HOTLY-tipped singer Ebony Day, whose career started with a few home-made YouTube videos, returned to her roots to perform to Bournemouth music students.

The 20-year-old former Bransgore and Highcliffe School pupil appears destined for stardom after winning MTV's Brand New award - an accolade previously won by Conor Maynard, Jessie J and Justin Bieber.

She is the first ever unsigned act to triumph in the influential viewer-led competition, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that she only started singing and playing the guitar to distract herself while off sick from school with food allergies.

After uploading her videos, she quickly built a huge fanbase and some of her videos have been viewed more than 19 million times. Her music is now featured on MTV and she is about to release her first single and perform her first headline show.

Visiting the Academy of Contemporary Music Regional in Kinson yesterday, Ebony said: “It's so strange, I never thought any of this would happen. I just started posting videos, I didn't even really know what YouTube was. They started getting views and my family went 'Look, this is crazy.' It all went weird.”

She said she didn't want to be rushed into signing a record deal but was on the verge of releasing her first single. She added: “I'm just trying it, being myself and trying to get everything together so when I do want to be signed, I've got everything sorted.”

After performing two original songs, Machine and Already Broken, and cover versions of You Need Me and Titanium at the ACMR, she held a question and answer session with students.

Ebony is still currently a student herself at the ACM in Guildford and had this message for her peers: “I would say don't lose hope. You see so many people who want to do the same thing and it does get difficult sometimes but you just need to remember what you love about it and how fun it is when things go good.

“Social media is important right now. Right now that's the thing that's going to get people noticed. But I think there is a lot of luck to do with it too. And the more you try and the harder you work, it's all going to pay off.”