ONE of her first tastes of stardom was treading the boards in a primary school Nativity play in Tranent.
But now budding songstress Emma Morton is lighting up television screens in a more glamorous location as she sings her heart out on the nail-biting live shows of the Italian version of The X Factor.
The 28-year-old has now reached the final 11 acts on the hit TV talent show after moving to the country five years ago.
Emma’s vocal talent is fondly remembered by former primary school teacher Teresa Sharp, who recalls the East Lothian performer’s star turn as Mary in the St Martin’s Primary School Nativity play aged just ten.
Mrs Sharp, who retired earlier this year, said: “She was a super singer and she was always a really bubbly little girl.
“It doesn’t seem like she has changed much. She seems to be doing really well.”
She added: “Emma played Mary in our Nativity play and was a great singer, which is why she got the part.”
The singing mother-of-one, who also attended Preston Lodge High School, secured her place in the competition during Thursday’s live show with a stunning rendition of the 1990s ballad I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt.
She also garnered plaudits for earlier performances of Pop Porno by Italian pop duo Il Genio and Robin Thicke’s controversial number one single Blurred Lines.
During the audition stages, Emma impressed British pop singer Mika, who is acting as a judge in the competition for the first time.
The Grace Kelly singer described listening to Emma perform as being “transported to another world” before choosing her to be one of his acts on the show.
Speaking during the X Factor, Emma said: “I always sung to myself, but I’ve also had long periods when I could not sing anything because I felt intimidated by other people’s judgments, which were often negative.
“It’s been five years since I started singing with the support I’ve found here in Italy.
“Maybe the song has always been part of me, I just found my voice later.”
Emma has lived in the Italian village of Barga for five years, which has been dubbed “the most Scottish town in Italy”.
The moniker has been attributed to the fact that many of the town’s citizens emigrated to Glasgow in the 19th and 20th centuries but their descendants are now returning to their Italian home.
Award-winning Paisley singer Paolo Nutini can claim roots in the medieval walled town, as his father, Alfredo, hails from Barga.
Emma made a name for herself singing in the town with her Italian partner, Luca Giovacchini – with whom she has a one-year-old daughter, Billie – performing classic Italian songs from the 1930s and 1940s.
But the songstress, who speaks fluent Italian, also takes inspiration from a string of icons, claiming her favourite artists include Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye and Led Zeppelin’s lead vocalist, Robert Plant.
X Factor Italy airs every Thursday night on Sky’s Italian language channel, Sky Uno.