According to her Twitter feed, Bianca Nicholas is “Just a girl who loves to sing.”
A few days ago it was announced that singing duo Electro Velvet will be representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this appeared on my Facebook news feed… alongside a photo of my lovely friend Bianca! Wow, what amazing news, my husband and I were shocked but not at all surprised, she has the voice and the charisma of a star!
Having been friends with Bianca for many years, her passion for singing is obvious for all the world to see. We are regularly treated with a new song that she has recorded and uploaded for our listening pleasure. My personal favourite is her cover of Skyfall with pianist friend Oliver… one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard (available on YouTube). Her smooth, velvety tones and big notes bring tears to my eyes, joy to my ears and a smile to my face every time.
Bianca began singing at a young age and has never stopped. Her musical career began at the age of 15, when she was granted a wish to be a ‘pop star for a day’ by Starlight Children’s Foundation. Starlight is a national charity who grant once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children. They arranged for Bianca to go to a top recording studio in London, where she recorded a number of cover singles. She absolutely loved it and felt right at home.
But why did Starlight grant Bianca this wish? Well, she has the genetic lung condition Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is one of the most common life-threatening, inherited diseases which affects more than 9,000 people in the UK. It affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food. There is no cure for CF but therapies make it easier to live with the condition. The necessary lung physiotherapy includes many breathing techniques which Bianca believes has greatly contributed to her staying as well as she is. She has been able to maintain a high lung function as her singing with the immense power that she does, keeps her lungs clear from mucus.
Therapies and staying well with CF can be very time-consuming but Bianca finds that singing helps her stay positive, lifts her moods and makes her happy. She was born to sing and better yet, has an incredible talent for it.
Bianca recorded her single Hold onto your Dreams, in 2011, which soared to Number 1 on the iTunes Vocal Chart. The lyrics are incredibly poignant to her as she never has or ever will give up on her dreams of being a singer despite having CF. In 2013, her single re-entered the Vocal Chart when Heart FM Breakfast played it as part of their “Have a Heart” charity appeal. A beautiful song, which is so close to Bianca’s heart, will always have a profound effect on anyone who listens to it.
She has sung live at many events over the years and has met Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge as well as singing a duet with Will Young. Last year, she opened the fundraising gala event held by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust who were launching their “No Party” event season for their 50th anniversary. Cystic Fibrosis is no party but we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of people living with CF every single day.
Bianca and her singing partner, Alex Larke, have been chosen to represent the UK with their Electro Swing song Still in Love with You, in Vienna, at the 60th Eurovision contest in May this year. Bianca, who has always had a love of anything vintage says that this song is perfect for her. It is upbeat, catchy and certainly gets your foot tapping and shoulders twitching. The duo entered their video submission and won the spot, beating hundreds of other entrants. They say it has been a “whirlwind and still feels surreal”.
She also appeared on the 2014 series of The Voice and although no chairs turned for her, this didn’t affect her passion for singing. It just made her realise even more how much she loves performing – being up on the stage, in front of an audience, singing live – a dream come true!
Bianca, from Kent, is now 26 and engaged to her fiance, Gearoid and certainly is holding onto her dreams. A shining example of how to live with a terminal condition and not let it define who you are. She may have CF but CF certainly does not have her.
Here’s wishing Electro Velvet lots of luck in the contest. Are they going to swing into the top spot with Still in Love with You and make this the 6th time that the UK has won Eurovision? All we know at the moment is that they will be swinging, singing and dancing their way along this journey until then!
“Hold onto your dreams, don’t let your dreams die, one day you’re going to wake up and shine.”
Have a listen to Still in Love with You here.