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Music Interview

Tulisa interview: 'Performing on X Factor terrifies me'

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Tulisa filming alternative 'Live It Up' music video


Most singers would be happy putting out one summer anthem in a single year, but Tulisa has bravely opted for the double with her number one smash 'Young' and new single 'Live it Up'.

Ahead of the track's official release this Sunday (September 9), we met up with the star to find out more about her debut album and, of course, all the latest X Factor goss.

It's Friday. Do popstars ever get that Friday feeling?
"Not really! I work on weekends, so I'll get random days off in the week like a Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't even bother to know what day it is anymore - my schedule is all laid out for me. I'm supposed to be everywhere all the time!"

Your new single 'Live it Up' is out next week, and it sounds quite different from 'Young'. Were you worried about how fans of your last song would react?
"It's done for me what I assumed it would do, which was make people sit up and surprise them. My next single is a completely different sound as well. I did say at the start that there's going to be a lot of variety when it comes to my music. It's not going to have a set genre, but it'll all have my twist on it. My next single is going to be a ballad."

Is it a dancehall ballad or something?
"No no! It just goes completely the other way from this single."

'Live it Up' is much more hip-hop than 'Young'. Is this a sound you feel more comfortable with?
"Definitely. I mean, I've made no secret that I'm an Ibiza baby. I love that whole dance thing and the reason I wanted to release 'Young' is because it's the sort of song I would dance to on a night out. I want to release music that I like and feel comfortable with. There won't be a song like 'Young' coming from me for a while."

'Live It Up' gives us Nicki Minaj vibes...
"Really?! I've been listening to that hip-hop sound sound I was 11, and Nicki is similar in that we're both inspired by the same type of music. It's great to bring urban music to the commercial scene. It's everywhere amongst a certain culture of people."

Tulisa Contostavlos


Is the album finished yet?
"It's done - there's just a few finishing touches to put on it here and there and we need to put together the tracklisting."

There must be a lot of good tracks to choose from then?
"I have full creative control over my music - thank God! There's one song I want to release after the album comes out that 50% of the people I've played it to don't think I should put out. I personally love it, as do my closest friends, and I think it will appeal to a certain culture of people. It's called 'Visa' and it's one of my favourite tracks on the album."

Is it the next single after the ballad?
"My next single is the ballad. I think it's important for every artist to have that ballad that stands the test of time. I really feel like this ballad is one of those songs. I hope it touches people."

You've worked with Rico Love and Fazer on the record; who else?
"I've worked with The-Dream, Toby Gad, Jean Baptiste and Diane Warren. She actually sent me a song the other day at 3am. She was like, 'I've got another f**king song for Tulisa!'. The title was something ridiculous like 'F**k These Bitches'! It was brilliant - what a legend."

The album is out in November. Are you gunning for an X Factor performance this year?
"I think it's very possible. The third single will be out around that time."

Doesn't the idea of getting up on the stage and showing the contestants how it's done terrify you?
"It absolutely terrifies me. It really does. But there's something about this next single that feels like it's meant to be. It gives me a feeling that everything will be okay. It's the end of the year, it's a ballad, it's very Christmassy."

You're filming the X Factor Judges' Houses at the moment; are you confident one of the acts in your group will win this year?
"I really feel like we've uncovered some incredible people this year. I loved the guy who sang the acoustic version of 'Young' with Rita Ora. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable on the show this year, it's going to be great. I can only do my 100% best for the group I'm given."

Little Mix recently topped the charts with their first proper single. Given that you mentored them, do you still feel a sense of pride?
"Definitely! I always get a massive grin whenever I hear them on radio or see them on TV. We get to see each other a lot at the moment as we're both promoting... I get to keep an eye on them!"

Tulisa's new single 'Live it Up' is released September 9. Watch the official music video below:

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