Joe McElderry on his 'shocking' new track


Joe McElderry

X Factor winner Joe McElderry has told Newsbeat how he surprised Simon Cowell with his "shocking" new track.

He's been hidden away for most of the year working on his debut album and the first track Ambitions has a disco feel to it.

McElderry was the master of the ballads in the show and he admits many people have been shocked hearing the track.

That includes his record company boss Simon Cowell.

The singer admitted: "He's surprised as we've gone into a totally different style and I don't think he expected it.

"Everybody's quite shocked but that was kind of the idea that we were going for.

"We wanted people to be surprised and we wanted people to be like, 'Who the hell is that?' So it's really worked."

It's a bit of a gamble but luckily he says the response so far is good: "Overall it's been a really positive reaction.

"Out in the street people have been stopping me and saying I love the song it's so different."

Thankfully for McElderry his boss Simon Cowell is also happy.

He revealed: "He was just like, 'Wow, this is amazing what you've done, you've totally changed yourself as an artist and it's fantastic'."

"He's really, really excited about the album."

McElderry admits he was surprised at the direction he has taken: "At first I expected I'd be doing a ballad and so did everyone at the label.

"I was in the studio and it was like nothing was really grabbing my attention, the songs were good, but nothing was really exciting me.

"Then we heard this song and I was like I really want to record this and it changed the full direction of the album."

Frustrating year

The singer has been away for most of the year working on his album.

Olly Murs and Joe McElderry
Image caption X Factor runner-up Olly Murs released his debut single before McElderry

There were a number of newspaper stories asking where he was and in that time X Factor runner-up Olly Murs released his debut single before him.

McElderry admits he found being hidden away hard at times: "It was frustrating because I just wanted to say, 'I'm still here'."

But he says there was an upside to being out of the public eye: "It was nice in a way because I got to get away from it all, forgot about everything going on around me.

"I got to totally switch off and concentrate on recording."

He says he feels he has grown up in the last year: "These past six months I've been able to find my own style, know who I want to be, what I want to do, know what kind of stuff I want to sing."

Fun side

In that year McElderry has also revealed he is gay. He spoke out after someone hacked his twitter account and outed him.

He admits the new confidence helped him come out: "Yeah maybe. I've definitely grown in confidence and I've been more sure of myself as a person and maybe that was the reason."

I've always wanted to do this kind of performance and I finally got my wish
Joe McElderry

"The X Factor built me up to have confidence. It definitely made me grow up as a person and realise who I was as a person."

The last music we heard from McElderry was when he didn't get the Christmas number one with The Climb.

The new single Ambitions is a cover of a track by Norwegian band DonkeyBoy. He's relieved we're finally getting to hear it.

He said: "I'm so happy as I feel this is more me, this is more the fun side that I haven't been able to show yet.

"I've always wanted to do this kind of performance and I finally got my wish."

Ambitions is out on Monday 11 October.

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