With a powerful stage presence and an incredible voice beyond her years, Sam Lavery certainly impressed the judges and viewers of The X Factor this year!
The talented 17-year-old burst onto our screens with an explosive Ellie Goulding cover and since then, she hasn’t looked back. Beating thousands of hopefuls who auditioned, Sam made it to this year’s live shows and she eventually finished in seventh place.
Earlier this week, just two days after the X Factor final, we met up with Sam Lavery to discuss her time on the show. The Durham-born singer was in Manchester to support Matt Goss at the O2 Ritz so we decided to catch up with her over a cup of coffee.
In our exclusive interview, Sam spoke about: having Simon Cowell as a mentor, life in the X Factor house, the forthcoming arena tour, her plans for the future and much more. She also revealed which of Matt Terry’s songs she secretly wishes she got to perform.
You can read highlights from the interview and hear our chat with Sam in full below!
This year’s season of The X Factor has just come to an end; congratulations on finishing seventh. How would you describe your X Factor experience?
“It was amazing but it was like a whirlwind. We had an X Factor bubble and we created a lovely family. For me, it was just incredible and so much more than I ever expected.”
Were they any tracks performed by other finalists that you secretly wish you sang?
“I loved my Fright Night song when I sang ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ but I did love Matt singing ‘I Put a Spell on You’ as well. That was kinda… I really did want that one but like I say, everyone got the song that suited them best.”
On the show, Simon Cowell was your mentor. How did you find working with him?
“Everyone thinks he’s gonna be so scary and everything but he’s the most honest judge. I think, being in a competition like The X Factor, you need that. You need someone to be brutally honest with you because that’s how you get better and improve week by week. So working with Simon, he was so reassuring. He liked to make sure we were happy and that everything we were doing was what we wanted. I got the best mentor definitely.”
It was revealed on Sunday that Simon predicted that you or Matt Terry were going to win The X Factor this year. How did you feel when you found that out?
“That’s mental to think that he believes in me as well. For me, just that alone, is crazy. To be honest, I totally forgot that they did that at the beginning of this series because it feels like such a long time ago. So yeah, I was pretty chuffed when I found out.”
If Simon wasn’t your mentor, who would your second choice have been?
“I think Nicole because she came up to me when I came off the show and she was like ‘I had a list of songs that I knew you would have smashed.’ I felt like she got me as well and I spoke to her quite a lot backstage. The way she was talking to me, it felt like she really did understand where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. So I think I would have worked really well with Nicole as well.”
Auditions for The X Factor start again next year – what advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying for the show?
“Just be yourself. It’s so easy, when a camera comes in front of you, to try and put a front on. People put different accents on; they don’t mean to but you suddenly become like ‘I need to be what they want to hear.’ All they want to hear from you is you being you. Just 100% be yourself and enjoy every second of it because it can end really quickly or it can go on for a longer period of time. You never know when it’s going to end so enjoy it all.”
From your very first audition to now after the final, how would you say you’ve developed as an artist? Are you proud of any changes in particular?
“Oh my god! I look at my first audition and I don’t even recognise myself. I’m so different but in a good way. I took on all the comments that I got from Simon and all of the other judges and I’ve really just kind of ran with it. I’ve built myself up into an artist that I do see myself as and that Simon’s helped me become. Even styling wise, like everything, I’ve changed so much but it’s all for the better. For me, I’m finally showing the artist that I want to be and the sound that I want to have. That’s all because of the show. From week one to week seven, you can see that I’ve grown so much and changed. It’s crazy.”
You’ll be performing at arenas across the country for The X Factor Tour next year, how excited are you to be hitting the road with your fellow finalists?
“We all get on so well so I think that’ll make a massive difference. Living in and out of hotels, different arenas every night, being on tour, the tour bus and everything is what everyone dreams of. It’s what every single artist dreams of doing and the fact that I’m lucky enough to be doing it with people I get on with and respect so much is amazing.”
Aside from The X Factor tour, have you got any other plans set in stone for 2017?
“So for me, I’m in the studio now and all the beginning of next year until I do the tour. Original music. Obviously, being on the show, we have a different theme every week and I think it makes it harder for someone to really see who you are because you kind of have to fit with the theme. So doing original music, it’s my time to be like: ‘this is what I want to sound like, this is the artist I am, this is my music, my style and this is the artist who I’ve become from the show.’ So original music, writing with different people, recording and just getting some music out there for everyone.”
If you could leave a message for your fans, what would you say?
“Just a massive thank you because I didn’t expect half of the support I did get. I’ve been getting messages from all over the place and it is mental but I really do appreciate it. For me, this isn’t a phase and it’s not something I’m doing half-hearted. I really do put everything into it so I appreciate every little bit of support.”
Sam Lavery’s time on The X Factor may now be over but she still has the arena tour to look forward to next year. The first show will be in Nottingham and you can see where this year’s top finalists will be heading here on The X Factor’s website.
As mentioned in the interview, Sam recently supported Matt Goss on tour and she’ll also be playing at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena tomorrow as one of the performers at their Christmas concert. The stunning singer is already very much in demand.
Over the course of The X Factor, Sam gained a loyal legion of fans and she really does seem to have found her sound as an artist. It’s only the start of her very promising career in the music industry and we can’t wait to hear some of her original material.
Keep Sam on your radar by following @SamLavery_ and her fantastic management @KimGloverEnt on Twitter. Sam’s future is looking very bright and we’re sure 2017 will be brilliant for her. A new X Factor star has well and truly been born.
Which is your favourite Sam Lavery performance? Will you be seeing her live at The X Factor Tour next year? Make sure you let us know over on Twitter @CelebMix!