Cara Dillon first emerged on the folk scene in the 1990s and has gone on to achieve international acclaim as a singer-songwriter.
She has released four solo albums and collaborated with many of the top musical talents in the world including Paul Brady, Mike Oldfield and Judge Jules.
As well as having a fabulous singing voice, she also plays the fiddle and tin whistle. She collaborated with several artists before going solo.
She was in the folk band Óige, which means youth in Irish. She then left to join Equation where she met her future husband, Sam Lakeman.
She and Lakeman also appeared as the duo, Polar Star.
All Ireland singing champion at 14
Dillon was born in Dungiven, Derry, Northern Ireland, an area steeped in musical tradition. As a child she attended music workshops and has been performing since she was at school.
She spent much of her teenage years refining her musical talent. She won the All Ireland Singing trophy when she was 14.
First taste of success with her early bands
She formed Óige with her school friends when she was 17. She recorded a studio album and a live album with the group before she joined Equation in 1995.
She enjoyed further success with Equation and performed with them on MTV and VH1. They recorded an album but it was not released until 2003, long after Dillon had left the band.
With her husband in the duo, Polar Star, she recorded several albums but they were never released. Polar Star left their record label, as they were unable or unwilling to provide the kind of commercial material the company wanted.
While she was in Polar Star, she was a guest vocalist on ‘Man in the Rain’, a single from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells III.
Embarking on a solo career
In 2001, she released her first solo album, simply entitled ‘Cara Dillon’. It was produced by Lakeman and was well received by music critics. It contained nine traditional songs, which were her specialty. It also featured two original songs which showed signs of her and Lakeman’s increasing song writing prowess.
Many critics compared Dillon to a young Kate Bush.
For the next couple of years she toured extensively throughout Ireland and Europe promoting the album . She developed a loyal and ever increasing fan base and won a number of awards. There was happiness in her personal life as well as she and Lakeman got married at the end of 2002.