ONE of the biggest names on the Irish music scene will perform at the Regent Centre in Christchurch on Sunday, February 16.

Nathan Carter, 29, rose to fame in 2012 after releasing a cover of Wagon Wheel, a song written by Bob Dylan and originally performed by Old Crow Medicine Show. Nathan's cover topped the charts in Ireland and received extensive radio airplay across the UK, while his album of the same name went straight to number three.

The Liverpool-born star, whose family come from Newry in County Down, first turned to music at the age of five. "I started playing the piano and accordion," Nathan says. "My grandad was really into country music, and would play the likes of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash all the time. That definitely influenced me as a performer."

Despite describing his music as a combination of country and folk, Nathan's most recent album, Irish Heartland, is solely the latter.

"Releasing a purely folk album is a bit of a new direction for me, but it's something I've always wanted to do," he says. "The album features some of my all-time favourite Irish songs, from In The Rare Old Times by The Dubliners to Mountains of Mourne by Don McLean."

To date, Nathan has released four albums that have reached number one in the Irish album charts, including Where I Wanna Be in 2014 and Stayin' Up All Night two years later.

"I do still have to pinch myself sometimes," Nathan says. "I started off playing in pubs and clubs, and now all these things I dreamed of are actually happening. It feels surreal."

A career highlight, unsurprisingly, was performing for Pope Francis at a concert in Croke Park, Dublin. Nathan has also appeared at prestigious venues across the UK and Ireland, including the SSE Arena in Belfast and the London Palladium.

Their performance in Christchurch is not the first for the singer and his six-piece band: "We've been there four or five times in the past, and it's a really lovely venue," Nathan says. "We always have a great time, and we're really looking forward to coming back."

For the 2020 tour, Nathan will supported by young Irish singer Claudia Buckley.

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £29, available from the Regent Centre website or by contacting the box office.