b. 25 June 1986, Northumberland, England. This highly talented guitarist is known as the ‘Queen of the Stratocaster’ in Brazil, one of several countries in which she has earned rapturous acclaim despite being virtually unknown in her homeland.
McCulloch grew up in north-east England in the former colliery village of Stakeford, where she began taking classical guitar lessons at the age of nine. She discovered rock ‘n’ roll through the Shadows, and was first talent spotted at a competition judged by one of their original members, Bruce Welch. At the time McCulloch had only just turned 11, and shortly afterwards she toured around Europe as part of the Youngsters On Guitar revue. She began recording her own albums, releasing her debut album of instrumental cover versions Zoe With Love at the age of 13. In 2000, she recorded her own arrangements of Abba material on the Guitabba EP, and later in the year was voted Best Newcomer by the Instrumental Rock Guitar Hall of Fame. Despite still being at school, McCulloch journeyed over the Atlantic to play live dates in America. That country’s fascination with the teenage guitarist slowly blossomed into a lucrative concern, with McCulloch returning to play sell-out concerts and appear on local radio and television. Amazingly, the mayor of Austin, Texas, proclaimed three days in July 2003 to be ‘Zoe McCulloch Days’.