Alexandra: 'Beyonce dropped in to say hi'
Alexandra Burke, winner of last year's X Factor, is back with a brand new single. She's been holed up recording songs in Los Angeles for most of the year and releases Bad Boys, featuring Flo-Rida, in October. Celebrating her 21st birthday, she talks about a surprise visit from Beyonce at her LA studio, her sexy new image and her life in America.
You've been in Los Angeles for quite a while now. That must have been amazing?
It's just been an absolute whirlwind with everything that's happened. From getting off the tour and then going straight into the States to record, it's been magical, absolutely magical, making this album.
Is it as dreamlike, waking up with sun and sea?
Do you know what? It's relaxing to wake up to some sunshine and then go and do what you love to do. I really couldn't ask for more. It really is a dream come true.
What kind of people have you been working with on the new album?
I've been working with a lot of amazing producers. The first producer we got in at the deep end was Stargate. Ne-Yo's been writing a couple of tracks with me as well. RedOne, who does [Lady] Gaga and stuff. A lot of amazing producers, a lot of talented producers.
Phantom Boys, who produced the first single Bad Boys, they are absolutely phenomenal. I think people really need to watch out for them 'cos they're going to really blow up.
So have you been hanging out with Lady Gaga?
Not really. I've seen quite a few celebrities while I've been out in LA and been here in London. For me, it's still shocking because I'm seeing these people that I read about in magazines, when I used to buy magazines. They're all on TV and it's like, 'Wow. I'm like meeting you guys'. It's so surreal.
Do they know who you are yet? Has word spread?
Some of them know who I am but usually I just go up to them and I'm like, 'Hi, I'm Alexandra', and I don't really explain where I'm from. But hopefully they'll remember.
And you unveiled a sexy new image a couple of weeks ago, didn't you?
You like? It's amazing. That's the new image we're going for. It's going to be quite fierce, quite sassy and sexy and fun and young.
There's a little bit of Beyonce's Sasha Fierce in there I think.
You think so? Well I'd like to call it the beast, the beast that comes out on stage. But I don't know about Sasha Fierce 'cos that's Miss B, that's Miss B.
So she has Sasha and you have The Beast.
I've not got an alter ego. I just know that when I'm on stage and I hear my song come on and I've got that microphone in my hand, I'm in heaven. So a beast has got to come out for me to perform.
You're as good as your last performance so you've got to tear it up. Own that stage, that's what Simon Cowell would say to me.
Have you and Beyonce stayed in touch since X Factor? Has anything happened?
Well, I've definitely stayed in touch with her. She's absolutely a wonderful woman, just a normal person. When she came in to the studio to visit me and listen to my songs, that for me was just out of this world.
I was singing a couple of ad-libs, my eyes were closed, I opened my eyes and there she was standing there. I was just like, 'How do people do that? It's not right'.
She is very supportive and I'm just very thankful to know that I actually sang with her. It's just really weird to even talk about it. It's weird. It's Beyonce, man.
Since you've been in LA, have you been hanging out with Leona Lewis?
I've seen her a couple of times in LA. But she's working very, very hard on her album as well as I am, so schedules are very tight. We share the same vocal coach, Yvie Burnett, and it was her birthday, so I saw her at dinner.
She's just the most pleasant girl I've ever met. It's quite surreal because she's someone I also look up to and when I first met her in X Factor I kind of ran away. I was like, 'Hi, I'm Alexandra Burke. Nice to meet you'.
And I was like, 'OK. I've just met Leona Lewis. I'm going to go practice my song', and ran away and then I'm having dinner with her. So it was like, 'You just won a couple of years ago man and you're, like, amazing'. So it's just really surreal as well.
Are you appearing on this year's X Factor?
Yes I will. Definitely, at some point. Hopefully I'll meet the finalists when they've been decided and give them a bit of good luck and encouragement conversation.
Alexandra Burke's album is released on 26 October with the single, Bad Boys, out on 12 October