A birthday gift gave him his first guitar aged just eight years old and set him onto the path towards stardom.

A string of awards later and Ben Howard is a big name not just in the UK and Ireland but on an international playing field.

After attending King Edward VI Community College and Torquay Boys' Grammar School he began studying Journalism at University College Falmouth, Cornwall.

The community's support of his music led him to leave education just six months prior to his graduation in order to focus entirely on his music career.

Building his reputation throughout Cornwall and Devon by contact with the surfing scene, his melodic folk with its beach influence was a massive hit.

How long have you been singing/ performing and how did you get started?

I started playing the cello aged 10, and have always enjoyed singing at home and at school.

He was raised by musical parents who exposed him to their favourite records from singer-songwriter artists from the 1960s and 1970s at an early age, such as John Martyn, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel, by whom he was strongly influenced. In an interview with American Songwriter, he stated that when he was a kid he started playing guitar because he liked to put words together and make stuff up. So your standard little love songs turned into your standard adolescent love songs.

I think you start getting your own take on things when you're a late teen.

After studying music at York University I worked in the English National Opera’s education department and at the weekends, I gigged with Ben Howard who was starting to play pubs and open mic nights in London and Falmouth where he was studying.

When the music kicked off with him, I quit the opera and joined him and our producer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Bond to record our debut album Every Kingdom.

His reputation grew around Cornwall and Devon, and soon spread to other areas of the UK.