By: Emily Algar, Regular Contributor
The X Factor and other reality shows are renowned for churning out one-hit wonders and singers who we can no longer remember. The same, however, cannot be said for 2010’s runner-up Rebecca Ferguson.
Her audition is particularly memorable for it’s simple and evocative nature: a shy young woman enters the stage to sing Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come" whilst keeping her eyes down throughout the performance, not realizing her powerful effect on the judges and the audience.
Rebecca Ferguson grew up in Liverpool and at 17 gave birth to her first child. Her dreams of becoming singer were put on hold whilst she enrolled in college to become a legal secretary. In an interview she said: "When you have kids, you become a mum and forget about you as a person so I put my dreams of singing aside. I wanted the kids to see me do well and be a better role model.”
This strong sense of self was made more clear when she told her record label that she was only going to record original songs, ones that she helped to create, which was something unheard of in the music industry. However, it was this move that cemented her career not only as an accomplished vocalist but also as a clever and honest lyricist.
Her debut album Heaven was certified Platinum in both the UK and USA and was met with critical acclaim. The album's first single ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ espoused the emphasis we place on material goods like money and cars when really all that matters is family and love. She subsequently released six more singles off the album, won Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year for UK Musician, and received the Soul Train Award for Best International Performance.
Amongst all the music and accolades, Rebecca has been active in helping bring awareness to the poverty crisis in the UK. This year, she helped Tesco launch its neighbourhood food collection alongside various food bank charities. This initiative is one of hundreds helping to tackle the rising food crisis across the UK where families are having to choose between food and heat.
The beginning of December saw the release of Rebecca's second studio album, Freedom. Inspiration for the record came from her own feelings of depression and frustration following her success on the X Factor and her award-winning first album. On the back of this newfound fame, Rebecca found herself surrounded by “fake” and “untrustworthy” friends. She says, "the whole experience toughened me up," which is something you can hear throughout this record. In the song ‘All That I’ve Got’ she sings “Took what you wanted/ But you’re leaving with nothing/ I’ll carry on”. The entire album is filled with messages of defiance and strength, something that we all need to be reminded of when we’re going through our own battles.
Check out "Freedom" and be sure to visit all the amazing tunes on I AM THAT GIRL's Music Mondays playlist, updated each week!
Emily Algar is an International Relations graduate who has just completed her Masters in International Security. She lives in a small town in Oxfordshire, UK where she writes, listens to music and walks her dogs. Since completing her studies, Emily is trying to figure out where she fits in the world and until she does, she is enjoying the ride.
Featured image via news.softpedia.com