After a disappointing couple years of Eurovision results, Ireland returned to a national selection this year. The chosen artist, Brooke Scullion, will be competing in Turin in May with the song “That’s Rich”. This is just one more event in the whirlwind that has been Brooke’s life for the past two years. What’s she been gettin’ up to? Let’s find out:
She Grew Up as an Artist Off the Field …
Brooke was born on March 31, 1999, in Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. Her father is the co-founder of Premier Electrics, an electric installation business that has worked on projects in countries across Europe since 1993.
In school, she was constantly involved in the performing arts, entering local singing competitions and performing in musicals during secondary school, include Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, and Fame.
In 2013, at the age of twelve, she entered the Rising Stars competition at her school, performing a cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”.
She would go on to win that contest, in addition to a number of other music competitions put on by her local athletic association.
…. and an Athlete on it.
Brooke grew up in a family of sports fanatics,and has been a competitive camogie player for many years. (Fellow Americans, I hadn’t heard of it, either.) She played for both her senior team in secondary school and for the local county team, the Wolfe Tones. She was a member of the latter team in 2018, when the Wolfe Tones won an intermediate championship title.
Since her music career has begun in earnest, however, Brooke has taken a step back from the rigors of the field.
“The camogie career is over. I can’t afford any more broken bones,” she told Derry Now. “If I went through the list of broken bones you’d be writing all day. Leg, knee, knee surgery, skull, collar bones, fingers, it’s not worth it at this stage … I’ve hung up the boots at the ripe age of 21!”
She Survived the Pandemic Season of The Voice UK
Brooke Scullion‘s journey on The Voice UK was a roller coaster, to say the least.
In 2019, she was finishing up her drama degree at Ulster University when auditions for the ninth season of The Voice UK rolled around. Unbeknownst to Brooke, a friend sent in an application for her. After passing the audition held on her college campus, she was flown to England in April 2019 for her blind audition.
Brooke‘s cover of Lewis Capaldi’s “Bruises” opened the season, and she received a four-chair turn from the season’s coaches: will.i.am., Tom Jones, Olly Murs, and Meghan Trainor.
Brooke hadn’t considered a career as a musician until the opportunity came along. But she went anyway, hoping to make her family proud.
“My granny always wanted me to go on The Voice,” she said in a podcast interview. “I just wanted to say I went for it.”
As it so happens, both of her grannies made an appearance on the show, supporting Brooke from backstage. Brooke returned the favor by attempting to play matchmaker, joking to Olly Murs and Tom Jones that both of them were single.
After a tug-of-war between the four judges, Brooke chose to join Team Meghan.
“[Meghan] said everything I wanted to hear,” Brooke said on the Head to Toe podcast, “She sold me the dream … I know that she’s gonna look out for me.”
Brooke remained on Team Meghan for the entirety of the season, winning her Battle Round performance of Adele’s “Water Under the Bridge” and advancing out of the Knockout Round with a cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”. Right before the semi-final rounds, in March of 2020, the Covid lock down began, and filming of the season of The Voice UK was postponed indefinitely.
But her career didn’t sit idle during the hiatus. She participated in a virtual collaboration with a local children’s choir and lent her voice to a musical tribute to the NHS.
She also wrote and recorded her debut single, “Attention”, and released the music video in September of that year.
The Voice UK returned to production in November of 2020, but one important person was missing: Brooke‘s coach Meghan Trainor, who was pregnant and unable to travel to The UK from the United States. Meghan worked remotely with Brooke to plan her final two performances on the season, but Brooke had to take charge on the ground in The UK.
“I was in charge, and I learned so much from her that I was able to do that,” Brooke said on the Head to Toe podcast.
Brooke‘s cover of “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson (feat. Miley Cyrus) at the semi-final earned her a spot in the season’s final week, and she ultimately was eliminated in 4th place. The 2nd place finisher was fellow a Northern Irish singer, Jonny Brooks.
“The whole process has just shaped me into an artist, it has validated me,” Brooke said in an interview. “Before, I couldn’t have told you what I liked singing, but I now know what music I want to write, what songs I’m good at.”
She also emerged from the season with a dear friend and cheerleader in her coach.
“Meghan to me is honestly such a good friend,” Brooke told Eurovision Fun. “I haven’t been able to visit her because of, obviously, the pandemic. But she is in contact, and she just texted me ‘I’m so proud of you!’ This is unbelievable. It’s so exciting for me.”
She’s Already a Local Hero
Meghan Trainor isn’t the only booster cheering the “That’s Rich” singer on. Both Brooke and fellow Northern Irish finalist Jonny Brooks received an outpouring of love an support from their community.
A children’s choir from St. Mary’s Primary School sent her a letter in January 2020, wishing her good luck on the season (see right).
Her former music teacher gave an interview to Derry Now, singing her praises.
An entire issue of the Northern Irish lifestyle magazine Ulster Tatler was dedicated to both Brooke and Jonny, with ads from local businesses congratulating them on their success.
“To think that people want to listen to me is amazing,” Brooke told Derry Now. “I’m so glad I have the local support and want people to be proud of me and able to relate to me because I live in the same place.”
She’s an Allergic Animal Lover
Before auditioning for The Voice UK, Brooke worked as an animal handler for Mary’s Ark, a mobile micro petting zoo. This is despite the fact that she has an allergy to animal dander, something she joked about in her intro package on the show. When Brooke’s first episode aired, her former employers were cheering her on.
After her time on The Voice UK, she continued balancing her love of animals with her body’s rejection of their dander. She can be seen cuddling up with the family dog on TikTok, plugging up her nose and suffering.
In May 2021, however, Brooke discovered a solution to her problem. She surprised her family by buying a hairless Sphynx kitten named Draco. And because Draco has no hair, dander is no longer an issue. Now a self-proclaimed “Cat Mom”, Brooke’s social media is full of pictures and videos of her four-legged friend.
She even featured him in a TikTok promoting the release of “That’s Rich”.
@brookescullionxx MY NEW SONG #music #artist #fyp ♬ That’s Rich – Brooke
Looks like he’s a fan. Or maybe he just wants to be put back down. It can be hard to tell with cats sometimes.
Were #YOU rooting for Brooke to win Eurosong? How do #YOU think “That’s Rich” will do in Turin? Sound off in the comments below, in our forum, or on social media @ESCUnited.