IT isn’t going to be easy for Holly Dearden.

The 30-year-old wants to say as little as possible about her seven years as Sir Paul McCartney’s PA, a job she quit in June to concentrate on her music career. But it’s what everyone wants to know. Even her PR company, the team who also handle Macca’s publicity, are pitching her as “Sir Paul McCartney’s former PA”.

“I don’t particularly want to talk about my experiences as Paul’s PA because that’s kind of private,” she says, “And we’re still friends.” Added to that she resisted asking her former boss for a little help.

“I didn’t want him to think that I was doing that job as a way of furthering my music career. I hope he kind of respects I’m trying to do it on my own.”

She launched her album, The Optimist’s Daughter, at Ronnie Scott’s in London last week. “It was really fun, went really well and we had lots of people in,” she says. “I’m crossing my fingers something will come of it.” Macca wasn’t there. “He was on holiday because it was his little girl’s half-term. So I kind of knew he wasn’t going to be there. To be honest with you, I’d have been pretty nervous if he had been there, so I was probably slightly relieved.”

Holly grew up in The Park, then Woodborough, learning to play piano as a child and consuming the music of her parents’ record collection that included The Beatles. After studying American History in Edinburgh she moved to London to try and make it on the gig circuit.

“After a couple of years of temping and gigging and it wasn’t really happening I landed the job working for Paul. It was just a really random twist of fate. I was temping for a financial company and I was really bored and I rang up the agency and said ‘have you anything vaguely creative or interesting?’. They rang me back 24 hours later saying ‘how do you fancy working for Paul McCartney?”

Initially the job was just answering phones at his company MPL Communications. But she was soon fast-tracked to be Macca’s PA.

“My dad actually shed a tear,” she laughs. “He was more excited about it than I was.” Dad, an accountant, was the family Beatles fan. Mum erred more towards the Rolling Stones. So what did she actually do as his PA?

“Look after everything in the office, mainly stuff on the phone. Make sure everything’s running smoothly.”

Where did she go? Who did she meet?

“Well, loads of exciting people.”  She’s not biting.

All she will say about the job is: “It was such a laugh. I really enjoyed it.”

Chris Evans is obviously among her contacts having said of her album: “beautiful, effervescent, delightful… something the whole world needs now.” And one assumes Noel Gallagher isn’t, having responded to a play of her single You And London on the BBC 6 Breakfast Show by saying “get a boyfriend!”

Laughs Holly: “That was before the music had even started. So I’ve officially been slagged by Noel.”

She now lives in London but makes it back to Notts to see her family every couple of months. They’ll be there for her first gig in the city next week when she plays The Malt Cross Musical Hall. She has three brothers: one is a jazz pianist; another a producer for Simon Mayo’s 5 Live show and the “baby”, who is at university.

“The singing was on the back burner,” she says of her time with Macca. “I was still gigging but it wasn’t with much intensity. Then I kind of had a bit of a moment where I thought ‘right, it’s now or never. I want to put my eggs in one basket and give it a go.” The album is available online and at gigs.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

Listen to her music on The EG Chart at thisisnottingham.co.uk/localbands

http://www.myspace.com/hollydearden

Spotify – Holly Dearden – You and London

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