Serving up a top 10: Former Sunderland takeaway worker Karen Harding reaches number seven in the charts

DANCE SUCCESS: Karen Harding

DANCE SUCCESS: Karen Harding

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A FORMER Sunderland takeaway worker has hit the Top 10 with her debut single.

Karen Harding used to dish up chips in her family’s business, Taste of the Orient, in Chester Road, now she’s serving up hits.

FILE PIC  Date: 21/10/2007   Photographer: TC    'KAREN HARDING, 16, WILL BE TAKING PART IN A MISS PHILIPINES CONTEST.

FILE PIC Date: 21/10/2007 Photographer: TC 'KAREN HARDING, 16, WILL BE TAKING PART IN A MISS PHILIPINES CONTEST.

The 23-year-old is riding high at number seven in the charts with dance track Say Something.

Over the years, Karen, from County Durham, has featured in the Echo many times as she chased her dreams of a singing career, appearing in talent contests throughout the region and winning the title of Miss Philippines.

In 2009 she already showed a strong talent for singing and she hit the headlines after sending Barack Obama her interpretation of Strange Fruit, an anti-racism song originally recorded by Billie Holiday in 1961.

Karen, whose family hail from the Philippines, felt a strong connection to the song.

Date: 04/12/2007   Photographer: PB    'KAREN HARDING FROM CONSETT IS MISS PHILIPPINES INTERNATIONAL UK

Date: 04/12/2007 Photographer: PB 'KAREN HARDING FROM CONSETT IS MISS PHILIPPINES INTERNATIONAL UK

Speaking to the Echo at the time, she said: “I have a strong understanding of the issues addressed in Strange Fruit, and I felt inclined to record the song, as it really is close to my heart.

“Being of mixed race has meant I have suffered racial abuse in the past and one of the ways I dealt with that was through song. I’m conscious of raising awareness of racial issues and bullying.

“I have performed at a series of events such as anti-bullying campaign awareness events.”

Date: 04/12/2007   Photographer: PB    'KAREN HARDING FROM CONSETT IS MISS PHILIPPINES INTERNATIONAL UK

Date: 04/12/2007 Photographer: PB 'KAREN HARDING FROM CONSETT IS MISS PHILIPPINES INTERNATIONAL UK