Video: Suffolk YouTube sensation Ria Ritchie close to record contract

IT all began in the humble surroundings of her bedroom.

Armed with just her voice and a computer she began uploading her music to YouTube, the popular video website.

Now, after four years and seven million online views of her videos, Ria Ritchie is on the verge of netting a record deal.

The 23-year-old, who will play a gig in her hometown of Lowestoft on Friday, says she is “living her dream”.

Her online stardom even prompted UK chart-topper Plan B to get in touch and she says he has been a big influence on her.

The singer-songwriter, who describes her music as new-school soul, has already signed a publishing deal with EMI and has been in talks with “lots of different labels” about a record deal.

She said: “I like to think thay they [the record labels] like my music and I’m going the right way with things.

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“It’s really exciting, there’s not a day when I’m not doing something with music.

“It’s been my dream and I’m living it at the moment,” she added. “I’m lucky to be working with the people I am and I just want to continue with that.”

Ria, who lives with parents Russell and Jayne in Corton, said she was working on building a repertoire of material for her debut album, which will be produced by Ben Drew, aka Plan B.

The former Benjamin Britten High School pupil said she wanted him to feature on her record but that she had not got round to asking him yet.

“We bounce off each other,” she added. “In the last year I have learnt so much from him. My songwriting has improved so much.

She said her dad – who had influenced her musical direction by playing soul and Motown records while she was growing up – would often encourage her to sing at Christmas and special occasions. But it wasn’t until she won a talent contest in Year 9 at Benjamin Britten High that she grew in confidence.

Ria comes from a talented family. Her brother, Reece Ritchie, is an actor, while her parents run Lowestoft-based Body Chef, a low-calorie food delivery service.

Ria will be at Winelodge in Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, from 7pm.