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Life according to… Alexandra Burke: X Factor winner and The Bodyguard musical star talks Whitney, dogs and life on the road

© John Paul PietrusAlexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner and Strictly finalist Alexandra Burke is heading back north of the border next month for a new run of musical The Bodyguard.

Alexandra plays Rachel Marron in the show, whitch features songs by the late Whitney Houston.

You first starred in The Bodyguard in 2014. Do you approach it differently five years on?

When I left in 2016, I said I wasn’t going back. It’s a hard show and I didn’t think I could do it again.

But the experience I had with Sister Act, Chess, Chicago and Strictly changed that.

All those experiences have altered my approach to acting, while Strictly changed the way I dance, and I also feel I’ve grown a lot in the last couple of years.

My connection to it is even deeper – maybe because I’m a little older now.

It’s an emotion-driven story. How do you cope with that each night?

I’ve learned to disconnect a little bit in order to protect my heart, because the show is an emotional roller coaster.

I think about the audience first, because I want them to enjoy it.

Do you enjoy singing the Whitney Houston songs?

My connection to Whitney and the songs will never leave.

I’ve always been a massive fan, one of the biggest, and I still listen to her music.

My mum used to do backing vocals for Whitney and when she sang with her on Top Of The Pops, she spoke to Whitney about me.

Her advice was to keep working and never stop.

Is it a challenge singing those big songs every night?

Sometimes I just want to go on and scream and shout, but I have to protect myself.

I’m constantly talking to myself, saying don’t push, use technique.

Being a singer isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s so much joy and brings joy to others.

What’s life like on the road?

I have four dogs I adore – a Yorkshire terrier, a Chihuahua, a French bulldog and a Pomeranian – and they come on tour with me.

I also go to the gym six days a week.

The cast and company had a massive party the other night and I didn’t go as I would lose my voice.

I have to pick when I socialise – I know what I’m like when I have a glass of red in my hand!

Plans for after the tour?

I’m going to Los Angeles for three or four months to finish my album.

I also have another project I can’t talk about yet.

Are you looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh?

I love the history and walking around the city, it’s gorgeous.

I tried a deep-fried Mars Bar there. It was delicious but I could only have one bite because me and sugar don’t go well together. I’m already hyper without sugar!

The Bodyguard is at the Edinburgh Playhouse, from July 9-20. Tickets via