kosovo-born Lipa, Ciara said: “I was thrilled to find that everyone on the team was just as excited to be there as I was, no matter how many tours. they had done or the number of amazing places they had played.
“It really opened my eyes to the importance of staying grateful. No one takes their position for granted and it brings incredible energy.”
She revealed the behind-the-scenes preparations for Dua Lipa’s tour. “I really enjoyed learning the process of rehearsals for arena shows; we were in a big blackout hangar with the whole crew in the middle of nowhere, simulating an arena stage with risers, screens, lights and costumes…it was so much fun.
“By singing and dancing on stage, I learned a lot about my body, through how it reacted to the pressure I was under and what helped or hindered my vocal health and performance.
“A lot of the obvious things like diet, warming up, stretching and making good use of my free time really made a difference.”
Back at BIMM – where former students include Fontaines DC, Erica Cody, Jafaris and Craig Fitzgerald of The Academic – Alan Cullivan points out that the modules cover all aspects of the music industry.
“There’s no point leaving here as the biggest electronics producer in the world and not knowing how to manage a contract, or do your accounts and VAT declarations every two months,” he says. .
“I think we’d be doing them a bit of a disservice if they left without knowing that stuff.”
Cullivan predicts a bright future as we emerge from the pandemic.
“He will come back stronger and come back differently,” he says.
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