A Faringdon-raised musician’s former tutors spoke of their pride at seeing their one-time student hit the big time.

S1mba – real name Leonard Rwodzi – released his single Rover last November. But after the song went viral on video app Tik Tok it was re-released by a major record label in March.

And last night the 21-year-old’s hit was number three in the UK Top 40 singles chart, behind Lady Gaga’s Rain on Me and rapper DaBaby’s single Rockstar.

S1mba told the BBC: "I've been listening to Lady Gaga since I was eight and now I'm in the charts competing with her for number one.

"It's the most amazing, satisfying feeling that something I love is going well."

The talented musician cut his teeth at New College as a digital music production student.

Lecturer Stuart Rowe said: “It’s no massive surprise to us that S1mba has made such a success of his music as he’s always shown great dedication, determination and passion for developing as a musician.  

“He’s in the rare position of having a strong understanding of music theory, is a great multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and has a great ear for production.”

Will Brown, another lecturer at the college, added: “This time last year Leonard was simultaneously handing in his Level 3 coursework, whilst touring the UK and promoting his music.  It’s such a joy to see his hard work and talent pay off and watch his success sky rocket the way it has been.”

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New College Picture: DAVE COX

Zimbabwe-born S1mba moved to the UK when he was nine after his dad got a head gardener's job at a country house near Faringdon.

He told the BBC: "Faringdon wasn't a multicultural place. Me, my sister and my cousin were the only black people at the school."

In 2018, then 18-year-old S1mba won a following with song Plan. The music video was shot around Swindon, including at the designer outlet and outside the County Ground. A "behind the scenes" video showed the song being recorded at the music studio at New College.

“When I was going around Swindon people were stopping in cars, shouting my name,” his record label reported.

The Plan was recorded at Swindon's New College