Singing since the age of 5 and performing live by the time she was 9 years old, vocal powerhouse Alexandra Burke took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me to discuss her career, the West End Stage and what the future holds.
DTB: How are you today?
AB: Yeah I am fine, thank you.
DTB: There is lots of stuff in the press about you and its well documented. What I want to talk about is growing up, very musical family, as such was music always your passion? Did you always want to go down that route.
AB: Absolutely, absolutely, music has always definitely been my passion.Always been my first love, I think I started to sing when i came out of my mother’s womb, simply because it’s all I have ever known. I think I took it seriously from the age of 5, my mum has never stopped supporting me so its always been something that I have longed to do and always said to my family that this is my calling.
DTB: I have read about the fact that your mum being in Soul II Soul, at the age of 12 Stevie Wonder wanting to sign you, even at that age that is amazing.
AB: Yes it is and I have been very lucky!
DTB: Moving on years later you had X-Factor, I myself sitting in my front-room rooted for you, how was that experience? I know what we see, in terms of the Bootcamp etc, looks quite glamorous and easy-going but I can imagine it is quite hard work.
AB: Thank you. Yeah, no it really is hard work it definitely not handed to me on a silver platter I have worked very hard to be in the place I am today and I am continuing to work hard for where I want to be in the next 10 years, or next 20 years for example, but even on X Factor people see only what is edited from what they show on TV but they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes and a lot of it is to do with hard work and making sure you are on top form and making sure you are taking it seriously so many people are going into the show and its easy to get sidetracked by the TV, the cameras, the interviews and stuff like that, and forget that you are in a competition that it could change your life. So me I take everything I do very seriously and even back then, 7 years ago, I took it extremely seriously, so there is a lot that goes into it, a lot.
DTB: Do you find that it has helped your career going on X Factor, if you had that time again would you go back on X Factor, would you do something different to further your career?
AB: No, X-Factor I am still a fan of the show, I knocked on doors of, Richard Branson and a lot of companies told me I wasn’t ready and then going on the X-Factor at 16 and being told I was too young and then and win it 3 years later it’s a remarkable story when you think about it but I would have chosen that path as it gave me such a fantastic platform.
DTB: You like to give back to the community and to Charities, what’s your goal for doing that, what spurs you on for giving back to Charity as we do here a lot of stories from artists saying that they don’t give back. But we know there is a lot of work you have done.
AB: Yeah I think for me the main thing is that I will happily point out is that people im my position we are given a voice to be able to speak out and when we do we should use that moment wisely and I think for me doing interviews and giving back and doing stuff for the community, charities and stuff like that is important as I would rather do that than have myself pictured falling out of a club drunk, I say that I am still young, only 27 years old and I am very conscious about what I put out there in the public eye because one day when I have children I want them to look back and see what I have done and obviously see something that I am proud of as well, it’s really important to me I think that I have been blessed enough to be in a position where I can look after myself, my family and I am working very hard at the same time but why not give back as it doesn’t take that much to give back to charity and to know that you are in a good position that you can and to encourage others to do that too.
DTB: Exactly, you are a role model for younger singers coming up now, they look at think seeing you on the X-Factor, number one albums and now seeing that you are giving back to charity is quite something, an inspiration for the younger generation.
AB: Thank you, thank you very much, I appreciate that!
DTB: Currently, outside your general albums and everything else you do a lot of theatre work, you main one being the Bodyguard, what is that like playing an inspiration – Whitney Houston on stage, that must be a magical feeling?
AB: Oh absolutely, it’s a magical feeling every single night, its such an honour and privilege to be able to play this role and it would be my first ever acting debut and I consider myself to be very lucky. And I didn’t think for a second that I would be able to handle this, they offered it to me 2 and a half years ago and I said no, but it has definitely built up my confidence in myself and by ability to perform and act and dance and stuff like that. Its like training for me and at the same time very fun.
DTB: You have just released Renegade the EP, Whats the next stage, obviously you have lots of promotion with Renegade and its a really good EP, I have listened to it myself and I love it. You have the Jazz Cafe coming up and we shall be there. What the next step as we definitely want to hear an album coming from you at some stage.
AB: absolutely, well I am half way through the 3rd album and it’s just a matter of being able to take the time to record it, my schedule is ridiculous with being on the show and the show is quite demanding vocally so the next time I will be able to record will be the last week of September and then the next time won’t be until next year February, so its taking its time to finish the product but I am kind of happy I am taking my time with it because I am able to listen back and change things if I want to. So there will definitely be a follow-up to the Renegade EP and the album is going to be along similar lines as the Renegade EP.
Alexandra Burke – All Night Long ft. Pitbull
DTB: Excellent, we definitely look forward to hearing that. So you have the Jazz Cafe coming up, are you looking forward to that?
AB: Yeah I really am. so there will be stuff from the EP and stuff that I have never performed before. and its the first gig with my band in two and a half years, so its going to be quite emotional for us, because the last time we gigged together I had a backing singer called Marion and she was alive,and since then she has passed away, so its going to be a very emotional gig for myself and my band and I have always wanted to perform at the Jazz Cafe and its something I can tick off my bucket list because its a dream of mine to perform on my own hometown so I feel very blessed to be able to sit here talking to you about it.
Exclusive footage of rehearsals for JazzCafe posted by Alexandra Burke on her Instagram
DTB: It’s a lovely venue and I can’t wait to come down and see you perform.
AB: Yeah its a gorgeous venue and thank you so much.
Join Alexandra Burke + special guests live at the Jazz Cafe on the 18th & 19th September. Tickets on sale for £22.50 (+ booking fee) from ticketmaster.co.uk or Jazz Cafe Box Office Doors open at 7pm.