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Lockdown singing videos lead to debut album for north-east woman

By Kyle Ritchie

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An Aberdeenshire woman is releasing her debut album after finding her passion for singing again when she performed in online lockdown videos.

Helen Thompson, who lives at Melrose Crescent in Macduff, sang songs as part of cooking videos recorded by her daughter Caroline.

It inspired her to record a CD of her favourite tracks which has been titled Country Girl.

To help her with the recording of the album she enlisted the help of young Gardenstown musician Matthew James McKay, who has released a number of CDs himself.

Helen Thompson recorded her debut album with Matthew James McKay. Picture: Ann McLean
Helen Thompson recorded her debut album with Matthew James McKay. Picture: Ann McLean

Helen said: "When I was younger I did a lot singing with my sisters but then I got married and had my family and it was forgotten about.

"During the lockdown, my daughter Caroline joined the online group Cooking Through the Corona.

"She did cooking videos and then we added in me singing and started doing some sketches.

"Lockdown was a tough time for me but when I started to sing I felt so much better, it just brought me back to life again.

"Matthew James' granny Ann had been watching us and she suggested that I make a CD.

"Matthew James said he would produce it for me, as he has studied music at the college in Aberdeen.

"We started recording it in November in a makeshift studio in my living room."

The pair managed to record Helen's vocals over about two days and then Matthew James added the instruments which saw him play electric and acoustic guitars; bass; piano and keyboard; and drums.

He also sorted out the arrangements, programming, mixing and mastering of the album.

Once it was completed it was sent off to a publishing company in Ireland and they made the CDs.

Helen added: "I like country and western music, so the majority of the tracks are that genre.

"I have loved making the album. It has been so good for me and it has brought back the performing bug.

"After the costs of making the CD have been met the rest of the proceeds will go to the Scottish Association for Mental Health."

Helen has organised an album launch event, which is taking place at the Deveronside Social Club in Banff on Saturday, January 22, at 7pm.

Due to the current coronavirus restrictions the concert will be seated only and people can book tables for four or six adults.

Helen and Matthew James will be performing songs from the album and the CD will be on sale.

There will also be a collection for the Scottish Association of Mental Health.

People can reserve tables through the Deveronside Facebook page or email enquiries@deveronside.co.uk

Anyone who cannot make the launch event can purchase the album at the Helen Thompson Music Facebook page where tables can also be booked.

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