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I want to be Ireland's Madonna -- Raw star Tara

RAW actress Tara Lee wants to swap the heat of the kitchen and become Ireland's answer to Madonna.

The actress-turned-singer is currently enrolled in DIT's songwriting course and says 2013 is all about the music.

The 18-year-old is currently channelling Madge's 1980s look. "People have compared me to Madonna which is obviously a massive, massive compliment.

"I think my music is a mix between Madonna and Pink," Tara said. "I'm studying songwriting in college and 2013 is about singing and songwriting and music. But I'm still very passionate about acting but this year, music is number one."

Tara's band Juliet's Revenge have enjoyed a lot of success and music critics are backing them as an act to watch in 2013.

The Blessington, Co Wicklow, native says she loves nothing more than rocking out on stage. "I'm the lead singer in the band. I love being on stage with a group of guys.

"I get on better with men. I'm a bit of a tomboy. When I'm on stage, I have this whole other persona. And I can pretend I'm really cool even though I'm not," she laughs.

Last week, Tara returned to our small screens in the fifth series of Raw. "This series of Raw is extremely exciting," she said. "Everything gets a little more intense. It's the best it's ever been. It's certainly the best since I joined the cast. Things get a lot, lot darker for Emma. She has some bad influences in her life and goes down the wrong routes."

Tara says she completely relates to her character. "She's just a typical teenager. I think my character is basically me. I was 16 when I went for it so I just said the lines exactly how I would say them. It was that straight-forward."

Raw was notably absent from the IFTA nominations this year.

While Love/Hate swept the board, Raw failed to receive a single nomination. But the lack of industry recognition isn't getting Tara down.

"Raw has been around for a while so it's good to see other shows being nominated."

Tara was speaking at the launch of Aware's positive mental health programme Beat The Blues.

For more information on Beat The Blues see www.aware.ie.