QUESTION: What do record-producer Rick Rubin, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and American rapper Jay-Z have in common?
Answer: They’re all fans of borough girl Clare Maguire, a singer-songwriter who is tipped to hit the big-time this year.
With her debut album due for release this month, the Solihull News grabbed some time with the rising star.
“I can remember singing before speaking, it was always the main thing I wanted to do,” says the 23-year-old.
“All my family used to listen to a lot of music, so I suppose it was something I was born with. It’s in the blood.”
But the former St Martin’s pupil said she was fired up by a teacher who told her to forget about the “pipe dream”.
“I always say that I should thank him,” she tells us. “It made me really determined, very passionate, about carrying on.”
Leaving school at 17, she tried to make a name for herself - did she ever think of trying for a show like The X Factor?
“I had a lot of friends giving me the application forms and encouraging me to audition,” she says. “I totally understand why people believe it’s the easiest road to make it.
“But I felt if I went on a show like that, I wouldn’t get a say over things like videos and artwork and that was important to me.”
Instead Clare took a day-job in Top Shop, Solihull, and started to upload her music online.
“I think the internet is a massive advantage. It’s another way that people can get themselves out there.”
Soon the music industry was hammering on her door and at just 19-years-old she left for London.
“It was a daunting experience, I don’t suppose I realised at the time because I was obsessed with the music.
“Writing can be quite an isolated experience, I was in a strange city and didn’t know anyone.
“I think it’s really important that we get more artists from outside London, there’s so many talented people in Birmingham.”
Now Clare’s gearing up for the album launch and the day after speaking to us, unveiled her first headline tour.
Already there have been comparisons with acts ranging from Annie Lennox to Florence and the Machine.
“It’s very flattering to be put in the same bracket as any of those people,” she says.
“But at the same time I want to make my music as unique as possible. People ask if I’m feeling under pressure, but really I’m just happy and pleased people have heard my music and like it.”
Clare’s new single - The Last Dance - is out on Sunday, February 20.