Ginny Blackmore has had a stellar year so far.
The 27-year-old Aucklander was signed by American record executive L.A. Reid, got to hang out and write with Will.I.Am and her single, Bones, is racing up the US charts.
But it wasn't sheer luck that brought the singer and songwriter to where she is now - but determination and hard work.
From an early age Blackmore had her mind set on becoming a recording artist.
"I got really passionate about singing and songwriting when I was 16. I did it all day, every day, that was my obsession," says the singer, who's back in the country for the first time in one and a half years.
"But I wasn't that good at it, initially. It took me a whole 10 years and a whole 10,000 hours to become the kind of songwriter I am at the moment."
It was none other than The X Factor NZ judge Daniel Bedingfield who discovered her talent.
"He bought me a microphone, software, a computer and a keyboard. He really believed in me a lot and he invested in me," she remembers.
Soon she was producing her own beats, writing her own songs and engineering them too.
Bedingfield also introduced Blackmore to his management company in London, which immediately took her on as a songwriter.
"I didn't have a record deal, so I couldn't release the songs myself, so I decided to give them away, writing for other people and got completely caught up into the songwriting world for years."
She wrote songs for international stars such as Christina Aguilera and Adam Lambert, but her dream was still to one day sing her songs herself.
"All I ever wanted was to be a record artist and to sing, so to just be a songwriter for other people was actually going against my DNA, and it was quite unfulfilling," she says.
Her luck turned with a little song she wrote and recorded in one night on her laptop while staying in a concrete apartment in Los Angeles feeling lonely and alone.
"I put a track into my laptop, set up my microphone, put my headphones on stood up and sang and [her debut single] Bones came out.
"And that's the original recording we released, we didn't go into a studio to redo it, so it's some random echoes in there ... that's because it was a concrete box," she says.
While in Los Angeles working with Aguilera and Lambert, she met a lot with record labels, to talk about their artists and what songs they needed for them.
And they all fell "madly in love" with Bones, she says.
"Within a couple of weeks I had labels asking if I could showcase for them and all of my dreams were coming true and I didn't even have to do a thing about it.
"I was sitting back and watching while everyone was falling in love with Bones and tried to sign me.
Reid's label, Epic Records, was one of them, so she caught up with Tricky Stewart (who produced Rihanna's Umbrella, Beyonce's Singe Ladies and Justin Bieber's Baby) who took her into the Epic offices where she run into Reid.
"And he said: 'Sing for me.' And I sang Bones, and about six hours later I signed the deal. I didn't even leave the building, he locked down the whole building, he was late for The X Factor, Simon Cowell was giving him crap.
"And I saw the episode and wanted everybody to know that L.A. Reid was late because he was signing me. That was pretty awesome," she says.
"I always hoped I would end up in that situation, I didn't know it would be that spontaneous and organic but I really wanted to sign with a major label in America."
Since moving to the United States Blackmore is no stranger to hanging out with the world's superstars.
"I had a really fun time with Will.I.Am," she says casually.
"I was in the studio working with somebody else, but they didn't show up and I was sitting in a room just by myself, singing and writing and jamming and he walked past the hallway and he heard me singing and he came in and said: 'Who are you?' And I said 'Ginny Blackmore' and he said: 'You wanna write with me?' and I said 'Sure' and went with him to his studio and he and I just hung out for a couple of days and wrote some songs and talked about music and had the best time and he was so much fun."
Blackmore couldn't be happier at the moment.
"My mum told me, if you have a lifelong dream, don't share it with too many people because they will probably crush it and I would end up hurt.
"But I shared it with a few people that I trusted and they knew what I wanted and I just wouldn't talk about it all the time."
And now, 10 years later, it seems that most of her dreams have indeed come true.
- © Fairfax NZ News