X-Factor star Zoe Devlin started singing at Peterborough school

Former city school pupil Zoe Devlin impressed judges on the X-Factor. Photo: Tom Dymond/ITV/PA Wire.
Former city school pupil Zoe Devlin impressed judges on the X-Factor. Photo: Tom Dymond/ITV/PA Wire.
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The proud mum of a Peterborough-born X-Factor hopeful has backed her daughter to carve out a successful musical career.

Millions of people tuned into the popular ITV show on Saturday to watch singer/songwriter Zoe Devlin impress judges including Gary Barlow with her rendition of Billie Holliday’s ‘God Bless the Child’.

Zoe, sporting a bright yellow dress and a flower in her hair was taking part in the show’s auditions for its boot camp stage, which sees the contestants put through their paces by the judges.

Gary Barlow told Zoe: “You made a retro song sound really contemporary, that was great!”

Unbeknown to many viewers is the fact that the 28-year-old mother-of-one spent the first ten years of her life in Peterborough, where her artistic talents were originally noticed.

Zoe, who lived in Netherton and Wansford, before moving to Islington in London, was a pupil at Thorpe Primary School where she regularly sung and performed in concerts.

By the age of 13 she had already taught herself to play the guitar and had penned a number of songs.

Zoe’s mum Nolia Devlin (65), who used to sing in pubs and clubs in Peterborough in the 70s and 80s said she was immensely proud of her.

Mrs Devlin,who used to run a wine bar in Fitzwilliam Street in Peterborough in the early 90’s, said: “Zoe is a talented young woman who just loves performing, she has the ability to achieve great things. I must admit that seeing her on the X-Factor and knowing millions of people were watching her was a very special moment and Zoe is so excited about it.”

Reminiscing about their past in Peterborough, Mrs Devlin said: “Zoe and I spent many happy years there and it was at Thorpe School where Zoe got the performing bug and went on stage.

“Peterborough is very different to London, it has much more of a village feel to it where people know each other, or at least it did when we lived there. Zoe and I still have many friends who live in Peterborough and we do pop back there every now and again. We hope that anyone who knows or remembers Zoe supports her on X-Factor.”

Three years ago Zoe had a daughter, Dusty, named after legendary singer Dusty Springfield, and has since juggled being a single mum with her music career.

Mrs Devlin added: “Zoe works really hard and is determined to succeed, she is singing most nights of the week in and around London.

“With a young child to support, that is not easy, but for Dusty’s sake she wants to succeed hopefully X-Factor will open some doors.”