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Reality TV Interview

Sam Bailey talks life after X Factor: Simon Cowell, debut album, more

By
Sam Bailey

© Tom Dymond/Thames/REX

Sam Bailey


It's barely been a month since she won The X Factor, but Sam Bailey has already completed work on her debut album The Power Of Love, a collection of covers with a sprinkling of original songs that comes out next month.

We met up with her to talk about how she's coping with fame, what her first conversation with Simon Cowell was like and her incredible duet with Nicole Scherzinger on the series final.

On life since winning The X Factor:
"I think it's sunk in now, but I still feel like I'm living a dream every single day. Every day I'm doing something new - the other day I did some TV stuff - and so far everything seems to be going okay! That said, I felt thrown in at the deep end on the National Television Awards.

"It was like... woah! I performed twice and presented an award. I didn't feel royal enough or that I'd earned that privilege. When I presented Paul O'Grady with his award I actually apologised to him that it was being given by me! Performing in front of all those actors… it was real deer in the headlights stuff."

On her first conversation with Simon Cowell:
"He said he was excited to see how many people applied next year as I've now broken that over-25 curse. He said I will have inspired people hiding under a rock to come out and have a go. He also said that I need to be as open and honest with everyone as I can - don't just nod at everything and agree with things I might not be happy with. Honestly though, I felt like I was talking to Jon Culshaw or Rory Bremner the whole thing. It just seemed so surreal to me. Apparently we're going to meet in the next couple of months."

Sam Bailey in the studio

On her debut album The Power Of Love:
"I spent three weeks recording it and I've yet to hear the finished thing. The whole experience was a really chilled affair as we worked on it with people from the show. I'm looking forward to hearing the final thing as when we were making it, I was singing over plain backing tracks and they've built the music up after.

"The album itself is a mixture of everything. There are new songs and covers, but I think they'll be covers that people won't have heard in a long time. There's a couple of duets on there as well which I'm very excited about. One is with Michael Bolton, who has been such a great support network and inspiration. I call him the Boltmeister!"

On why she decided to release a (mostly) covers album:
"I wanted to do some. It wasn't just them telling me what to do - there were a lot ideas passed across the table. I didn't want to cover any songs by artists that are around at the moment or are current in the charts because I don't think that's right. I wanted to do songs that were inspirational to me back in the day and close to my heart, particularly with my dad…

"There's one song that I feel really stands out - I cried while singing it so there's real emotion in there. What's the point in singing them otherwise?"

On that Nicole Scherzinger duet:
"What people don't realise is that she's a classically trained singer that was put into a band. Then she did some solo stuff that was dancey and didn't show off her voice. I've heard she's got some sort of deal now, which is brilliant. She needs to do more big, belty songs so I'm glad she got that opportunity to shine. People said she out-sung me, and you know? So what if she did, she's Nicole Scherzinger - she can do whatever she likes."


On who should join next year's X Factor panel:
"I think Louis should stay, he's part of the furniture now and it'd be sad to see him go. I'd like to see Mary J Blige join the panel because they need to have a proper belter singer on there. If Nicole goes, there's no-one who can train someone to sing big songs - and most of the contestants they have are expected to sing big songs every week. They need someone who's been singing massive power ballads for years, so I think she'd be perfect."

Sam Bailey releases The Power Of Love on March 24 via Syco/Sony.

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