The story of Rebecca Ferguson is a modern fairy tale . She was born in Liverpool, to an English mother and a Jamaican father, grew up in poverty and became a single mother at the age of 17. She had a second child at the age of 19 and she thought that any chances of enjoying a successful career were over. This was a pity because she had a great singing voice. Nevertheless she decided to enter the TV show The X Factor in 2010. She came second, to Matt Cardle, and today, at the age of 28, she is a star. In 2011 she released her debut single, “Nothing’s Real But Love,” which she herself wrote, and her debut album, Heaven, on the Sony label. Her second album, “Freedom”, came out in 2013. When she recently met the press at a rather noisy conference, she was asked what had kept her going during her difficult youth:
Rebecca Ferguson (Liverpool accent)
When you’ve seen suffering and you’ve seen things that hurt you, or have hurt your family, I think, for me, it automatically gives you a kick to not want that for your children. So I think... I always knew when I was young that the life I lived wasn’t right, that’s not how it should be. And so that in itself made me think, “Well, this isn’t how I’m going to live.” And I always believed, even though I had nothing, that no one was ever too good for me, or nothing was too good for me, and I could have anything I wanted in the world, if I put my mind to it .
Not surprisingly, she was also asked about the whole TV talent show phenomenon. Was she worried that, as has happened with other talent show winners, her career might end quickly?
I think, with these shows, if you don’t arrive on the show knowing who you are, as an artist, you will fail because your decisions will be made for you, and what you sing will be given to you and what you wear will be given to you, whereas when I arrived on The X Factor, I knew how I wanted to sing, I knew what type of clothes I wanted to wear. So the experts around me enhanced what I was trying to do. Rather than telling me what I wanted to do, they were bringing the best out of me. And I think sometimes what I’ve found, some artists go on the show, they don’t know who they are. If someone says, “ Put a purple wig on ,” they’ll put it on! If someone says, “Wear a pink tutu ,” they’ll go on the stage and they’ll wear the pink tutu. And then they’ll get voted off , and then they’ll blame the show . But nobody can force you to do anything on the show; you make your own decisions. And if you know who you are as an artist, you’re not going to let anyone tell you what to do, or what to sing, or how to wear your hair . And I think, as an artist and as a singer, your voice is a gift and it’s up to you what you do with it , it’s not up to anybody else to tell you what you do with it.
You’re a singer from Liverpool, the birthplace of The Beatles. Is that important for you?
Liverpool is my home town and it’s very important to me. It’s made me who I am and I’m very patriotic about my city. I like to go home as often as possible and I like going to the local pubs and clubs. I don’t go out of Liverpool much, unless I’m working, of course, because I love home.
You managed to have kids and have a career. Do you think that’s a positive message for women who want to have both?
People in the UK are negative about having children because everyone is obsessed with their careers. They want success and they want money because they think this will make them happy. That’s why I wrote the song, “Nothing’s Real But Love.”You think that success and money will make you happy, but my children are what make me happy. And I think having children has actually made be more focused in my career because every time I make a decision I also have to decide for them. Having children hasn’t always been easy, but for me it’s been a blessing , they’ve made my life so much better!
Do you feel that you missed out on your youth by having children so young?
To tell the truth, I think children probably kept me out of trouble ! A lot of my friends got into trouble but I didn’t because I was at home changing nappies ! OK, I missed out on things when I was younger. I never went on a girls’ holiday, for example, but now I think I can have fun!