When Ruby Macintosh lost her job just before Christmas last year she had to turn to busking to put a festive dinner on the table.
But just seven months on she is in the process of recording her first album and is set to perform for Prince Charles, alongside opera star Lesley Garrett, at Harewood House on Monday.
The 26-year-old who has always wanted a music career, said the best thing she has ever done is turn to His Royal Highness’s charity, The Prince’s Trust for help.
She said: “I was working 50 hours a week in a coffee shop and handed my notice in after getting a new job that would give me more time to concentrate on my music, but it fell through just before I was about to start.
“I rang my family in tears telling them that I wouldn’t be able to afford to get them any presents, and in desperation to try and help pay for Christmas dinner, I decided to go busking. I made £200 in a day and it made me realise that music really was what I should be concentrating on.”
In January she contacted the Prince’s Trust, which put her on its Enterprise Programme to help her develop a business plan for her music career, and gave her a grant to help her buy new equipment for gigs and pay for her 1950s-inspired album to be recorded.
She said: “My family is poor, so there is no way we would have been able to pay.”
The event at Harewood House is for supporters of the youth charity, which helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track.
Miss Macintosh said: “I was excited to be invited to perform at Harewood House let alone for Prince Charles or with Lesley Garrett. I can’t believe this is happening to me.
“I am so grateful to the charity – and this event will help raise money for other people who find themselves in the position I was in. I am a completely different person now to the one who picked up the phone. I’ve got my confidence back and have lots to look forward to.”