BEHIND the door is another life. It is August 9, 2021, and Brooke Combe is standing backstage preparing for her first-ever live performance – a sold out show at Glasgow’s King Tut’s.

Even as the memory of that night comes back to her, the Edinburgh native feels the weight of history bearing down. Almost as soon as the show was over, she felt that something important had just taken place.

She was not wrong. Since then her stock has risen to the point that this summer she will be stepping out in front of the crowds at two of the UK’s biggest festivals – TRNSMT in Glasgow and the daddy of them all, Glastonbury.

It’s a thought that inspires and thrills her in equal measure.

“I’m over the moon to be asked to play Glastonbury this year,” she says. “I’m trying not to think about it too much because it is such a big deal. I am so aware of how rare it is to play there. For now, I am just trying to stay in the moment and not get too caught up in it all. I want to be in the here and now and not overthink anything.

“I have a lot of festivals this summer, so Glastonbury is just the icing on the cake. It’ll be a really good summer, for sure. I’m just buzzing at what’s to come; I’m so grateful. I can’t wait to play. I’ll make sure to stay for the full weekend, thought – need to do it right.”

Brooke’s thoughts on live performance often return to that fateful first gig in King Tut’s, however.

“I just felt then and there this was the start of it all,” she recalls. “This was what I have wanted to do since I was tiny.

“I was standing at the stairs, just in the backstage area and I started to hear the song I come out to.

“The band all goes out first then it was just a minute of me, alone, just behind those doors. My heart was racing.

“I could hear everyone out there, all my friends, my mum and dad and my step-mum – I could hear them all screaming just on the other side of a door.”

A momentous occasion not just for the artist but for the Scottish music scene as well. Brooke’s show came just hours after the Scottish Government gave the green light for the return of gigs after that 2021 lockdown period.

For the artist, the evening was profound. It represented the first step toward a welcoming unknown. She had long harboured those ambitions to perform, despite struggling with self-confidence. Any doubts, however, were soon extinguished as she left the stage at Tut’s that night.

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“It was a really surreal feeling,” she recalls. “The first thing I said when I came off stage that night was that I felt ‘untouchable’ – and not in an arrogant way; it just felt like I was on top of the world for those 45 minutes or so. I just felt amazing.

“I had always struggled with confidence, so it was cool to really show myself that I can do this as well. It was a good way to kick off the live side of things – before then it was a bit of a monkey on my back; I was really worried about it. It could not have gone any better, to be honest.

“Tut’s will always be my first gig, nothing will ever change that. So, in 10 years hopefully I’ll still be doing all this and it will be great to look back and reminisce on that first date. It was really special.”

The rise of Brooke Combe is a story set below the floating shroud of lockdown. Social media provided a forum for the songwriter to reach thousands – with her rendition of unofficial Scotland anthem ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’ going viral on TikTok.

She will have been encouraged by the swelling of her following, but was still unsure as to how well her original releases would be received and how many people would come see her perform. But no sooner had her name appeared on the King Tut’s Summer Nights billing, those misgivings were directly addressed. A sell-out in no time at all, Brooke’s voice would be the one to bring in the return of live music in Scotland.

Her first-ever show. No pressure.

Even before she had ever taken to the stage, she was well on her way to making history. It was another milestone she had not dared herself to believe when thinking back to just 12 months before. She might not have, but others did.

“It’s funny thinking back to that,” she continues. “A year prior I had a meeting with my manager and he told me that ‘this time next year’ I would doing my first headline gig and that he wanted it to be Tut’s and that it would be sold out. At that time, we hadn’t even released the first tune and, so, I couldn’t really think that far into it. But he was right. Fast-forward a year and there we were.

“My first-ever live show and I could not have asked for a better occasion – it was a great night and I feel very grateful that so many people had shown up for me.”

These days it is crucial for songwriters to be their own publicists. Knowing how to reach people off stage as well on is, perhaps, one of the greatest advantages an artist can create for themselves.

Indeed, Brooke is one of the emerging artists to have used social media to her great advantage. With 11,000 followers on Instagram and more than 15,000 on Twitter, she can exert a great deal of control over her output.

Before her name took off, delving into the world of social media proved to be a distraction for her during the pandemic and a healthy creative outlet. But before long, she was given an unexpected big break.

The singer says: “Everybody was having a pretty rubbish time in lockdown – myself included. No one was getting to see family and friends and, so, it turned out to be a good time to write all this music and really research songwriting.

“When it took off, it was so strange. Social media has helped –  it was ‘Yes, Sir, I can Boogie’ that sort of sparked it all. I forget that sometimes; it just feels so long ago now. That song will follow me about until the day I die, I reckon. It was hard for me to split my personal feelings on social media with the idea that it is a very good platform for me to use and to help me grow as an artist. It’s a great way to build a following.”

It is clear 2022 is set to be a massive year for Brooke. A new single is on the horizon, with some massive shows to follow. In the coming weeks, she will release Miss Me Now – a track which promises to show the singer in a new light.

It may well be the next step in a trail-blazing year.

See Brooke at Glastonbury on June 24 on the Left Field stage and TRNSMT on July 8.

www.linktr.ee/brooklyncombe