Enterprising singer/songwriter Katie Buckhaven makes a welcome return to Hemel Old Town Hall this week with a tantalising preview of songs from her forthcoming album.

Katie attended St Albans High School for Girls and now works in the marketing department of University of Herts promoting performing arts events, while also working on her career as a musician.

For Katie, growing up with a dad who played in country bands and a mum who sang folk music, it was fairly inevitable that she too would take to the stage, but she has done so entirely in her own way.

“My mum was a singer in the ‘60s and chose the guitar over housework,” says Katie. “By the age of six I was making up tuneless songs and then later I learned classical guitar and piano.”

Katie’s big chance to shine came when she was on holiday aged 16.

“We used to go to France a lot and visit these cafe bars in remote areas of France and my parents urged me to get up and have a go. So I would win audiences over by playing a French song to start with and once I’d done that I could do what I want.”

Katie went on to work as a TV researcher for ITN but her desire to perform her own music proved too strong and it wasn’t long before she got her lucky break.

“At ITN I met people who had a passion for their job that I have always had for music so decided to give it a go and I sent a demo tape to Michael Parkinson’s Radio 2 show. It was a Eva Cassidy tribute CD and I didn’t expect to hear anything but then his producer turned up a one of my gigs and said ‘We’e going play you on the radio on Sunday and will promote you, now you need to get an album out”.

“So I did lots of showcases in London for Universal and Sony and decided to go with Eva Cassidy’s label Pop Records.

“It was fantastic, there I was, recording in a big barn, in a field in West Sussex and I was completely involved in the process from the design to the music. The album was out in 2005 and I was doing temp work while I built up a band. I picked up a sax from one gig and a cellist at another. The most scary gig I did was at Michael Parkinson’s pub and his son said they’d had Katie Melua and Lemarr playing the previous week.”

Now aged 33, Katie has an EP, Forever Can Wait out on her own label which was released this year, before heading straight back into the studio to start work on her album which will be showcased in Hemel.

“I’m now promoting myself on MySpace and have complete control over what I’m doing - the songs are in place for the new album and I’m gearing up for the festival circuit."

Katie numbers among her influences Canadian singer songwriter Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, Natalie Merchant, Van Morrison, John Martin, Joan Baez, Dusty Springfield - "people who add a bit of drama to their performances", she says.

“My music is acoustic based and emotional with subtle electronica. It’s mostly originals but I do some covers, at Hemel I’ll be doing The Crying Game, but in a Velvet Underground kind of way.”

Katie Buckhaven comes to The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead on Friday, November 27 at 8pm.

Tickets: 01442 228091, www.oldtownhall.co.uk (£6-£8)