Durham Academy music teacher by day, professional singer by night. And now Elizabeth South has a duet with Vince Gill on a song she co-wrote.

South isn’t signed to a label and doesn’t have a manager, so she wasn’t expecting much when Smiley sent Gill a recording of “I Love You” to see if he’d be interested in singing on it. To her delighted surprise, Gill – a Country Music Hall of Famer who has won 20 Grammy Awards and has sold 22 million albums over the past three decades – said yes.

“That stuff never happens to me,” South says. “I was completely shocked: ‘What?! You mean he actually responded?!’ I told him that in the studio, ‘I did not think you would respond.’ And he said, ‘But I did.’”