A BUSKER from County Durham who was braced for big things after singing her way onto a television talent show has released her debut single.

Chloe Castro, of Spennymoor, impressed judges when she appeared on BBC's The Voice last year but dramatically quit the show due to mental health reasons.

The 21-year-old has since come to terms with what was then a recent diagnosis of bipolar and now she is hoping for success with her first track, Kerbside, which goes live today (Friday, December 1).

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Miss Castro said: "After The Voice I took some time out for myself and for my mental health. I've been looking after myself and doing things that make happy.

"I've done little gigs and a few weddings but mainly I've been in the studio to give people something to listen to rather than just coming to see me."

The musician, who busked as a regular on Saddler Street, in Durham City, has battled with her mental health for a long time and had been diagnosed with bipolar shortly before going on TV.

"I had a lot of things on my plate and was coming to terms with things," she added. "I was devastated to have to pull out of the show but felt it was something I had to do.

"It was probably the hardest decision I'd ever had to make but I'm hoping this is the start of everything."

Miss Castro has lived independently since she was 16, spending time homeless supported by friends and in hostels, but after leaving the BBC programme secured a flat of her own round the corner from her mum.

And it is in her spare room, now converted into a studio, that she has been working with producer Jake Karno on her single and an album's worth of material - which she hopes to release as an EP next year.

"I've just been writing every day and working towards launching my career as an artist, independently," said Miss Castro. "I'm not signed by a label, I'm doing it myself so learning things myself.

"It's really exciting to see what reaction I get and it's a great chance to connect with my fans."

Kerbside is available to download from today and a music video will follow in the "not too distant future".

"It's about previous relationships and not making the same mistakes again," she said. "It will be different to what people would expect from me.

"I'm usually just acoustic - me and my guitar - but I'm trying to branch out from that and work on my vocals.

"I've gone with a soul vibe with a hip hop and R&B elements. I've tried to stay true to the soul and jazz I love but I've always loved rapping, so there's some of that on there too. I'm hoping it will get people dancing."

To find Miss Castro on social media and to listen to the song visit chloecastro.co.uk