The incomparable Rebecca Ferguson makes her long-awaited return to the stage next month with a special run of live shows across the U.K. in support of her as-yet-untitled, upcoming 5th studio album.
In the 10 years since Ferguson was crowned runner-up on the seventh series of the X Factor back in 2010, the Liverpool born singer has gone on to have quite the incredible career, time and time again proving herself as a accomplished performer and authentic musical force, producing some of the most passionate, beautifully written and delivered love songs of our generation.
CelebMix caught up with Rebecca, in the midst of busy tour preparations, to talk new music, learning to embrace her talent, and the reasons why some Americans think she should no longer be making her own cups of tea…
You’re officially back and heading out on your first U.K. tour in 2 years – how are you feeling about hitting the road again after taking some time away from music?
I can’t believe it’s been 2 years! But I’m excited you know, it’s good – to be honest with you I’m excited about this whole year in general, it’s looking like it’s going to be really positive for me career-wise, and personally too, I feel to be in a really good place as well so it’s a really nice feeling.
Putting together any kind of tour, or live show, is a pretty big undertaking, what’s the process like of devising a ‘Rebecca Ferguson’ concert in 2020?
It’s a nice, fun process to be honest with you, but with this tour it’s purely about, and this is gonna sound crazy, it’s purely about investing. I’m not making anything out of this, I’m just investing everything into the tour because I want it to be an amazing show! So I want an amazing costume, I want the sound to be amazing, I want people to see loads of musicians on stage so I’m really giving it my all, and making sure I put on the best show for the fans.
That surely creates a lot of pressure?
Well, I’m doing a lot of organising at the minute! (laughs) Right now I’m really focused on what will make the show better. That’s generally what I’m saying to everyone, everyday ‘what is going to make this show better?’ So it’s little things like, do we need a violinist onstage? YES WE DO! I’m throwing the kitchen sink at it and I’m excited at creating a show that is purely about the art and nothing else… I’m really looking forward it.
In terms of the look and feel, what can fans coming to the shows expect to see?
I want to create a really fun, upbeat show. I want people to come along and just dance, let go and forget all of their problems for the night.
So lets fast forward a little, to the opening night of the tour in Birmingham, how do you think it will feel, standing onstage in front of your audience again?
Oh, I can’t wait – I’m really looking forward to getting out there and singing again, especially the new songs, as I have new music coming out soon – so I’m excited for the fans to hear what I’ve been working on… and seeing if they like it!
I’m excited at creating a show that is purely about the art and nothing else.
As you say, there’s new music on the way, and we’ll talk more about that later, but I wonder which, if any, of your older material are you most looking forward to revisiting and playing live?
Do you know what, there’s one song that’s called ‘I Hope’ that I’ve absolutely stayed away from, and I don’t know why, I’ve just never really done it. But all my friends go to Mykonos where they play a lot of dance music, and they hear it quite a lot out there, so for them I am looking forward to doing that one and also for me too, that should be a fun one to revisit on the tour because like I said, I’ve not sung it in years.
How do you find the routine of life on tour – do you enjoy the structure and the pace of it?
Do you know what, I never went to uni because I had my kids so young, so the lifestyle on tour reminds me of what it must have been like to be living in student dorms! Because there’s this group of us and we’re all sharing living space on the tour bus – the odd ones getting slightly drunk and vomiting, others are there partying… so yeah, it’s maybe a bit like what it could have been like at uni! And I feel like I’m a teenager again because on tour, I get my food brought to me or we’re eating takeaways and I’m not responsible for anything for a week or two (laughs).
You’re known for having the most incredible voice, is it quite hard to stay disciplined with all that fun stuff going on around you?
Erm… well… (laughs). Yeah I do have to be quite sensible I guess, but to be fair, in general, I’m quite well behaved. It’s normally the band who are having a ball, so the disco will be going on downstairs on the bus and I’m the boring one upstairs who has to be like ‘goodnight everyone’ because at the end of the day, it’s me who’s gotta get up there and sing night after night and let’s be honest, nobody wants to see a hung over Rebecca Ferguson show! But on the last night of the tour, that’s when I tend to just chill, have a drink and get the disco songs on!
So as well as the tour, there’s new music on the horizon…
Yes! I can’t wait…
We are OBSESSED with your latest track I’ll Be There – it is an absolute BANGER! We love the 90’s reference and feel of it, but also how current and fresh it sounds, it’s like the past meeting the future all on one record – it’s for sure the kind of music that we’ve all been missing and needing!
