It’s hard to think of any other singer of her generation, in fact of any generation, who would have the talent to carry this off. The amazing Rebecca Ferguson, whose voice has been compared to Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Dusty Springfield, has reached for the stars with her third album ‘Lady Sings the Blues’ which is released by RCA Records on March 9.
Having enjoyed Rebecca Ferguson’s voice and music from when she began at the X-factor, Vivid were extremely lucky to catch up with her just prior to the release of her third album – “Lady sings the Blues”, a tribute to Billie Holiday. This is Rebecca’s third album and is released 100 years after the birth of Billie Holliday. It follows on from after her highly successful first album ‘Heaven’, which sold over a million copies and her second album ‘Freedom’ saw the praise continue.
The single “Get Happy”, was released on the 2nd March and is the first single from the album, which is a soulful and fitting tribute to the late Billie Holiday. The album was recorded at the famous Capital Studios in Los Angeles, which has seen many great artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and the legendary Ella Fitzgerald record many of their best work. The album has been produced by the famous Troy Miller, who previously worked with Amy Winehouse, Rumer, Dexys Midnight Runners, Chaka Khan.
Having listened to this new album we couldn’t agree more than with the review featured in “Metro”, “it’s not hard to be struck by the quality of Rebecca Ferguson’s voice: smoky, steeped in emotion and somehow more seasoned than her years”.
Rebecca has come through many highs and some lows in her career to date, learning many hard lessons about the music industry. Rebecca now exudes a quiet confidence and her third album is the album of her life. But, more tellingly, it’s also the album of someone else’s life, someone whose voice and career propelled her to legendary status, whose tragic story is known to every music lover, someone who truly is a legend.
How has your life changed since the X-Factor?
My life is completely different and not somewhere I could ever have seen myself. Having watched the show before entering I knew that I wanted to come in the top 3 and that in itself was a challenge. I am now in a happy place after a few years of turmoil as I found out the hard way that the music industry wasn’t always just about the music. I questioned everything in my creative and professional life. Having been in front of millions and being thrown into the spotlight, you just can’t prepare yourself for these changes and you need to change and become a different more mature person, someone who starts to understand themself and the world they have been thrown into – it’s not easy, but 6 years on I am now happy with the place I find myself in. I am now clear headed as to where I want to be and I’m having fun with it.
Are you still in contact with anyone from the X-factor?
I was but life has become so busy with family, the travelling and the recording that I have now lost the contact. It’s a shame as we really had a bond at the time as we were all going through the same experience of being thrown into the limelight when really we were all, and still are today, ordinary people with a dream
Are you surprised with the success you have had from not winning the X-Factor and do you think this was more to your advantage?
I always knew I would have a career but not to what extent. I thought like many I would find success initially and then the fame would wane, really nothing like it is today. The X-Factor is a weird experience where you understand the need to be judged but it does completely open up your life to the public and turn it around. Becoming famous really does take time to adjust to, it took me a few years to accept these changes and mature. You and to understand and accept that your life is no longer your own, but the interest of the public no matter how trivial. I don’t think not winning makes any difference as you are still in the public eye and I believe that am now in a place where I have a clear head and can move forward with my ambitions.
How do you maintain a work/family balance with a young family?
It is hard and I have to make conscious decisions around my recording and travel commitments but also to be there for my children. I now have 3 children ranging in age from 4 moths to 10 and unless I have to leave them behind I am always there at the beginning of the day to take them to school and at end of the day with homework and really just being a ‘Mum’. I love having the kids with me and they travel with me when time allows but they are all settled in school and I don’t want to disrupt this too much as it is important. My youngest being only 4 months old is usually with me and is often backstage. My family is very much a part of my life and I do as much as I can to be part of that and around them. I am lucky because most of my work at the moment is in London so I’m enjoying the time with them. We all love travelling together and we all love the USA, particularly California where I recorded the new album and would love to buy a property there some day.
What made you want to record Billy Holliday?
I love recording my own songs but I’ve also wanted to record others, particularly artists like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin as I grew up listening to their music, which I just love. I was only saying to Troy, my producer, the other day that I really believe I have found my niche as I am so comfortable singing these iconic songs.
What are your favourite songs and why?
I love “Embraceable You”, as I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and it all felt so special. But when performing live I love “Fine & Mellow” and “My Man” as the band and I have great fun on stage with these songs as they have so much meaning and are just great fun to perform.
We notice that you only have live dates for February and March, will you be doing any more?
Yes , we are planning to do more dates as we disappointed many fans who couldn’t get tickets and so are looking into more dates for the UK. We have loved being on stage with the new music and the reaction of the fans so we are looking forward to arranging new dates so more can see the show.
To extend the tour dates and we are also planning to travel to Germany, where I have an upcoming promo tour. There will be a lot happening this year promoting the new album and performing to new fans and we are also hoping to travel to China this year. I also can’t wait as I have some holiday in May, I have booked out the time but don’t know where I am going yet but just can’t wait to spend time with the kids and get some R&R.
It was lovely to talk to Rebecca and we wish her all the best for 2015.