Dudley's The Voice winner returns to the spotlight with debut album

The Voice winner Blessing Annatoria, has announced the release of her debut album – just five months after winning the hit show.

Blessing Annatoria, from Dudley, is set to release her debut album in April
Blessing Annatoria, from Dudley, is set to release her debut album in April

She wowed millions of fans across the UK and was crowned the ninth winner of the ITV show last year, after being coached by Olly Murs.

Now the 18-year-old vocal powerhouse from Dudley - formerly known as Blessing Chitapa - will become the youngest ever winner in the show’s history to release an album with Count My Blessings in April.

And the former Kingswinford School pupil – whose parents are pastors at Cornerstone Fellowship International Church in West Bromwich – will be back on The Voice UK for its final next weekend to launch the first single from the album called, I Smile.

Blessing Chitapa in the Cornerstone Fellowship International church, West Bromwich

At the time of her TV whirlwind Blessing was living in Russells Hall, Dudley, with her parents, sister and brother, studying chemistry, biology and physics online at Dudley College.

She loved singing in church but had plans to study biomedical sciences at university.

But then, in just one night, the teen’s entire life was flipped upside down when she was crowned the winner – sending her soaring into the spotlight.

Her debut album will be a gospel-infused record featuring a selection of 14 songs, ‘representing all facets of Blessing Annatoria as an artist’.

Blessing Annatoria, from Dudley, is set to release her debut album in April

The album’s first single I Smile, an uplifting and empowering interpretation of the Kirk Franklin original, is out now.

Blessing said: “This album is a complete blend of songs that I connected with from a young age and also songs that I listen to recently.

“I’m so privileged to have been able to put my own twist on hymns that I listened to when I was back in Zimbabwe. Who would have known that years later I would be releasing them as my own music.

“I also had the honour of having the Kingdom Choir help me out with the backing vocals on my album.

Blessing Annatoria, from Dudley, is set to release her debut album in April

“I want people to feel uplifted and I really hope the songs and hymns will give people strength to pick themselves up and be happy again."

Blessing will perform her debut single live at The Voice Final on Saturday, March 20.

Speaking about creating the album during the pandemic, Blessing added: “Working during the pandemic has been a blessing. I am so grateful that even through what’s going on I still had the opportunity to be working, as some didn’t.

“However, I do wish I could have had my friends with me throughout the recording process and I wish I could have met all the people involved in creating this artwork.

Blessing Chitapa in the Cornerstone Fellowship International church, West Bromwich

“I want to say thank you to my big sister Sharon who has been by my side from start to finish and who continues to support me each and every step of this journey.

“I am also so grateful to my mother and father for being proud of me and giving every resource and ounce of support I needed for me to be here today.”

The album will be available on April 30.

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