Who needs X Factor? Hotly tipped young musician Charlotte O’Connor certainly doesn’t. We meet the Blackburn born singer on the verge of international stardom

SO far she’s performed with Newton Faulkner, James Morrison and The Script.

She’s signed to Sony Records and is represented by Sam Bush – son of legendary music promoter Mel Bush, who is credited with discovering David Bowie and Queen.

And next week the young musician will take to the stage in the biggest performance of her career to a crowd of 100,000 in Long Island New York.

Yet it’s the mention of a homecoming gig in Blackburn that brings the biggest smile for upcoming acoustic folk artist Charlotte O’Connor.

“I’ve always wanted to perform at the Windsor Suite at King George’s Hall, it’s been a dream of mine since I was small,” said the 20-year-old singer, who will release her debut single and embark on her first international tour in September.

“We used to do school concerts there and I’d imagine doing my own solo gig one day.”

Home in East Lancashire is where Charlotte is happiest, she’s buzzing to be back after two weeks away in south France filming the video for her debut single Treasure Island, a song she wrote in her bedroom aged just 15.

Treasure Island, due for release through Sony Records on September 26, is the first release from Charlotte’s debut album For Kenny, named after her childhood imaginary mouse friend.

The album, out in November, will feature 13 of 60 songs written by Charlotte and is produced by Mario Caldato Junior, who has worked with the Beastie Boys.

And while her talent may be obvious to others, Charlotte remains modest about her success so far.

“I was really nervous about the video. The whole thing made me feel nervous. "I didn’t know how I was going to mime over my song for a start.

"But then I didn’t have to, I could just sing. In the end it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

Aside from her clear ability and early success the most endearing quality about the former Westholme pupil is a genuine coyness despite it all.

“I just hope people like me and my music,” she says. But the timid artist loses all her inhibitions when she sings.

With a presence beyond her years she’s in her own world as she treats us to an acoustic rendition of her debut single in the Lancashire Telegraph offices.

She doesn’t even need to warm up, just a sip of water, and tweak to tune her guitar and Charlotte’s in full song, note perfect.

Her number one fan, mum Fiza, who runs Blackburn’s Alan Rene hairdressers in Church Street, joined her youngest daughter for the interview and sings along to the words under her breath. She added: “We’re all so proud of her.”

Charlotte, who grew up as one of three sisters, was first spotted after winning a competition at Sir Paul McCartney’s Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in Liverpool, when she was 17.

After giving up her A-level studies to work as a professional musician in 2009, she has since modelled for fashion label Quicksilver and supported a host of big named artists.

But now Charlotte says she feels ready to go it alone.

“I felt I needed to wait until I was ready. I feel like I know who I am now. The album is all little pieces of me written between the ages of 15 and 18.

"They involve situations growing up and memories from my childhood, they’re all feelgood songs.

“There was one time when all I did was write about my sisters’ lives,” she laughed. “They’re pleased to hear they didn’t make the album!”

For the tour, which also takes in dates in Paris, Madrid and London, Charlotte has handpicked her own band including local musicians, lifelong friend Lee Brotherstone from Blackburn on keyboard and bass player Roberto Ruyz who lives in Great Harwood.

The self-confessed ‘home bird’ said it’ll be a comfort to have little reminders of Blackburn with her when she's on the road miles away from home.

“I can’t describe the feeling I get when I pull up on the drive at home in Blackburn. It’s a ‘money can’t buy’ feeling.

"I love travelling but I’m such a homebird and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Especially now my sister has moved out and I get her bedroom,” she joked.

So is this Lancashire lass ready for the global attention a Sony release will bring?

“I’ve been in the industry now for two years watching how others do it, I have seen people fail because of their attitude so I would always treat people how I would like to be treated."

* Charlotte O'Connor is at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on September 22. Tickets 0844 847 1664.