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Orla takes brave decision to leave her comfort zone and quit Celtic Woman

She was once part of one of the best-selling Irish bands in the States -- but now brave Orla Fallon has left Celtic Woman to blaze her own trail.

The Diary has learned that the flame-haired singer (35), who has sang for everyone from Bill Clinton to George Bush, has branched out on her own for a stab at solo success.

The singer and harpist was once part of a group that sold more than four million albums and DVDs.

And she has admitted that her decision to walk away from the band was initially met with some surprise.

"I had four fantastic years with the group, I played in places I could only have dreamt about and had a wonderful experience. I played at Carnegie Hall, played for Bush in the White House and performed for Bill and Hillary Clinton at a fundraiser. It was scary walking away from all that, but I felt it was time for me to try something else," she said.

Now a well-known face in America thanks to her many appearances on prime-time programmes in the US, she has also performed with stars such as Michael Buble and is regularly recognised on the streets.

And for her latest release, Distant Shore, she has linked up with another big musical name -- bass player Eoghan O'Neill -- a former musical director with Riverdance.

"I didn't want to just stay in my comfort zone, I needed to do something new. During my time in the group I met Eoghan who used to play with Moving Hearts, a band I loved as a teenager, and I got friendly with him so we decided to work together on new material."