Interview: 10 Questions for Rebecca Ferguson | New music reviews, news & interviews
Interview: 10 Questions for Rebecca Ferguson
As her platinum debut goes deluxe, X Factor diva shows she's nobody's fool
Pop music has always been a cynical business. And yet, sometimes, I like to imagine an alternative universe somewhere before Simon Cowell made his millions and the reality television behemoth become the industry that it has become. The televised singing contest was just that: a true contest, a chance at fame for the shy unknown who may never have been "discovered" otherwise.
Rebecca Ferguson would have been the star of that show. A softly-spoken Scouse single mother of two, her natural soul-inclined vocals won over a nation on The X Factor’s 2010 contest (well, almost: in the end she came second to Matt Cardle). Her debut album Heaven, released just before Christmas last year, went platinum and a concert hall tour won over new admirers. The album was re-released on Monday with five extra tracks including a new song, “I’ll Count the Days”, which soundtracked housewives’ favourite Downton Abbey. It’s back up at number 5 in the UK charts.
But it hasn’t been an easy ride. Earlier this year, Ferguson took to Twitter to announce that she would be taking her management team to court after they forced her to work “until she collapsed”. With court action ongoing (the company filed a High Court writ last month seeking a declaration that the singer unlawfully ended her contract) it’s not something she can talk about, but the experience has brought out a new steely determination that underpins the singer’s giggle.
Speaking to theartsdesk, Ferguson recounted the highs and lows of a dramatic two years, and why not winning a competition can be a blessing in disguise.
LIS FERLA: You were back on The X Factor recently - how did that feel?
REBECCA FERGUSON: I enjoyed it, but I was nervous - I always get nervous when I’m back on that stage, it brings back all the memories and I always feel as if, when I’m finished, I’m going to get judged again!
The deluxe edition of your debut album Heaven is now out - how did that come about and what’s new?
I always get nervous when I’m back on that stage ... I always feel as if, when I’m finished, I’m going to get judged again!
I think that’s something that always happens nowadays. It gives you a chance to put new stuff onto the album - I was able to add one of the tour songs, and one of my covers. I didn’t get the chance to put any of the covers on my first album, so it was nice to add some songs I really love. I did [Aqualung’s] “Strange and Beautiful” with [producer] Matt Hales - I love the song, and I felt really lucky to get the chance to do that. “Backtrack” ended up making the US album, but not the UK release as it wasn’t ready yet - we got some mixes done of it, but they just weren’t there yet - so the deluxe release was a good opportunity to put that on. And “Good Days and Bad Days” was a song that I’d always wanted to include, but that had kind of been forgotten about.
Watch the video for new single 'Backtrack' below
It’s funny that you mention covers, because you’re great at reinterpreting songs that aren’t the traditional "female vocalist" songs - like your version of Kings of Leon’s “Knocked Up”. Are there other songs we can expect to see get the Rebecca Ferguson treatment?
I don’t know, really! I only like to cover a song if I really connect with it, and really love it, and nothing springs to mind at the moment. I’d like to record some dance music. I’ve been sent so many instrumentals for dance songs, but I haven’t had time to write over them.
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Despite its shortcomings, film vehicle for The Clash is an essential pop-cultural document
A stoner epic from the doom rock duo
Experimental songwriter returns to his roots on gut-wrenching new album
Fragmentation and wilfulness on the three 2 Tone albums by Jerry Dammers and his cohorts
The Essex rave juggernaut's sixth is unapologetically ballistic
Post-jazzers add ambient dub to a spacey, love-infused mix
Touching field recordings from Vietnam
Punk poppers give the beginning of the week an almighty shot in the arm
Russia’s counterpart to North Britain’s Eighties miserablists harnesses the power of song
Echo & the Bunnymen singer successfully retrieves a concert initially marred by his own unpleasantness
As all-encompassing as it gets on massive, thought-provoking Northern Soul box set
Festival perennial replenishes the soul with good vibes