ANYONE who has seen Jess Harwood on stage probably won’t believe the next sentence - she didn’t pick up a guitar and start performing until two years ago.
But despite that, the 20-year-old South Shore songwriter is winning admirers everywhere for her superb voice and impressive songs.
She has been a regular at open mic nights in the north west but is aiming to branch out further this year, lining up gigs in Manchester and planning a move to London at some point to get her music heard there.
Have a look at her on Youtube and one thing springs out - the girl can sing.
Which is why it is surprising to find she’s not been doing it for long.
“I started playing piano when I was younger but didn’t carry it on,” she said. “Then about two years ago I picked a guitar up and started to play. I put some lyrics together and started writing a few songs and playing them around the town.”
I“I played a lot last year at places like the Deaf Institute and Band on the Wall in Manchester. In fact off the back of playing there I was asked to do a headline slot so I feel as though I am moving in the right direction.
“I want to cut down on open mics a bit now and start concentrating on proper gigs and see how it goes.”
Jess went to St George’s High School and Blackpool and The Fylde College, then began a music course at university. It turned out it wasn’t for her though.
“It was a bit too weird, a bit experimental for me,” she said. “We got asked to make up a song one day and so I wrote one. But I got told to go on a keyboard and basically slam my arm on the keys. That was the song. “It wasn’t really my thing so I left.”
Working in Marks and Spencer to raise some cash while she writes more songs and plots her next move, Jess knows one thing - she wants to make a living in music.
“That would be the dream and it’s what I am trying to work towards,” she said.
Jess has already had some success with her songs, Every Little Thing played on BBC 6 Music .
If you want to see what the buzz is about, check out her videos on youtube.