Singer Camille O’Sullivan is currently playing the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh (until August 24), marking her tenth anniversary at the Edinburgh festival.
“Before I first came to Edinburgh, in 2004, for years I’d looked at the brochure... It was about 100 pages long, and it terrified the hell out of me," she recently told The Guardian. “There’s a psychological step for a lot of Irish people to move over to the UK to do a gig.”
The singer recalls her first venues at the festival, including one in a basement. “It had columns, no one could see me, but it was a start.”
“When I saw posters that had been put over mine half an hour after I’d posted them, I’d rip them down, recalls O’Sullivan. “I lost so much money that first year. It was all terrifying but magical.” However, through those early Edinburgh appearances, she secured a part in Stephen Frears’s film, Mrs Henderson Presents.
Camille’s stage act consists of German Weimar cabaret tunes, Nick Cave, Kurt Weill and Jacques Brel songs and lots of other stuff. She says she has always thought of the audience "as a tiger."
“I’ve got to be a bigger tiger to eat them up before they get me," she says. “I don’t create the show before the festival. I tend to test it out here in the first week. Then by the end of the festival, the show is ready to tour. There’s no festival like this in the world. It’s quite a marathon, quite a hill to climb. You have to make sure you don’t drink too much in the first week. “