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Bianca Nicholas: Starlight in the making

Bianca Nicholas is an extraordinary talent. The 22-year-old singer, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, has not let her condition get in the way of her dreams, and is already paving her way in the music industry both in the UK and across the pond, writes Paul Watson.

Bianca Nicholas, 22, suffers from cystic fibrosis, but she has not let her condition get in the way of her dreams. Her career has already started to take shape in the UK, and her emotive and energetic vocal performances have earned her a crack at Hollywood. Watch this space.

Bianca’s first love, in fact, was acting. Incredibly, at just five-years-old, she played the lead role in the Cannes Film Festival award-winning short film, Is it the design on the wrapper?; and in her early teens, she appeared alongside Johnny Depp in the Hollywood blockbuster, Sleepy Hollow. Not a bad start, indeed.

So, at 15, she did the natural thing… kicked the acting into touch! Determined to follow her true passion, which lied within the realms of the even more fickle business that is the music industry, she applied to the charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation, and was granted her wish of recording her first demo in a London studio.

Bianca has never looked back, and has gone on to perform at a string of high-profile events for both Starlight and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which has seen her duet with Will Young, and perform for Princes William and Harry as well as the Duchess of Cambridge. She also sang at the turning on of the Regent Street Christmas lights last year.

Under the guidance of a dedicated management team comprising film & TV producer, Jon Diamond, experienced recording engineer, producer and songwriter, Bill Gautier, and most recently agent, Louise Gubbay, she’s continued to make waves in the industry. She will be singing at several Olympic-based events this year, and is in the process of negotiating a trip to California in the coming months where she will get a chance to demonstrate her talent to the Americans.

“We’ve come a long way with Bianca, and her attitude as well as her natural mentality is absolutely spot on,” explains Gautier. “Jon [Diamond] and I are now concentrating on trying to connect her as much as possible with her audience, which is key.”

On stage, Bianca uses one of two microphones: a wireless Citronic MP16UHF and a Sennheiser 900 series, though Gautier wants to get her working with a more advanced wireless setup, and is keen to go down the Sennheiser route.

“The Citronic mic is only around the £200 mark, but it’s such good value for money; but the Sennheiser 900 series really does suit Bianca’s voice very well,” Gautier says. “What I really want to do is get her on a Sennheiser EW145 G3 wireless mic and an EW300 in-ear monitoring system – that’s the dream, really; and with in-ears, you don’t want to be mixing and matching either, and Sennheiser is at the top of the tree. It’s also particularly important given Bianca’s condition that she has her own system as it lowers the risk of her picking up any infections.”

Bianca is an outgoing and personable character, and unlike many potential artists of her age, her long-term goal is not necessarily to achieve super-stardom, or even to have strings of hit records; she is level-headed, focused, and realistic, which makes her so endearing.

“Most people that have interviewed me have asked me a lot about my CF, and although I don’t think there’s been anyone that has made it really successful in the music industry with my condition, I always try to keep a balance of ‘yeah, I have it, but I don’t want it to be the main focus’ – you have to remain positive when talking about it,” she explains. “Although like any artist, I’d love to have a record deal and get lots of funding, to me, success is me not wasting the chance I have; I want to know that I did my best, and I certainly don’t want to have any regrets. And if that means I get some kind of recognition, well that would make me really happy.”

A recent performance on stage with classic vocalist group Blake during their latest tour has given Bianca the live bug more than ever.

“Singing with Blake was amazing, and we didn’t even have a rehearsal; I was just told: ‘sing this line in the verse and this line in the chorus’, but I really got a buzz out of it, as it was such a great experience,” she reveals. ”I owe a lot to Starlight for helping me with my transition into music, and I feel I perform better live, because when there’s an audience there, I feel desperate to please everyone. Although that can be a fault sometimes, I’d rather have that attitude – it’s part of my personality, after all.”

Bianca’s debut album looks set to be completed by the beginning of May.