25-year-old Alexandra Imelda Cecelia Ewen Burke came to limelight as a singer when she won the 2008 X Factor UK at age 28, the second time she entered the competition. On her recent visit to Nigeria for grand finale of the first ever X Factor competition in Africa sponsored by Glo, she had a chat with journalists before her performance. Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare reports.
How does it feel being in Nigeria?
I feel really great. My best friend lives in Nigeria, Abuja to be precise. When I announced that I was in Nigeria, she was very happy. Even though I’m part Jamaican and Irish, many felt I’m a Nigerian because of the enthusiasm I have for this country. Nigerians are lovely.
Tell us a bit about your X Factor experience?
I went in for the X Factor twice. The first time was when I was 16 years old. I didn’t win, because they told me I needed more experience. After that, my mum was very supportive making sure that I attended as many open mic sessions as possible, and when I eventually went for the competition the second time, I won.
What is your perception of the Nigerian music industry?
I think the music industry down here is really doing great. It is fantastic, for me, I always love Afromusic. I am Jamaican, Indian and Irish. I’ve already recorded a song with Dr Sid and I hope to work with other Nigerian artistes because I’m a fan of Wizkid, D’banj, Tiwa Savage and I’ll also like to meet Burna Boy.
What do you think singled you out for the UK X Factor top prize?
I don’t really know what singled me out, but I think it’s just about me being me. I sing from the bottom of my heart.
What is your view on the Top 3 contestants in the Glo X Factor?
The three girls are absolutely talented and beautiful. I can’t get over their humility. They are unique in their own way and whichever of them that wins deserves the prize.
As an X Factor winner, what’s your advice to the top three contestants with regard to how to be relevant in the music industry?
I think the real work starts from after the show. I will advise them to try to touch people with their music. They just have to be themselves!
Would you ever retire from music?
No. I plan to take a break sometime in the future to have kids, but I’m just 25, so you should get used to seeing me around for a long time to come.