THE golden buzzer moment on America’s Got Talent that catapulted one of her students onto the international music scene isn’t the only highlight of Julie Miles’ year.

For the voice coach behind a new generation of northern talent is about to step in front of the television cameras herself.

When I managed to bag a slot in her hectic diary, she’d just got back from another stint in Manchester and its BBC television centre.

“I’m not allowed to name the show at the minute,” she said, “but it’s a prime-time television show that will be aired on a Saturday night - I’m one of the judges on it.

“We’ve filmed a celebrity special that will be shown around Christmas time and then the actual series starts in the new year.”

National recognition has been a long time coming for the one-time girl band singer and fixture of the cabaret circuit.

At the age of 18, in the 1980s, she was a member of an all-girl trio called Andy’s Gang. “The other two of us were never keen on that name!” she laughs. “But we did travel all over this country and abroad. That was the start of my professional career.”

The ‘other two’, namely her and friend Mandy Gallagher, later hived off to form their own duo. The Pet Shop Boys were going great guns at the time, so they christened themselves the West End Girls, reflecting where they lived in Newcastle at the time too.

Two or three years after that, Julie went solo, performing in social clubs, renowned venues such as the now long-gone Mayfair in Newcastle, and big hotels in Tenerife and mainland Spain.

All the while, she held down a succession of full-time jobs that included Dior account manager at Fenwick’s, advertising sales for Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle (where she met her husband Neil, now of 24 years standing) and running a sales and service department for the Sage software company.

Responsible for a team of managers at Sage, she went on quite a few leadership and mentoring courses there, unaware of the benefits she would reap in an entirely different field.

After a voluntary redundancy package came up that was ‘too good to say no to’, she suddenly found herself casting around for something new. “I was thinking about property development,” she said.

“However, Neil booked me a surprise singing lesson with David Grant, who was a star in the 1980s. David and his wife, Carrie, were judges on Pop Idol and Fame Academy.

“It was actually my husband who said ‘have you never thought about becoming a singing teacher?’, but I thought that sounded like a crazy idea – I had no qualifications.

“But I had that lesson with David and I loved it so much, I started going up and down to London for a two hour training session with him every month. Then one day he said ‘have you never thought about becoming a voice coach? ‘”

Time has since proved husband and mentor right. She has a rare talent for bringing out the talent in others, no more so than the shy, gauche teenager from Hartlepool (??) who blew Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell away on America’s Got Talent.

Courtney Hadwin, who Mandel compared to 1960s American soul great Janis Joplin, has been doing the 70 mile round trip to Julie’s Vocal Ovations studio in High Mickley once a fortnight for the past three years.

While it was Mandel who hit the golden buzzer that fired the thirteen-year-old straight from the first audition into the live rounds, it is Cowell who is preparing to make her a star – he has signed her to his Syco Music label.

For readers who didn’t see the show, it’s worth looking up Courtney Hadwin on YouTube. The shock and awe moment the young strip of a thing let rip with her version of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle is truly sensational.

Julie was there in person, in the VIP box with the contestants’ family and friends, watching her protegee. Courtney made it all the way through to the finals, the people’s choice to take the crown – right until the day before the big day, that is.

A negative social media campaign, trolling Courtney as a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a seasoned child performer who had appeared a couple of years previously on The Voice Kids and therefore not the shy, inexperienced child being portrayed on AGT.

“It was all rubbish, she is genuinely very shy until she gets up there,” said Julie. “And Courtney’s style is like Marmite too – it draws a strong reaction. You either love it or hate it.”

Courtney ultimately came in sixth, but that’s done her prospects no harm whatsoever. With a recording contract under her belt and appearances lined up in the Champions show in Las Vegas that features the winners/the best the ‘Got Talent’ franchise has produced worldwide (including Susan Boyle), Courtney is on her way.

“She’s going to be a superstar, I’ve got no doubt,” said Julie. “Calvin Klein is already very interested in her – she does have that Kate Moss look.”

She isn’t the only rising star on Julie’s books. There’s Channy Thompson, who has headlined at both the O2 Academy and Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle. There’s Olivia Lawson, who was picked by Rita Ora to join her team on The Voice, and there’s the three who have appeared on The Voice Kids. And there’s Sam Lavery, who was on X Factor two years ago.

“I do believe this is the job I was born to do,” says Julie.

“Whilst I do still love to perform and would love to be singing as a career, I do accept my chance has probably gone.

“My job now is to give that chance to other people and doing that gives me such a sense of pride.

“When I see my students who previously had little confidence or were unable to hit certain notes or couldn’t engage with an audience suddenly able to get up there on a stage and perform, well, to know I helped them do that is amazing.

“That’s what drives me.”