As a kid, Leanne Jar-vis always tried to imagine what it would be like to be famous.

She says: “I wanted to be a successful singer and knew fame would go along with that. But no one can prepare you for being recognised.”

Not to say that Leanne is not enjoying appearing on the Voice, one of the biggest TV music talent competitions, and being mentored by multi-million selling artist “I love it,” she laughs.

“I used to sing in front of the mirror all the time and used to practise my signature just in case. “Now people are actually asking for my autograph. I can’t believe it!”

Leanne, 25, is on a bit of an adrenaline high when we meet for a coffee in Leigh, having performed at several local schools in a matter of weeks, including Shoebury, Chase High, Bournes Greens, Thorpe Greenways and West Leigh.

She doesn’t have any management looking after her and organised the performances in the schools herself. Leanne fitted in one performance before our chat and had another lined up for the afternoon.

In person, she is a pretty whirlwind of blonde and pink hair, a polka-dot dress playsuit and fur coat.

She first appeared on the Voice in March, when her performance of Stay With Me Baby wowed the panel of judges, including Essex girl Jessie J, lead singer of the Script Danny O’Donoghue and Welsh legend Tom Jones.

All four judges turned around during her ‘blind’ audition, but she chose

She saw off opera singers Carla and Barbara in the last battle round and there is just one more which will get her through to secure her place in the next live round of the competition.

The pressure has got to her at times. “There is quite a bit of pressure, but you don’t really question it, you just get on with it,” says Leanne.

“I did have a mini breakdown in one of the rehearsals after I had been picked. I looked around and saw and was singing to him and it hit me where I was and what it meant to me.

“I started crying and couldn’t stop. I had kept the pressure inside up until that point.” It’s not surprising seeing how many years of her life Leanne has dedicated to pursuing a career in the industry.

Born in Rochford to dad Dave and mum Jackie, Leanne knew she could sing early on but did not have formal training until later.

She says: “I would sit listening to Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey and try to mimic their voices.

“If I couldn’t get a note, I would get annoyed with myself. I didn’t realise then that I was training myself. It didn’t feel like a chore to me. “My friend Jade and I at Chase High School started putting on shows in Southend when we were 14 and that was the first time I had done anything like that.” Leanne was certain about the career she wanted to pursue, but indecisive about how to get there.

She had stints at studying performing arts at SEEVIC College, aged 16, Tiffany’s in Leigh and then the Vocal Institute in London.

Leanne says: “I knew I wanted to be a singer and I knew in my gut the right path to choose.

“Luckily I have a knack of landing on my feet. “I felt bad about leaving the Vocal Institute in London after nine months, because my parents had given me money after re-mortgaging their house towards it and I paid the rest through working. But I knew it was the right decision for me.”

Leanne has always been a grafter when it comes to working and having left home at 19, she supported herself financially. Leanne had a host of bar and call centre jobs and says: “I knew in my heart I wanted to sing for a living and so I didn’t feel real loyalty to the jobs. They were a way to pay the rent and get by.

“I was also a live-in nanny for a while for a family in Westcliff and we are still close. I started to get down, because I was not performing at all and that was all I wanted to do.”

There is something about Leanne. She is not jaded by the industry, but she has an air of being streetwise about her.

She says: “When the Voice came along, it was suddenly a genuine opportunity for me. I didn’t want to be a pub singer forever and I have had so many promises made to me in the business that have fallen through.”

Leanne, who now lives in Westcliff with her mum, was in a band called the Nation Band before joining a Girls Aloud tribute act at 22.

She says: “I got a job, passed my driving test, bought a car, got a PA system and a laptop, so I could start gigging.

“I ticked all the things off the list and felt I had got myself together. The gigging was great experience and I have performed all over, including some dodgy places.

" I remember one in Canning Town that was particularly bad. It was a stag party of all men and one was being abusive, swearing. I got him on stage and made him repeat what he had said.

"He said sorry and everyone laughed. It taught me how to handle situations and take control.”

Leanne was landlady at Leigh’s Carlton pub and planned to go travelling, but when that didn't work out, an opportunity on the Voice arose.

Despite her audition for the Voice going down a storm, Leanne was really ill at the time.

She says: “I was so ill the day of the competition. I had a respiratory infection and could hear a raspy sound when I sang. I was determined for that not to be the reason I didn’t get through. I think it helped, because it gave me something to fight against.”

Now she is enjoying being part of the show and working with

She says: “ is a nutter, but he is so intelligent. He talks in riddles and does not say things the way other people do, which I love.

“The press have said they don’t spend enough time with the contestants, but he has an album to promote, so he is busy.”

She now has a lot of support, including her train driver dad Dave, who drives c2c services between Shoebury and Fenchurch Street. Each day he gives Leanne a plug on his Tannoy message.

She says: “Most people love it! I always get loads of Tweets on the days that he does. I’ve gone from 200 followers to 4,000.”

Now the former Chase High School pupil is on the show, she has a few more things she would like to tick off her list.

She says: “My next goal would be a record deal. I would like to tick that one off.

“It would also be great to have a management deal, so I could have support with my schedule. “But at the moment, I am just enjoying everything that is happening.”