East performing in 2011
|Also known as||Fleur|
|Born||29 October 1987|
|Origin||Walthamstow, London, England|
I've always loved working out. When I was little, my dad used to make me and my sister do 10 press-ups every day before we brushed our teeth in the morning. It was like a boot camp! Then I did a lot of athletics at school and was a dancer.
I didn't grow up in a wealthy family at all. Being at home all day and watching movies, that was a luxury.
I'd done an EP, and nothing came from that, and I didn't know where to go from there.
Even before I auditioned for 'X Factor' the second time, I was doing a lot of dance music.
It's funny because the perception is that the typical 'X Factor' contestant is the person who's just working 9 to 5 and just decides to one day go and audition. So yeah, for me, it was a very different story.
Everyone's path is really different, and you just have to be in the right place at the right time. 'The X Factor' gave me that chance I needed, that platform.
I've been hyper-conscious about staying away from rubbish. I don't eat white bread, white rice or cereal unless it's porridge.
Traditionally with debut albums, labels insist on a face, so people know who you are.
I feel like I'm quite versatile. I want to do lots of different styles.
Everyone assumes it is just 'Wendy who works at Tesco' who goes to audition for 'X Factor,' and then their lives are changed, wham, like that. Me, I am someone who has tried for years in the music industry.
I've worked in a call centre and as a nightclub waitress. I served champagne to Rihanna.
I used to hate performing in front of anybody, but I was forced to sing in front of family, at family gatherings. Then it slowly developed, and I started to love it.
I uplift people and see the good in a bad situation. The worst is I'm very critical of myself. If I do a performance, I watch it 100 times afterwards and pick it apart.
'The X Factor' was the final push I needed to have the presence and confidence on stage, which I didn't have before. It's a crash course in the music industry. If you can survive the show, you're ready for the industry.
Just before I auditioned for 'The X Factor,' there was nothing in my diary at all. I had no shows; nothing was happening. It was make-or-break time for me, and I had to consider doing another career altogether.
My mum is black, my dad is white, and when I was a teenager, people would say, 'So what are you? Are you black? Or white? What are you more of?'
I used to shop in ASDA all the time. Every now and then I still go in to get a little salad for lunch.
Before going on 'X Factor' again, I felt like I'd tried everything else.
Even writing verses from my first album, there were songs that I didn't use because I just felt that they weren't really for me. But I think that happens naturally when you write songs. You're in a different mood in every session. There's so many songs out there that could potentially be used by other artists.
I put pressure on myself all the time. I felt it so much with 'Sax,' but I had to just let go and enjoy it.
My mum is from Ghana, and she used to play highlife music in the house, and my dad used to listen to music.
I'd perform in the mirror; I'd pretend to do interviews. I'd practice my autograph for hours.
I've waited so long to get to this point, and I'm so happy to be making my first album. I want to be a performer and an entertainer.
My album is very uplifting and positive and fun. That was my mission – to get people up on their feet and escape the seriousness of life.
There's so much pressure, but I think if you really love it, if you truly love it, and it's your passion to sing, then that's what will get through. I think if you don't have that, you'll realise quickly.
I got to the point where I'd featured on songs; I'd done backing singing for major artists. I'd done all these shows, but it was always for other people.
I'd love to write with some people from the U.K., like Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande… there's a very long list.
I can't ignore what I grew up listening to. My parents used to listen to Michael Jackson non-stop. They used to listen to Luther Vandross, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder.
I normally hit the gym five times a week. I tend to do half an hour of cardio – on the treadmill or a spin class – then head for the weights. I do a lot of core work, obviously!
I do body conditioning, spinning and yoga. On the treadmill, I'll do intervals of running flat and then on incline. I'll do that for an hour.
I remember, one day, I just printed out about a hundred CVs, and I was running around London. I was going to modeling agencies, temping agencies, anything. I was so desperate.
After my first video, I went out and had chicken noodle soup with my sister and manager. We were like, 'How rock n' roll are we? Celebrating the first video with chicken soup.'
The attitude among the people I knew was, 'Fleur wants to be a singer' but it was never, 'Go for it. You can do it.' Everyone was cynical because we'd never seen anyone where we came from do it.