BACK IN 2010, Thurrock singing teacher, Shana May Elliot put on the first of many singing showcases in the Thameside Theatre.
The Chadwell mother-of-two wanted many of her singing proteges to take the next steps from the classroom to the stage.
At the first showcase, one of her students called Louisa Johnson went up on the stage and sang Hallelujah.
There may have been only forty people in the audience but they all knew that,as they say "the kid was a bit special"
The rest, they say, is history, as Louisa Johnson is (unless you have been living in a cave in Ecclefechan), the X Factor winner of 2015.
Shana said: "I knew that Louisa was good but like many success stories, it was and is all about the people around her.
"Luckily, she has a great family, great friends and a level head herself. I am so pleased that Louisa has done so well.
"Just a couple of years ago, she was getting so impatient with her career. We had to remind her that she was only fifteen.
"I am employed by Thurrock Council and we sent Louisa down to the music studios in Tilbury to cut some of the songs he had written.
"All we can say we have done is we have given her some gentle nurturing and signposted her.
"And I am just one of many who are encouraging young singers, day in and day out.
"I just want to emphasise the importance of events like YourVoice or Livelounge in encouraging Thurrock singers.
"Another of the singers from a few years ago is Henrietta Adewola, who is now a backing singer for Rod Stewart and John Newman.
"There are also singers like Holly Hannigan, who you should watch out for as well".
Shana has her own band called Mera Drive which keeps her busy, not only in Essex but around the country.
What doe she hope for in the future?
Shana said: "I think Thurrock can use Louisa’s fantastic success as a springboard for music for young people in Thurrock.
"Please support all the events dotted around Thurrock