DUDLEY'S Blessing Chitapa has said she plans to work "even harder" as she embarks on a career in music after winning TV's The Voice UK.

The 18-year-old now plans to release new music following her victory on the ITV show on Saturday night.

Chitapa told the PA news agency: "I think now that I have finished the show and I have won and I have been given such a huge opportunity to be able to put music out there, it is just time to work even harder than I did on the show.

"Just to make sure that people are smiling every day, listening to music in their ears.

"We are going to be working on songs, albums. I am so excited."

The singer was mentored by Olly Murs during the programme.

"Olly told me just after the show ended, the journey actually just started," she said.

Chitapa, who lives in Dudley but is originally from Zimbabwe, sang Robbie Williams' Angels and James Bay's Hold Back The River in the final.

The latter song was a duet with Murs.

She saw off competition from Jonny Brooks, who was coached by Sir Tom Jones, in the final.

Describing the moment she won, Chitapa said: "I just remember explosion around me and in my head."

She added: "It is great to feel like I am not only representing Birmingham and Dudley, I'm representing a whole nation, so it is amazing."

Discussing her performance with Murs, she said: "It was great just to share the stage with Olly.

"I think our voices blended so well, which I didn't expect because me and Olly are two different singers."

The young singer had to keep her victory under wraps from all but her close family until the pre-recorded final aired on television.

Chitapa was chosen as the victor following a vote by the programme's virtual audience.

She said she had to keep a "neutral" face when people asked her how the programme went.

There was a long break in filming of the series this year because of coronavirus.

However, the programme returned to television screens in October following a seven-month break.