A former X-Factor contestant and world karaoke champion has opened up on the challenges of being a solo artist during the Covid-19 pandemic, after she took to the streets of Carlisle and wowed passers by with her voice.

Jenny Ball, who lives in Maryport, has a string of singing experiences to draw on, including having competed in X-Factor 2017, winning the World Karaoke Championship in 2019, and claiming the top prize for Pride Stars 2019.

However, she admits busking has been a fairly new and - sometimes - daunting experience for her.

"I've done Carlisle a few times now.

"It's a bit scary at first, but ten minutes in I'm enjoying it.

Everything was teed up for Jenny, whose on-stage performances had earned her interest from television producers in Los Angeles.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic came and, like with many performers, turned her life "completely upside down".

She said: "I hit a massive low personally, and just thought 'what am I going to do?'

"I spiralled into a deep depression."

Having led a career founded on a love for music, Jenny said she initially found it difficult to find a temporary solution after the pandemic brought the music industry to a standstill.

She added: "I left school, I went into the gigging world and I have sang all my life.

"That's been my career. That's what I put my soul and effort into completely.

"It was really strange."

With the support of her loved ones, Jenny got back on her feet and - 12 certificates later - found work with community care service, G-Care.

Jenny, who still gigs alongside her work, said helping others and entertaining them with the odd Frank Sinatra song has given her "purpose" again.

"It's really kept me going," said Jenny.

"It's so rewarding and now that it looks like we're coming out the other side, I'm still going to do my care during the week alongside my gigs.

"I never thought I would be able to do it. It's the complete opposite of what I've been used to. It brought me back down to earth.

"Sometimes I go in and we're singing. I'm singing to 90-year-olds and we're having a little dance.

"Seeing them happy, laughing and singing along just makes the day.

"They say I'm a good help and that I'm good at looking after them, but what they don't realise is that they've helped me.

"They've given me a purpose and helped me get out of bed every day."

"It's given me my purpose back again."

Singing from her own doorstep to lift her neighbours' spirits also kept Jenny occupied during the pandemic.

Crowds would "come out of their houses and cheer", and her rendition of 'We Are the World' even went viral. 

See Jenny's work on her Facebook page