If the name is new to many, it won’t be to an ever-growing band of loyal fans, and to a plethora of some of the biggest names in music. Like a particularly well-kept secret, Helen Boulding has been busy winning over some of our favourite musicians and public alike in the last couple of years, and in true DIY style, without the fanfare that would normally accompany the launch of a new singer/songwriter.When your musical CV reads like a rather eclectic Who’s Who of rock royalty from the last three decades however, the cat was bound to get out of the bag eventually. As a performer, she’s just got back from Europe where she supported Bryan Ferry on tour. As a singer, she guests on the title track from The Orb’s new album ‘The Dream’, which she also co-wrote. Other songwriting collaborations include Simon Tong (The Good, The Bad & The Queen, The Verve), Squeeze’s Chris Difford, and Pink Floyd’s Rick Wright, the latter of whom was persuaded out retirement by la Boulding for the collaboration. The legend that is Youth stepped in to produce her debut album. And Bryan Adams helped her out by shooting the album cover in his new incarnation as a top photographer. Not bad for a beginner.

The secret to attracting the help of such an illustrious group of supporters? Simply word-of-mouth on the musical grapevine.

Someone heard her stuff and got in touch, who passed on her album to someone else, who introduced her to someone else. No social-networking websites, no major record label budgets, no famous familial connections. Just Helen, asking (and invariably getting) a few favours from friends.

Hailing from Sheffield, city of the moment it could be said, Helen didn’t even chase for a record deal. Taking the advice of another friend, Imogen Heap, she set up her own label, Maid In Sheffield, and releases her new single ‘Breathe’ on November 19th 2007. The album, ‘New Red Dress’, from which the single is taken, follows on Feb 11th 2008, and flags an outstanding new talent.

With a loyal core support from her hometown, her nationwide fan base is quickly catching up and - now Helen has relocated to London - was given a significant boost recently when BBC 1’s evening primetime magazine show ‘The One Show’ had to find a last-minute replacement for Rolan Bolan, who was due to perform on the show on the anniversary of his father’s untimely death.

Rolan had been held up in the U.S.A unexpectedly, and at the suggestion of presenter Adrian Chiles, who had heard some of Helen’s songs, she was invited to step in, performing Mark Bolan’s ‘Life’s A Gas’ in front of Rolan’s mum Gloria Jones.