Thank you so much, that’s so good to hear! I’ve got other songs coming out that are similar in sound as well, and I’d say the new album as a whole definitely has the same feel to it.
It’s most definitely a new style and sound that suits you…
Well I think people really loved me doing ‘Show Me Love’ on the X Factor and I think that type of vibe will be good for me… I think I might actually sing ‘Show Me Love’ on the tour because I’ve not every really sung it since the show all those years ago. I think it will really get the audience going and having a good time, because like I said before, I just want to put together a really upbeat, fun show.
Going back into the studio, sounds like it’s been a great experience for you! Has it been fun to experiment musically this time around, and explore different styles and genres?
Yeah it has, it’s been a lot of fun! Like you say, to just experiment and see what I come up with has been amazing. I think that’s where my heads at, because I’m more relaxed and more comfortable with myself than I ever have been before, and I’m in a really good place, so I’ve wanted to actually sing more upbeat songs so this fresh sound really comes from where I’m at in my life.
You’ve been working with the legendary Nile Rogers on some of the new tracks, what’s that been like?
Oh it’s been amazing – he’s such a positive person, and he’s really helped me to change the way I look at music, because when you’re in the studio with him he just smiles all the time, and everything’s just so positive by him just simply being around, so he’s really helped me a lot.
The man is an ICON! How does it feel to be working with someone of his stature?
Do you know what, I never get time to sit back and reflect on what I’ve achieved or the people I’ve met and worked with, but then someone like you will say something like that and I’m like ‘wow, it’s amazing!’ I mean it’s unbelievable isn’t it? I’m really grateful.
I’ve always loved music but I really fell back in love with music again when I started to work with Nile, because he has such a positive outlook on it.Rebecca on working the Nile Rodgers
In the past you’ve always talked very openly and honestly about the times in your life when you’ve maybe not felt as confident or as self-assured as you do now, what is it do you think thats changed the ways of how you view yourself today?
I didn’t ever have that kind of self love for myself where I would think I was good enough. I sort of had this attitude of where it was like I needed to dismiss my talent. You know like you see these people who have got good voices and their proper divas – and I’m not saying that’s how you should behave – but they own it! Like, they properly own it, where they’re like ‘I am bad ass!’ And I never really had that, like I’ve never been that girl, but lately I’ve been acknowledging that I’ve got a talent – and I always should have acknowledged that, and learned to love myself and accept myself… that’s the road that I’m on at the moment.
I honestly think it’s a British ‘thing’, it’s like we’re encouraged and almost conditioned to downplay our talents and successes for fear that if we don’t we’ll be perceived as being arrogant and self centred…
I think you’re right – because when I went over to America they got me to have media training which was hilarious! I walked into this room, sat down and they put some cups and a pot of tea in front of me, and I’m like “who wants a cuppa?” because you know, I’m just a northern scouse girl and they were all like “woah, no, you don’t make the tea!” I asked “why?” and they tried to teach me this American etiquette where they were like “well, now you’ve ‘made it’ you don’t make the tea, someone will make it for you!” But I just didn’t get it. (laughs) It’s the Americans state of mind I guess isn’t it? It’s a different way of thinking over there, whereas here in England we’re just not like that at all… maybe I need to start clicking my fingers and demanding a cup of tea more (laughs). I don’t think that would go down too well or last long – I’d be getting kicked out of my own house if I tried!
2020 marks 10 years since we were first introduced to you on The X Factor! A decade in music is an incredible achievement, how do you feel to be reaching such a monumental milestone in your career?
It’s crazy, I really can’t believe it!
You’ve done so much in that time, of varying degrees, what have been some of your personal highlights and memories from
Ooh highlights… career highlights for me would be doing The Jay Leno Show in America which is a bit like the show that James Corden does over there now; that was a big moment for me. Singing with Lionel Richie was amazing, touring American was amazing… but then I’ve got other little highlights that maybe wouldn’t seem as important on paper, like lovely gigs where the audiences have just been really receptive – they might not have been big, headline shows but the people there been really appreciative of what I’m doing, which always feels really good. And of course hometown gigs are always lovely as well… there’s been lots, I’ve been really lucky.
You can catch Rebecca Ferguson live at the following dates and venues throughout February:
25 February Birmingham Town Hall
26 February Leeds City Varieties Music Hall
27 February London Islington Assembly Hall
28 February Liverpool Grand Central Hall
Tickets available here.