A musician from Darlington has achieved international recognition after winning two awards in the USA.

Hayley McKay is a singer-songwriter and she is over the moon to have won Gold for International Single of the Year with her song Wild West and Bronze for International Emerging Artist at the International Singer-Songwriter Awards in Atlanta, USA.

There are 15,000 members in the International Singer-Songwriters Association, meaning Hayley had some tough competition.

Fresh from Glastonbury in June, the North East singer was taken aback when she found out online that she had won last Saturday (August 6).

The Northern Echo: Hayley McKay won UK Entertainer of the Year at Hot Country TV Awards in Ireland earlier this yearHayley McKay won UK Entertainer of the Year at Hot Country TV Awards in Ireland earlier this year

Read more: Success story as Darlington singer-songwriter gets through to finals of award

The Wild West singer had spent the day enjoying the sun and chilling out and was elated when she found out.

Hayley said: “I was just over the moon, still am! I’d been enjoying the sunshine that day, I’d been for a long walk and when I got home and saw online that I’d won, I got the champagne out!”

“Obviously it would’ve been amazing to go to Atlanta but I’ll be going next year as I’ll get to be a judge and present an award. I’ll try to go out there for a month and organise some gigs and make the most of the trip.

“Since I put the news on social media yesterday (Monday, August 8), I’ve had hundreds of messages from people congratulating me and it’s been a bit overwhelming but really lovely.”

Read more: Darlington's Hayley McKay receives prestigious title at international music awards

The first stage of the awards was an online public vote where friends, family, supporters and fans of Hayley’s music got her through to the finals.

At the next stage, a panel of ten judges, including radio presenters and music producers, in Atlanta decided who should win for each category.

As the panel did not get to meet Hayley, the decision was based purely on her music.

Known for her work in 2019 with Nashville songwriter, Bill Diluigi on her song Thinking About Last Night, and her 2020 success with her single Breathe, co-written by Newcastle’s Hattie Murdoch, Hayley has been growing her international audience steadily.

Hayley also teaches music to children at Stillington Music Group in North Yorkshire and adults at The Forum Music Centre in Darlington.

Next on the horizon for the Breathe singer is Hardwick Live where she’ll be playing the Introducing Stage on Saturday, August 20.

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