A FORMER Salisbury student who has dreamt of becoming a professional singers has landed a record deal.

Nia Nicholls, from Fordingbridge, who completed the Level 3 music course at the Wiltshire College and University Centre's Salisbury campus in 2018, has signed a signed a two-year contract with Uniq Recording Artists.

The country and western singer and songwriter, who regularly performed in events while at the college and made a special appearance at the annual staff awards, said: “This has been a dream of mine since I was 11-years-old!

“The music industry has changed so much and there’s so much competition now it can be really hard to secure a record deal, so I really am so happy and excited for this next chapter.”

Nia, aged 20, first started performing a decade ago, performing at school talent shows, at a retirement home or church group or even at pubs and music venues as she got older.

She took her first trip to Nashville, Tennessee, when she was 13 and has been back every year performing at different well-known locations!

“My parents spent a lot of their weekends driving me to gigs and radio stations across the country so now it feels like their hard work is starting to really pay off,” she said.

Now in her final year at Bath Spa University where she is studying commercial music, Nia says she is excited about recording and releasing new music and playing more gigs and shows.

She said: “I think my signing is going to be a little different to other Uniq signings because of Covid-19 and that makes travelling around a bit more difficult. However, I am going to be recording new music and learning about marketing, publishing deals and social media. I’m going to work as hard as I can because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

During lockdown Nia spent a lot of time keeping busy to try and get noticed, hosting weekly live streams, releasing singles and taking part in radio interviews.

She added: “This has been an incredibly tough time for us musicians and it will be for quite a while, so I really wanted to make the time count.

“To have secured a record deal after gaining more followers really does feel like the cherry on top.”