She won the X Factor in 2008 and now she has the world at her feet with a new single Start Without You out this week, America beckoning and a second album and tour next year. We caught up with Alexandra Burke to talk Beyonce and Cheryl, having Simon Cowell as your boss and being a Beast on-stage…
Tell me about your new single Start Without You – it’s got quite a reggae feel…
“I’ve just bought my car and it’s a convertible, so I wanted a song that would make me want to put the top down and have a party in my car. This fits the bill perfectly – it’s a great summer track.”
You call yourself the Beast – what’s that about?
“I’ve called myself the Beast on stage for ages now – it’s my persona. And now my fans are called Beasties – they wanted a name so I gave them one!”
All Night Long had Pitbull on it – does he just hang around studios at the moment asking to be hired as he seems to be everywhere?
“That’s funny! The truth is, I wanted the single to be different from the album version, my A&R man knows Pitbull’s manager and so it happened – and I think it sounds great.”
How are you finding the whole fame experience – does your mum give you advice?
“She gives me loads of advice – I’m really lucky to have her because she understands. Plus I’ve had people like Cheryl and Beyonce giving me advice too so I’m very blessed.”
Talking of Beyonce – you duetted with her on the X Factor – have you kept in touch?
“Yes – I’ve seen her quite a few times since I won the show and singing with her was just mind-blowing – when you’re on-stage you just have to take a minute and think ‘is this really happening?’ It was incredible that she sang with me, a little nobody from X Factor!”
So how have you kept in touch?
“She’s invited me to all her shows and we keep in touch through email too – she’s just a really pleasant woman to know.”
Are you still in touch with Cheryl too?
“Yes – she’s gone from being my mentor to my friend and I really appreciate that. She’s fully recovered now and back at work – she’s such a pro.”
You won the X Factor – what do you think of last year’s winner Joe McElderry?
“I love Joe and I think it’s great that he’s come out too – he’s inspirational and I take my hat off to him. To come out in the national press is no mean feat.”
And JLS – are the rumours that you hate each other true?
“God no! I was on the phone to JB till the early hours last night and they came to my birthday – I love those boys!”
How is Simon as your boss?
“He’s great – he’s a smart guy and I take on-board what he says and am learning a lot from him.”
Are you going to his wedding?
“Who knows! I don’t even think there’s a date set yet, but I hope it’s a nice private affair – he’s in the press enough.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m gearing up for this single release and my tour next January and February. We’re also doing the next album – I’ve recorded some tracks already and it’s sounding great – prepare to be shocked.”
Do you dance to your own tunes?
“Not if I’m in a club. I sit down in a corner – I don’t want people to think I’m bigheaded! But I do spy and see how many people are dancing to it…”
I’ve heard you’re addicted to Nandos – do you have a black card?
“I do. Me and JLS both love Nandos. I’m actually getting one after this – that’s weird isn’t it?”
What’s the most played song on your MP3 player right now?
“Usher – OMG. I’m addicted to his new album.”
If you could be the love child of any two artists who would you choose?
“Great question! Oh, you’d want someone attractive and someone talented. Stevie Wonder and Ailiyah.”
Alexandra Burke’s single Start Without You is out this week.