REBECCA FERGUSON’S down-to-earth honesty is refreshing.
The working-class Liverpool singer who found fame on The X Factor has become one of the most successful former contestants from the show, but she hasn’t let it go to her head.
The mum-of-three keeps away from celebrity culture as much as she can and says she’s all the better for it.
“I think having kids is probably why it’s easier for me to stay out of the spotlight,” said the 30-year-old.
“If I was 23 and had no kids it might have gone a different way.
“One of the reasons I stopped going to a lot of these events was because the women in attendance were getting smaller and smaller and all they talked about was salads and dieting.
“I asked myself if I had to be more like that. But that isn’t reality, talking about lettuce and fitting into size zero clothes.
“If you wonder why a lot of these people are so small it’s because they have to fit into samples they wear on tour. I would rather be healthy, so I’ll just buy my own clothes rather than diet.
“If I went down that path I wouldn’t love it and I don’t think it leads to anything positive.
“There are some events I go to that are fun, but for me it’s all about my music and being an artist.”
Rebecca releases her fourth album, the deeply personal Superwoman, on October 14.
The songs are about the end of a relationship which, she says, left her struggling with a huge range of emotions.
“All of my albums have been personal but this was the most sensitive and risky,” Rebecca continued.
“I wrestled with what to say the album was about when I was doing interviews like this.
“Do I just say it’s about female empowerment or do I admit what happened? About being pregnant, rejected, the thought that he didn’t want me or the baby – it’s not something women speak about.
“There’s a sense of shame and of it being a taboo subject.
“I touch upon it all but in a positive way and people who are listening could apply it to lots of different things because it’s not too specific.
“I felt I had to be honest because there might be other women going through something similar.
“The whole point is for people to take pleasure out of it and for it be therapy not just for me but others, too.”
Despite this being her fourth release, she’s still anxious in the lead-up to a new album.
“I’m such a nightmare,” she laughed. “I send a million emails to my management and record company. I’m always a bag of nerves.
“Like anyone, if you have a big assessment or project to deliver in your job you are always nervous beforehand.
“But I took my time with it – spending 18 months writing – and I didn’t want to release it until I knew it was good enough. I’ve worked hard and hopefully that’s enough.”
Rebecca is about to go on tour in support of her album and will be taking baby Arabella and her two older kids, Karl and Lillie, on the road with her.
“Including rehearsals, the tour will last two months and I wouldn’t have felt right leaving them so long,” she admitted. “We’d miss each other too much.
“I’m taking them with me and employing a tutor. They’ll love running around the venues playing hide-and-seek.”
After the UK leg of the tour, Rebecca hopes to go overseas.
“I’d love to go international with this album and to go back to America.
“It was good fun there, but I found it odd how the radio stations were segregated.
“If you’re black or mixed race, you only get played on R&B and hip-hop stations.
“I was promoting Heaven, a pop and soul album, and had to go to all of these hip-hop stations, which was quite messed up.”
No matter where her career takes Rebecca, her three kids will always be her priority.
She added: “I’m just a typical Northern mum, teaching my kids good manners and making sure they’re down-to-earth – traditional family values.”
Rebecca Ferguson, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, October 25