Corynne Elliot - known as Speech Debelle - who won the coveted Mercury Music Prize this week, has revealed the trials and tribulations she had to overcome before finding success.
The 26-year-old's childhood troubles began when her father walked out on her family when she was just six.
Corynne was later expelled from school and drifted into drug use and depression.
While living in a hostel, the youngster penned songs about the rift with her mother and life on the streets of London.
And it's these heartfelt tracks that led to the production of one of this year's most critically acclaimed albums.
Titled Speech Therapy, Corynne's compilation won her £20,000 which she plans to use to set up her own record label.
"It's not enough to go wild on. I've got bills to pay," she says.
And it seems the young star's career is off to a good start.
Since her Mercury Prize win, sales of her album online have risen more than 4,000 per cent.
"I feel so good. It feels better than I imagined. I don't get emotional - I'm emotional," Corynne says.
Photo: ę Rex