In spite of the challenges often faced by a female musician in the tough industry that is showbusiness, Lisa McHugh doesn’t hesitate to urge other would-be young entertainers to reach for the stars when it comes to achieving their dream.
“There will still be times in years to come when people tell me it’s not possible for me to do this or that,” she says.
“The one line I heard so often was ‘it’s very difficult for a female, I don’t know if you’ll be able to last and stay in the career’. That just made me even more determined to prove people wrong.”
And certainly, Lisa has managed - time and time again - to refute the opinions of any naysayers.
In 2014, she appeared on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, after being personally invited by Gene Watson, a platform which has been hailed as the biggest for stars of the Country genre.
It was, she admits, “a dream come true.”
“To actually get that opportunity only a few years into my career was mind blowing,” she continues.
“I was really taken aback my the whole thing, and when it finished I was just like, ‘did that actually happen?’
“To be given the chance like that to further my career there made me even more driven, and want to push for bigger and better.
“A goal of mine was always to perform arena shows and stadium shows, and here we are tonight in the SSE Arena where it is the first time I’ll be able to go on and do my own show with my own band.
And for now, Lisa is more than happy to cater to that demand; she very much sees a future for herself here in Northern Ireland, and has no plans to leave her home in Enniskillen any time soon.
“I’ve done the city lifestyle, even though Enniskillen’s not a huge town, there’s still a bit going on about it, but it’s not crazy busy either.
“I feel really at home here, I’ve always felt welcome. The people are so lovely and friendly, and it wasn’t difficult settling in.
“They’re not intrusive, they just treat me the same as everyone else, and that’s exactly what I want.”
She adds with a smile: “I count myself as very fortunate.”
*For the rest of our exclusive interview with Lisa, don’t miss this Saturday’s News Letter.