Country star Lisa McHugh on baby number two and taking major U-turn in her successful music career

For country star Lisa McHugh, 2024 is already proving to be a year of dramatic change on both the personal and professional front.

The Scotland native and Co Fermanagh-based star is preparing for the imminent arrival of baby number two after taking a major U-turn in her hugely successful music career. She has just released her new album ‘Black Mountain Sessions’, featuring a fully acoustic setlist

The five-track album features Lisa’s unique twist on ‘Falling’ by former One Direction star Harry Style and Newsboys classic ‘Magnetic’.

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Recorded at the stunning Black Mountain Studios in The Cooley Mountains in Co Louth, the record sees her perform a stripped back intimate set of fan favourites from her recent Top 5 album 'Watch Me' released last October, further cementing her rising global status.

Speaking to Belfast Live, the 35-year-old said her newly released album was a fun project and labour of love: "I want to give a raw, authentic and not too polished sound to this EP with songs from ‘Watch Me’. It gives you both elements of the fully produced versions and the really stripped back versions too.

"It was something we just wanted to do for fun and the reaction we've received has been fantastic so I might even try more of that. It really was a labour of love and just so chilled and relaxed. It was the first time I'd been to Black Mountain Studios which has great characteristics and is a really lovely place.

"Because we were doing something different the reins were off. I've always been a big fan of Harry Styles and his songwriting so we wanted to put our stamp on that version and as I say, thankfully it's gone down really well.

"I've had lots of online messages from people saying they're really loving my version of ‘Falling’ so it's nice to have that feedback because you take a gamble on trying to do a version of such a well-known song by an incredible artist. It could really go the other way but thankfully it's a gamble that paid off," she added.

Having moved to a Northern Ireland over a decade ago with husband Nathan Khan, Glasgow girl Lisa is now very much at home in Enniskillen. Their second child, who is due in August, will be a welcome new addition for their two-year-old son, Milo.

"It's been a busy few months and I'm trying to get everything done ahead of schedule. I've been working on new material and travelled to Nashville for songwriting on my next album (due out later this year all being well)," Lisa said.

"I'll be finishing up soon to have baby number two which I'm very excited about. I took a longer period of time off from my first pregnancy with Milo but I'll be back working pretty sharpish after this one - that's the plan anyway she says!

It's a year of dramatic change on both the personal and professional front for country music star Lisa McHugh
Lisa's new album ‘Black Mountain Sessions’ is a dramatic change for the country music star

"Nathan is a great dad already and really hands on and Milo adores him so I'm very lucky to have him when I have to go away with work or not feeling great, he'll jump in and pick up the reins.

"Milo is grasping it all a bit more now and will come up, rub up my tummy and say 'mummy the baby's in there' and feel it kicking - whether he's as impressed when the baby arrives and is here to stay I'm not so sure!"

Hot on the heels of a busy end to 2023, which included supporting Gavin De Graw on his UK tour, co-hosting the Irish Post Awards with Eamonn Holmes and a string of performances & interviews on national television, Lisa has recently announced her biggest headline show to date in the iconic Ulster Hall on November 30th, with tickets on sale now from Ticketmaster.

"One of the first gigs back will probably be the biggest headline gig I've done in the most prestigious venue here in Belfast's Ulster Hall. We've been talking about it for quite a while but I was a bit nervous to go for it because it's quite a jump in capacity in a venue by myself.

"I'm completely overwhelmed by the amount of tickets we've sold already and there are very few left even though it's not until November," she added.

Alongside all of this, Lisa has also opened up on dealing with some health issues over the last couple of months but she is now bouncing back.

She was forced to cancel gigs after coming down with a nasty chest infection followed by bouts of Covid, long Covid, and pleurisy. During this time, Milo was also quite unwell with an ear infection, slap cheek and tonsillitis.

She explained: "It was just one thing after another and it took a long time for my body to try and build itself back up again, obviously with being pregnant you can't take much medication so that prolonged everything.

"The breathlessness and fatigue were really surprising - I would literally try to give Milo his dinner and I'd have to lie down afterwards or walk up the stairs and have a shower.

"It was such a massive effort to do so but thankfully I'm all good again now. I'm so grateful to everyone for their messages over the past few months when I wasn't well and for continuously checking in on us both.

"Also a massive thank you for supporting the EP by downloading it and requesting songs on the radio and for purchasing tickets for the upcoming Ulster Hall show. There are some tickets still available so we'd love to have you as it's going to be a great night."

Video by Belfast Live videographer Harry Bateman.

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