Alexandra Burke has been hard at work masterminding her next move since promotion finished on her double-platinum Overcome back in 2009-10. Digital Spy caught up with the self-confessed chatterbox to talk about new single 'Elephant', what's in store for album number two and how she is finding life away from Simon Cowell's Syco record label.
Are you pleased with the response to 'Elephant'?
"I'm really pleased with the reaction so far. It's a song that means so much to me and I'm just happy to finally have my single out. I'm just happy to be back."
It went through a number of delays...
"Yeah, there were a few delays - just for the simple reason that was an opportunity for a collaboration to be the first single. I explored that option, but definitely just wanted 'Elephant' to be the lead single."
There is a big '90s dance influence on the song - we take it you're a fan of the genre...
"I really, really am! The whole album is influenced by '90s dance music. That whole era means a lot to me because it's the music I grew up listening to. The fact that I can try and re-create and put my own little spin on it to a certain degree has been fun. I've been recording this album for just over a year and I'm still working on it. It's been very special."
It's about the 'Elephant in the room' - what's the most awkward situation you've found yourself in?
"When do I not find myself in an awkward situation?! I'll put it out there; I was dating somebody last year and he was really lovely, but obviously somebody wanted more and that was me! Neither of us would talk about it and so I just decided to talk about it! It didn't really go to plan, but it worked out for the best and we're still great friends. So I turned it around and put it in a song that will get everyone dancing. That's what the whole album is based around - serious matters that are close to my heart and turning it around to make it feel-good."
You've switched labels for this album - how's that going?
"RCA are a fantastic label and so were Syco. What's great about RCA is that there is a lot more going on. At the end of the day, Simon Cowell is busy with The X Factor and is always away and so I wanted to make sure I had a label that was there for me. RCA's Colin Barlow is here in London, so it's really helpful. Simon still oversees stuff and is a great person to be connected with and I have a lot of respect for him. He helped me get to where I am today."
Has Simon listened to the new stuff and given any feedback?
"He hasn't given me any feedback, but I hope he's loving it! If he didn't he would let me know about it, that's for sure."
Are there any tracks fans will be surprised to hear you sing?
"I think the whole album is going to be a bit of a surprise. If 'Elephant' was a surprise then I think the rest of the album is going to be a little shocker."
Will we be getting any more ballads?
"You will most definitely be getting some more ballads. I love singing ballads, but the main focus is uptempo. I can't stand on stage for too long as I like to dance. I love to move about, but there will be some ballads on the album and some emotional songs too."
Are there any more collaborations on the album?
"Yeah, there are a couple more we are just finalising. I can't say who they are with, but I'm really excited."
We know you're not allowed to say names, but can you tell us if they are UK or US stars?
"It could be a mix of both. That's all I'm saying!"
Will you be touring this album?
"Most definitely. I'm not sure when as dates are yet to be confirmed, but I will be touring this album for sure."
Are there any major themes on the new album that could play a part on the tour?
"I'm in a few different minds with where I want to go with the tour. I have a few ideas, but nothing is set in stone yet. I just know that this tour is going to be very sexy, but at the same time very young and fun."
You've had success in Europe and Australia - any plans to return there?
"Yes, we are planning to take the album global, but we'll have to wait and see where the music takes me."
Obviously that includes the US as well?
"Absolutely! We are hoping and we have our fingers crossed."
Aside from music, what else have you got going on at the moment?
"I'm going to continue my charity work, but am hoping to get my foundation off the ground too. I want to build a school in Haiti and I know that's a long way off yet, but that is something I definitely want to keep going at."
A spot seems to be opening up on the X Factor panel this year - would you do it again if asked?
"Most definitely. Why not? It was a lot of fun and I had an absolute blast. I've been through what they're going through, so why not?"
Is television work something you're interested in pursuing?
"If it falls naturally and it's organic, then yes. It's something that I would never force. Everything I do has to feel right. I would never do it for the sake of doing it. If it actually happens then why not? I always have a lot of fun in everything I do."
That came across on The X Factor - especially with the 'OK.com' moment. Are people still saying that to you?
"Oh my God, all the time! The joke of it is that it's something I have been saying for years. Not just 'OK.com', but '.com' full stop. So what people saw on The X Factor was just me."
Alexandra Burke's new single 'Elephant' will be released in the UK on March 11.
Watch the music video for 'Elephant' below: