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Rebecca Ferguson Is Nothing But Real on Debut Album [Exclusive Interview]


It's one thing for an artist to sing a meaningful song about love and loss, but it's a whole different story when that artist has actually lived through the pain and hardship conveyed in the music. Rebecca Ferguson is one of those uniquely gifted singer/songwriters who has a knack for writing deeply personal songs that people instantly connect with. The emotional depth and lyrical nuance of Ferguson's music combined with her raw, soulful delivery provide not only comfort but also hope in a time when the world can be a pretty bleak place.

Back in 2010, Ferguson was a painfully shy, woefully under confident single mother of two who was shown auditioning for The X Factor in the U.K. in what is arguably one of the best audition sequences ever shown on the show. Her story of dignified resignation – pregnant at 17, then again at 19, with no money and little hope – struck a chord with the nation.

Then Ferguson opened her mouth and her stunning rendition of Sam Cooke's classic "A Change Is Gonna Come" moved audiences and changed Ferguson's life forever. She was only a few votes away from winning the program that year, but her impressive showing led to a coveted recording contract. Late last year, she released her highly-anticipated debut LP, "Heaven," in the U.K. which received raving reviews from both critics and fans alike. The album will be released on May 29 in the U.S.

Much of the LP is filled with intensely personal stories about love, relationships and the trappings of fame. "It's so bizarre to me. I embrace it but I feel exactly the same," Ferguson tells me in an exclusive interview when we chat about her sudden rise to success.

Ferguson is well aware that her performance and songwriting moves people to the core. "There are different type of singers. I sing from the heart and bare my soul on stage," she says. "I think it reaches the audience better and they get something from it. It can be quite hard though and I can feel very vulnerable when I perform."

"I cant' be anything but honest," she adds, showing both humility and humanity.

The young singer agrees that her tough teenage years fueled her songwriting. "I think that people that have suffered have more depth," she confides. "A great example of that is 'A Change Is Gonna Come' by Sam Cooke. When you listen to that song and you listen to his voice, you can hear that he suffered. I think a lot of creative people have had quite a tough time."

One of the most personal songs on her album is "Teach Me How To Be Loved," a song about getting hurt over and over again after letting your guard down. "It's probably the most emotional song on the album," Ferguson explains. "It was really hard to sing. The first time I performed it, I had to cry and I could almost not finish it."

Ferguson's new U.K. single "Glitter & Gold" deals with the flip-side of fame. "I've lived a very sheltered life and X Factor changed all that," she explains. "The song is about how easy it is to get lost in fame and success, but that you can never forget what's really important."

And if there's one thing more important than anything else in Ferguson's life it's her two kids, Lillie May and Karl. She smiles, "When I'm not working, I just love being at home with my kids. That really relaxes me. That makes me the happiest honestly." (Download Rebecca Ferguson music on iTunes.)

May 8, 2012 | Permalink