25 year old singer Rebecca Ferguson rose to stardom when she finished as runner-up to the seventh season of the British The X Factor television series. During her time on the show, she sang such heavy-hitting numbers as Nina Simone's "Feelin' Good," Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and even did a duet with Christina Aguilera, singing Aguilera's hit single "Beautiful." While she lost to Matt Cardle, Ferguson's musical journey was just beginning, and she soon landed a record deal.
The fruition of that contract was 2011's Heaven, which featured songs co-written by Ferguson. The album includes musical nods to such influences as Aretha Franklin, Adele and Whitney Houston, but maintains a very signature Rebecca Ferguson sound. Recently, Glide Magazine had a chance to speak with her about her debut album, what it's like to have gain such success so quickly and who she'd like to collaborate with in the future.
Congratulations on the release of Heaven. Are you surprised by the positive reaction its gotten so far?
I was very surprised, I didn't know what the reaction would be. All I knew was that I had worked so hard and poured a lot of my soul into it. I thought, if they don't like it I don't know what more I can give. There were a lot of tears writing Heaven. I'm proud of all of the songs and they all have a special meaning to me.
It was said you wrote one song everyday for six months, but none of which appeared on the album as you scrapped them before you began recording. You said: "I was looking for songs that I felt especially connected to, and some of the songs we got rid of were brilliant tunes." What does a song have to possess for you to feel most connected with it and want to record and proceed to tour and perform it?
I have to connect to it. It has to be something I can enjoy singing again and again, and have a personal meaning to me.
The past year has been incredible for you in terms of success. Have you had time to just sit down and reflect? Is there anything that you would have done differently to get where you are right now?
I have a little but I'm often too busy to. I feel like the exact same person and like to do things I've always liked to do, I have no regrets... every regret is a lesson learned. I've grown from the journey and I'm proud of what I've achieved.
It was said you most wanted to collaborate with Kings of Leon and Aretha Franklin on Heaven. Did you approach them at all? What happened?
I didn't. I wasn't really looking for collaborations on this album. Maybe the next! If a big one had come up I would have most definitely accepted but it was important for me to establish myself first.
What other artists would you have liked to have collaborated with?
I only want to collaborate with artists I'm passionate about, I love so many artists at the moment. I am loving a UK artist called Ben Howard, his voice is like silk it's just stunning.
Growing up and looking back, what bands/musicians first got you interested/involved in music? What was the first concert you went to?
Whitney and Cher. I would sit and listen to them all day.