He’s never had a leg up from a record company, radio play, videos or a vast marketing budget – but Nathan Carter has still made it to the top.

Since he left school at 16 to follow his dream of becoming a singer he’s been working relentlessly, paying his dues in the pubs and clubs of his native Merseyside before making it big in Ireland.

Still only 24, he has conquered the Emerald Isle with his winning formula of boyish good looks, the gift of the gab – and a golden voice.

Now he’s back on home turf, with two Emerald Isle chart-topping albums under his belt, and aiming to repeat the trick in the UK with his trademark blend of country music with a folk twist.

That means a mix of pop favourites from the last 50 years mixed up with country classics and a few folk favourites.

Born into an Anglo-Irish family in Liverpool, Nathan was given an accordion when he was five.

Every summer, the family went to Ireland to visit family and friends and Nathan competed in singing and music competitions there. “I loved it, playing in sessions in pubs since I was ten years old, alongside the grown-ups.

“My mum and dad wanted me to stay at school but my nan convinced them to let me leave. She said she would drive me to gigs in her Nissan Micra and she still does.

“She’s 74 now and she’s still doing it, and selling the CDs at my gigs.”

“I have gigged since I was 16 and I could count the number of weekends I have had off on the fingers of two hands. But I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s a blessing to do what you love and make a living from it.”

Nathan, who has just signed with Decca Records and has a new album out soon, will be at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre on Monday night from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £23.50, you can get full details of availability from the box office on 01438 363200 or online at www.gordon-craig.co.uk.