Kate Walsh's reputation as a self-made artist should reach another level when the folk singer makes her U.S. debut in 2008 through a major label.

The English singer-songwriter created a buzz in Britain with her sophomore 2006 album "Tim's House," which she cut on a shoestring budget and released through her own Blueberry Pie label. The set gathered momentum in 2007, and gained support from the likes of iTunes and Mercury/Universal, helping tip sales to-date to 35,000 copies.

Universal's Verve Music Group wants a slice of the action, and will release the album stateside on Jan. 29.

Verve will augment the release by securing a string of live dates and publicity appearances, including a booking on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and a performance at SxSW in March. With more than 120 gigs already under her belt in 2007, Verve will continue with "an aggressive plan that includes U.S. touring in the spring around her date at SXSW," says Verve GM Nate Herr.

Lead single "Your Song" - already familiar to American audiences after it was synched in a series three episode of "Grey's Anatomy" - will be serviced to Americana-leaning platforms and AAA radio, notes Herr. Digital marketing and online advertising will be "critical" to the set-up, geared towards targeted publications such as Paste.

Walsh's camp is close to confirming a music publishing partnership which, notes the artist's manager Jonathan Morley of London-based Northern Lights Management, will help drive synchronisation deals.

"We want her to do well in America, and its not going to be easy," admits Morley, "but you can only do that by spending time there."

Walsh' fame rose when "Talk of the Town" broke through to become the iTunes Free Single of the Week in March 2007, exposure from which helped the album land at No. 1 on the iTunes Hot 100 U.K. album chart. Success on iTunes opened doors in the physical world, as UMG's Mercury Records later struck a worldwide deal to distribute the album.

Despite her association with the online music giant iTunes, Walsh confesses to being a relative novice in the Web 2.0 world. "I'm only just becoming up-to-date with the whole digital revolution. Only since I've had to become involved in it," she explains. "When I was learning about it at music college a couple of years ago, I was thinking I'd never download anything. I really needed to be invited to come in, and find a good reason check it out. I wouldn't have checked it out otherwise."

A self-confessed fan of Joni Mitchell and Americana bands such as Modest Mouse, Walsh could begin work on a follow-up as early as summer 2008. "I've starting to write much livelier songs," she says. "I think my music is growing up as I do."

When asked which markets she had her sights set on, Walsh told Billboard, "America definitely. And Canada."

For four more hotly-tipped British female singers, turn to this week's Billboard Magazine.