Whitehead’s TikTok singer has a dream job in the Abba tribute band

Sophie Grier sets up her phone to record another 30-second TikTok video for her 500,000 viewers before heading out to perform Want You in front of a crowd of devoted Abba fans.

Just 18 months ago, the 24-year-old’s dream job as Frida in one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful Abba tribute bands, The Bjorn Identity, took hold. an unexpected twist when Covid hit and she had no choice but to go her separate ways with the arts.

Feeling isolated and uninspired, she turned to TikTok, the popular video-sharing app to fill a temporary void, but little did she know her uplifting videos would eventually captivate audiences around the world.

Sophie, from Whitehead in County Antrim, said: “At the start of 2020 an Abba tribute band were looking for a new member and my singing teacher recommended me. I auditioned, got the job and was thrilled but within a month we were thrust into a global pandemic.

“When the lockdown happened, my career didn’t really exist anymore. I was a full-time teacher and performer, so my life was always musical and filled with creativity, so I finally gave in and downloaded, I became a bit addicted and started making videos for fun.

Over eight million likes later, it’s clear to see why Sophie has built a loyal following who tune in daily to catch a glimpse of the Abba star’s infectious energy, a concept she still doesn’t get. not to understand.

She explained, “Doing TikToks was really a way for me to be creative when everything else had stopped. I really didn’t expect anything from it and then a video managed to get millions and millions of views.

“I think my most watched video is nine million, which is crazy. Suddenly more and more followers joined. People said, ‘That’s the girl from Northern Ireland who sings in her car, and she likes Abba.

“I never thought I would end up with half a million followers. It wasn’t what I expected when I was in high school. If I had told the teachers that, they probably would have laughed , just like me. It was not at all what I envisioned for my life.

When she wasn’t Tiktoking, Sophie spent the lockdown immersing herself in the Swedish pop group’s star-studded world, a task she said was harder than she imagined.

“I’ve always loved Abba, so it was really fun to be able to study it, but it was actually like studying another language; learning how they pronounce the different words, watching so many videos of all of their performances to study the moves because I want to make sure I’m giving the most accurate and authentic performance possible.

“We don’t want anyone to come to our show and say ‘They sang Abba songs’, we want them to feel like they’re watching an Abba concert. When you’re on stage, you you’re not on stage as you, you’re on stage as a character, almost.

“It’s a challenge that we like to improve on and make sure we give the best possible performance and that’s as close to reality as possible.”

Turning every corner of her family home into a makeshift rehearsal studio, time was running out for Sophie to finally take the stage to present her new role as Frida in the pop quartet.

“We spent hours rehearsing on Zoom, but over time it got more and more frustrating as everyone seemed to be getting back into gear; we saw football games, we saw all these other things, but live entertainment was always the last thing to come out. We had so many false starts.

With no sign of Covid-19 slowing down, The Bjorn Identity were forced to wait a year and a half until they made their main stage debut at Dalfest in the grounds of Glenarm Castle in July 2021, an evening that Sophie watches with emotion.

“We were supposed to have our first show in September, then it got canceled, then it was supposed to be November, then it got canceled, then it took 18 months to finally get on stage,” she recalled.

“It was a very long wait but definitely worth it. It was a bit of a baptism of fire. It was great fun and a good way to get the band going again after a break.

Just five months into 2022, Sophie is enjoying a busy schedule, juggling an upcoming teaching trip across the Atlantic and opening performances for Spandau Ballet legend Martin Kemp.

“We are delighted now that everything is somehow back up and running as it was before Covid, and maybe even busier than before Covid.

“I’m going back to America this summer to teach summer classes and with the band we’re very busy. We have the Millennium Forum in May, Dock Square, and then we’re opening for Martin Kemp this summer.

“Working on shows, directing, teaching kids and playing with the band every weekend, I’m so grateful, I’m very lucky and I’m really excited to enjoy every moment.”

For Sophie’s loved ones, she revealed how much they “just support” her unconventional full-time job.

“For me, it’s a pretty fun job telling people I’m in an Abba tribute band, so a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, okay, okay.’

“Everyone around me has been very supportive and happy that I’m doing something I love and spreading happiness and just seeing people’s faces when Abba comes along.”

Recently voted Ireland’s number 1 tribute show, fans can expect a show filled with excitement and exuberance, dazzling costumes and authentic Abba-style choreography that will take audiences on a journey back to the 70s.

Featuring all of Abba’s famous hits alongside lesser-known tracks for fans who want an extra dose of Swedish thrills.

“I love seeing people having a good time, especially when it’s because of something we do. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re able to bring joy and happiness to others through to what you do.

– Check out thebjornidentity.co.uk for more information on upcoming The Bjorn Identity shows.

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