Shauna McStravock, the rising country music singer,speaks to Fiona O’Brien about making the leap from on-stage performances to on-screen
McStravock, a 27-year-old singer – songwriter from Co. Tyrone, is the latest country music star to explore using television to promote the genre. It’s not hard to see why Phil Mack has decided to put his faith in Shauna, as well as gaining success on the Irish circuit her natural bubbly nature gives her a likeability factor which is sure to exude on her television show.
She has shared with stage with some of the best and brightest names on the country music scene such as Daniel O’ Donnell, Nathan Carter, Philomena Begley, Susan McCann, Derek Ryan to name but a few.
“I just can’t believe it, it’s all happened so quickly. And I’m so excited to be able to present a show that I’m passionate about, and highlighting the best country music that is out there.
“I’m keen to put my own stamp on it all and am working on a few bits and pieces, but the show is ready to start within the next month.
“It’ll be given a trial run of four episodes and then we’ll see what the reaction is to it. When it was all confirmed I announced it on Facebook and within 24 hours I was getting messages of support from America and Sweden from people saying they were looking forward to seeing it.
“It shows that country music has a truly global audience, and Phil Mack is synonymous with the genre all over the world, and people have faith that he will put out quality programmes.”
Shauna is an accomplished musician in her own right and was also awarded the Best New Female 2012 at the Ulster Country Music Awards.
Shauna has been singing from a very young age and was brought up in a musical family, and after she is settled on the airwaves she is keen to record a new album as is anxious that her last offering is three years old now.
“The album was made up of 12 tracks which consist of both Irish and American country classics. I hope to visit various dancing venues across the country in the next few months and hope that my album is a great success. I would like to be the next biggest female in the Irish Country scene.”
Speaking about her album, which she recorded at Pinegrove Studios, Ballymena, Shauna says she also wishes to emulate a few of the stars in Ireland by touring with her own band.
“All the boys are doing it, and the only female artist I can think of that is really making a success with a band behind them is Lisa McHugh.”
Shauna, naturally gets comparisons to Lisa all the time, especially as Lisa herself has presented her own programme. In fact, back in 2009 Lisa mentored Shauna for a TG4 singing competition; Glor Tire.
“Of course it is flattering to be compared to Lisa, she’s like country music’s sweetheart both in Ireland and here. But I want to be able to make a name for myself in my own right, and build up my own fan base.”
In a world where teenage girls are chasing after heartthrobs like Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan, Shauna is trying to make up her own female fan base, and with a likeable factor
Girl next door
“Although males like country music, they tend to come along to shows with their girlfriends and I can’t compete with the heartthrob status that Derek and Nathan have.
“But I would like to be that person that they think ‘oh, she’s a lovely girl, I’d like to be her friend’, and a few people have announced me as the girl next door.
“I do like that vibe and hopefully we can split the stage between male and female.”
One such issue is Shauna’s wardrobe. To build on that friendly image she wants to make sure that her outfits are something that girls would like to wear themselves and can relate to.
“I don’t want people thinking, oh gosh what is she doing in that. You have to be comfortable on stage, but you also want to look well and a bit glamourous when it’s appropriate. I’d love to be able to chat to fans afterwards and tell them where my outfits are from.”
And with her rising star, she’s managed to secure a sponsorship deal with one of her favourite boutiques in Armagh; Glamp.
“I was in there one day, more browsing for things I’d love to wear on stage when the manager approached me. She asked me if I was Shauna McStravock, and I was just so excited to even be spotted.
“She told me that Lisa has an arrangement with another boutique in which she wears their clothes which gives them a good bit of advertising, and would I be interested in doing the same for them?
“I nearly bit her hand off! It’s brilliant now that I can rely on them to help me with my outfits, and it’s a dream come true because I loved that shop beforehand anyway.”
Catch Shauna on Phil Mack’s Country channel from next month.