The Voice UK runner up Bo Bruce talks to Marion McMullen about touring, recording her debut album and her relationship with judge Danny O'Donoghue.
BO Bruce has some advice to the singing hopefuls on The Voice UK: “Stick to your guns.”
The singer’s distinctive haunting vocals impressed coaches Sir Tom Jones, will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue last year on the BBC contest and she sailed through to the finals.
While things have been quiet for series winner Leanne Mitchell, life has been a non-stop whirlwind ever since for Bo. She has her debut album Before I Sleep and new single Save Me out on April 29 and will be busy touring the country over the next several months.
“It’s been completely crazy, but all good,” says the doe-eyed singer.
“I started writing as soon as The Voice finished and it’s been absolutely non-stop since then. I’ve not taken a break, but I wanted to get it all down.”
The 28-year-old daughter of the Earl of Cardigan was born Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce, but is making her mark on the music scene as Bo and says she owes it all to The Voice UK.
“It was such an amazing experience,” says the 28-year-old. “It was a whirlwind. The final itself was a blur, but I just hoped I had done enough for people to like my music.”
Bo had been working a long time to get a break in the music business. She had been living and gigging in New York and writing music all the time, but had started to fear it was never going to happen for her.
“I’d been doing it so long and there were definitely lots of moments you get when you think about giving up. I know there are lots of sharks out there and was under no illusions, but then The Voice came along. It was such an amazing experience.”
The TV appearances were tinged with sadness though as Bo’s mother Rosamond was desperately ill with pancreatic cancer during filming and later died. She insisted Bo continue with The Voice UK despite her illness, strongly believing it was her daughter’s big break.
Bo has since taken part in a pancreatic cancer charity fund-raiser in London organised by Madness singer Suggs and has thrown herself into work. She performed at last year’s T In The Park and V Festival.
The singer-songwriter is rightly proud of her new album, which she has spent the last several months recording for her new Mercury Records home.
It has led to her working with Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, Henry Binns from Zero 7, Sia, Alisha’s Attic and Joel Pott from Athlete.
Bo has also signed to Snow Patrol’s publishing company and says she would love to work on one of the group’s projects in the future.
“I’ve written so much and also had a lot of older stuff, a lot to draw on for the album.” She laughs: “I’m a bit of a control freak and like to be part of everything and find it difficult to let go.”
The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue was her mentor on The Voice UK and they co-wrote the track Alive on the album. There were reports that they were linked romantically at one point, but Bo laughed off the rumours and calls Danny her best mate. Bo will be away most of the summer gigging and will be treating audiences to a varied set of intimate acoustic songs and bold electronic numbers taken from her early repertoire as well as Before I Sleep.
The touring takes her all over the country, but she says she will still be keeping tabs on the new series of The Voice UK and the latest hopefuls looking for the big break.
“It’s strange watching it now and seeing people coming on as terrified as I was,” she admits. “The only piece of advice I can give them is you’ve got to stick to your guns and do what you believe in. You’ve got to be true to yourself.”
* Bo Bruce plays Bodega in Nottingham on June 21 and Birmingham’s Glee Club on June 25. Go to www.bobruce.seetickets.com and www.bo-bruce.com for further details.