SHE’S once, twice, three times a lady - that’s Sheffield’s Philippa Hanna, according to superstar Lionel Richie after she wowed over 10,000 fans as his support act at the Motorpoint Arena, writes Graham Walker.
Armed with just her trusty guitar, wearing a blue sparkly dress, she had concertgoers dancing on the ceiling, or in the aisles at least, as the superstar’s warm up.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch Philippa on stage and chatting exclusively about what it was like to perform in front of over 10,000 people.
MORE VIDEO: Watch Philippa’s full opening song, Happy In My Skin - CLICK HERE. Or watch it on YouTube - CLICK HERE.
The 28-year-old singer-songwriter, who has been playing coffee shops and church halls, was plucked from virtual obscurity to take the spotlight.
She’s been doing that every night on his 11 date tour, with just three to go next month.
But after her homecoming performance, to a packed Arena, she admitted it had been “extra scary” knowing family and friends were in the audience.
“There’s something about playing to your home crowd - extra exciting, but extra scary, because you just want to do a good job,’’ she said backstage.
“But they were amazing. I feel good and relieved.
“It’s great to hear that cheering but you don’t want to disappoint them, not being Lionel.”
Philippa, of Handsworth, added:: “I’ve always known Lionel Richie’s music but we’re in awe of him. I’m a tiny bit starstruck.
“He had me and my parents in, just before the show, and gave them a pep talk about having their daughter on the road. He’s been an encouraging mentor.”
Philippa, who works with X Factor acts at Grammy Award winner Eliot Kennedy’s Sheffield studio, got the gig after she was spotted performing at one of his charity concerts by tour manager Nathan Hodgson.
Final dates on the Lionel Richie Tuskegee Tour 2012 are Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, on December 13, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Glasgow, December 14 and Nottingham Capital FM Arena, December 15.