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Teenage star becomes voice of campaign to celebrate reopening of hospitality

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A teenage star who duetted with Whitney Houston as a seven-year-old girl has now been heard by millions after becoming the voice of a campaign to celebrate the reopening of hospitality.

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Dublin sensation Zena Donnelly, now 18, composed and performed the soundtrack of a new TV and radio drive for Hastings Hotels – which was heard by 16 million people.

Donnelly, from Blackrock in south Dublin, said: “I can’t believe it has been heard by so many people and the reaction has been incredible, so it’s onwards and upwards from here.

“I have been composing and singing for years, but collaborating with Hastings was a totally different experience.

Julie Hastings, of Hastings Hotels, with singer-songwriter Zena Donnelly (Matt Mackey/Presseye)

“I typically write songs for myself and they very much reflect my style and personal experience, so working to balance the input of others and my own creativity was a welcome challenge.”

Donnelly shot to fame in 2010 at the age of seven when Houston invited her onstage to sing The Greatest Love Of All at the then 02 Arena – after noticing her handmade poster, reading: “I love you Whitney, can I sing with you?”

Her talent was discovered a year earlier by RTÉ’s Late Late Show during nationwide auditions and a solo performance on its annual Christmas Toy Show followed.

She previously starred in Cinemagic’s feature film A Christmas Star and has enjoyed a number of high-profile performances, including a solo at the Queen’s Jubilee Royal Gala Performance.

She also made it to the last 12 on Pixie Lott’s team in The Voice Kids.


The Have a Giant Stay campaign featured some of Northern Ireland’s best loved landmarks and was seen and heard by 16 million people across TV and radio on the island of Ireland.

“We got to record in The Sound House in Belfast, which was really cool, it’s funny because the one thing I have yet to do is actually release my music so this has all been really inspiring,” added Donnelly.

Some of the locations featured in the campaign are Co Down and Mourne Mountains, horse riding on a beach in Carnlough, sightseeing in the Walled City with the famous Derry Girls Walking Tour, as well as action-packed activities for thrill seekers.

“We wanted to create something really special to mark the reawakening of Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry and we really believe we have achieved this through our Have a Giant Stay campaign,” said Julie Hastings of Hastings Hotels.

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