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People and Personalities
Life after X Factor?
As he prepares to go on a UK tour, we find out if Hertfordshire’s former X-Factor finalist Andy Abraham has been living the dream?
What happens to an X Factor contestant after the lights have gone out, the cameras are switched off and Simon Cowell jets off in his private plane?
Hertfordshire’s Andy Abraham, who was a finalist in 2005, seemed to follow the classic rags to riches route. When we first met him he was working as a bin man and the next minute he had completed a sell-out tour and released his first album, The Impossible Dream, which reached platinum status.
Andy with Terry Wogan before Eurovision
His second album Soul Man also stormed up the charts and more recently he represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 appearing before millions of viewers world wide performing the self penned “Even If”, which is the title track of his third album, released in June 2008.
Andy is currently on a UK tour, but after coming second to Shayne Ward in the X-Factor final, (when there was only a 1.2 per cent difference in the vote) has Cheshunt man Andy Abrahams really been living the dream?
BBC Three Counties' Lorna Milton found out more:
Is the world of show biz all you thought it was cracked up to be?
Andy: Well – it’s definitely given me a different career but as for the whole rags to riches thing, well, I’m still working on the riches!
Everybody thinks that once you’ve got an album out, then you suddenly get rich but it doesn’t work like that does it?
Andy: No, not at all. Because the first album was predominantly songs from the show and they were all covers, you don’t have any writing credits or anything like that on it. So it’s something that I’m working on. But it gave me the impetus to do my own album which is called “Even If” and now I’m out there as a working musician doing my own tour called “An Evening with Andy Abraham”. It’s going great at the moment, so in that respect I can’t complain.
But you must be glad on these cold mornings that you don’t have to get up and do the bins any more?!
Andy: I used to have to wake up at 2.00am and get out into the West End at 3.00am so in that respect I’m pretty glad – I’m still asleep at that time now!
Is there anything you miss about how life used to be? Are there things that you can’t do now?
Andy: I still do everything that I used to do but I do miss the camaraderie between the guys I used to work with, but I’ve kind of moved on from that. Now I’m a performer and an act in my own right and that’s what I’m trying to achieve. That’s the hard part, because the music industry is different from the entertainment industry.
What happened to you straight after the X Factor finished?
Andy: I’m one of the lucky ones. I got a deal on the night of the final but the guy that signed me, Rob Stringer from Sony BMG, got a big job in New York and somebody else took over. After that it didn’t really feel like they were trying to champion me. But Sony BMG gave me the opportunity which was fantastic, and I was really pleased about that.
What actually happens on the night then? Are there record companies there trying to tout for business?
Andy: Well, you’re under contract really and Sony BMG have the first option so if they decide that they’re going to take you on then they’ll offer you a contract . The only thing is that if another company sees that you’re not being offered a contract then they’ll wonder why.
So it’s very much an entertainment show as opposed to a music show, there’s a completely different slant on things.
This year it’s come in for a lot of criticism for being a show where they concentrate too much on people’s stories, and you only get to the live shows if you’ve got a story that tugs on the heartstrings. They really did play on the bin man thing with you didn’t they? Did that annoy you after a while?
Andy: It’s a tough one, but you have to remember that it is a light entertainment show! In fact, I did ten and a half years as a printer first! The bins was a job that I did, and I’m glad that I did it, because it kept the wolf from the door, but I only did it for eight months! I did make the show aware of that but obviously they wanted to have that attraction for people who were in my position, who feel that they’ve got a talent and want to better themselves. Luckily I got the chance to do that but not everybody does.
You’ve also done the Eurovision Song Contest haven’t you? But the scores weren’t high were they?!
Andy: It’s a shame that the only thing the media concentrate on is the score and not everything else that surrounded it. Talking to the general public, they believe that I deserved a lot higher mark than I got. Terry Wogan made comments about the favouritism within the neighbouring countries, and that [favouritism] was a major factor, it was so blatant. I had one hand tied behind my back before I even started.
What are the contestants actually like?!
Andy: They are lovely people and were there to enjoy themselves like us. We had a great time, we had nine days out there and it was very, very professionally run. The production was brilliant and the stage was fantastic and to get to sing in front of as many as 300 million people is a once in a lifetime experience. It was just spoilt by the voting system, it was ridiculous.
You’re now doing a tour?
Andy: Yes, it’s called An Evening with Andy Abraham and [as well as singing] I’ll also be asking the audience for questions, anything they want to ask me. It’s going to be a fantastic, high energy night with a lot of songs that the audience will know like “Me and Mrs Jones” and “When A Man Loves A Woman” but at the same time I’m hoping to build my own set of classics. I’ve got a fantastic album which has some great anthemic soul songs on it where people can get up and enjoy themselves and just forget the whole recession nonsense for a couple of hours. It’s definitely well worth the money so get yourselves down there and let’s have a good time!
And finally – what’s your prediction for this year’s X Factor winner?
Andy: Oh Alexandra, without a doubt. If anybody else wins, that would be shocking!
You can see Andy Abraham at the Elgiva Theatre, Chesham on the 31 January 2009, the Swan Theatre, High Wycombe on the 20 February 2009 and the Wyllyotts Centre, Potters Bar on the 27 February 2009.
last updated: 02/01/2009 at 13:04