'Girls don't play guitar like that' - but Chantel McGregor does and she's performing in Clitheroe
A female guitar prodigy, at the age of 14, Bradford-born Chantel McGregor was told by major labels that she had a "great voice, but girls don't play guitar like that".
In her own words she says: "Basically I've played guitar since I was about three. I had lessons from being seven to 16, carried on playing guitar. Went to university and put a band together and it's just kind of gone from strength to strength. And now I'm doing really nice theatres. It's just what I do."
But this humble view of herself doesn't tell the whole story. Ignoring the harsh words of the labels, she enrolled at the Leeds College of Music and became the first student in the college’s history to achieve a 100% pass mark at BTEC, with 18 distinctions. Chantel then pursued further education and left with a First Class Honours degree in Popular Music and a coveted prize, the college’s musician of the year award.
And now with three studio albums under her belt and a raft of accolades, she finds herself in high demand - performing, and also running her own boutique record label, Tis Rock Music - which in turns come with stress. So how does she cope?
"I stress out.
"Have a beer, that sorts it out!
"I don't know really. I do get quite stressy when I'm sort of doing all the work because I run the record label as well, so it's all the admin side I have to do. So there's kind of a lot of work to be done really. But you've just got to do it haven't you? Any job that you do, if you want to do it well, it's gonna be pressurey, so you've just got to embrace it and get on with it really."
Chantel was in the studio back in March last year and her latest offering, Bury'd Alive, was released in September.
"We put out a live album in September, but I'm also writing the next proper studio album with all the next load of new songs on it.
"And also working on this acoustic album. I like keeping busy you know," she laughs.
"So the acoustic thing is sort of a mish-mash of all songs from the first two albums and then just kinda reworked in a more of an unplugged style. So different arrangements and you know, there's like a bluegrass version of one of the songs. Just totally different really, but interesting."
She will be plugging stuff from Bury'd Alive and works from this acoustic project when she plays in Clitheroe on Friday night.
"It's going to be a fab night, cos it always is. Whenever we play Clitheroe I always get really excited because it's always lovely.
"So it's going to be mainly band stuff, but with a little bit of acoustic tucked in the middle, because we've been working an acoustic album.
"So it's sort of weird rearrangements of the songs and different percussion parts and stuff like that.
"That'll be a bit different to what people have seen before, so that'll be a bit in the middle, but yeah it should just be a really really good night."
Catch Chantel McGregor at The Grand in Clitheroe on Friday, February 7. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are £14, available online at www.thegrandvenue.co.uk