IN 2005, Alexandra Burke auditioned for reality talent show The X-Factor (UK) and made it all the way to the Top 21. Burke thought she had the world at her feet until one of the judges decided that she was too young for the competition.

“When I was let go at 16, I had no intention of ever going back to audition as I couldn’t face the rejection again. I thought it was really hard to continue fighting for your dreams after being told ‘no’ at such a young age,” said Burke, who was in Mines Resort City, Selangor recently for a showcase.

Three years later, Burke auditioned for The X-Factor again. She explained how her mother called her bluff on that fateful day.

“My mum had to drag me out of bed to go for the audition. I remember pretending to be ill by faking some coughs and sneezes,” she said with a laugh.

“Then my mum said, pointing her finger at me: ‘Woman you’re not ill. You’re going to go down right now, change your clothes and go for the audition’. As much as I wanted to be angry at her back then, I couldn’t ask for more because she did the right thing by making me get up and fight for my dreams again.”

The chatty lass returned to X-Factor and became the ultimate comeback kid by winning the competition. Her success story didn’t end there. Burke currently holds the European record for the most single sales with her debut song Hallelujah. Then her first album Overcome debuted at the top spot on the UK Album Charts in 2009 and even spawned four number one singles.

Now a bona fide pop star at 24, Burke is enjoying the success of her second album Heartbreak On Hold.

Despite winning X-Factor and having numerous number one hits, Burke would be the first to tell you that it all seems too good to be true.

“Like wow, I never thought in a million years that it was possible to go back to X-Factor and win it. I remember telling myself that I just need to make it through week one and tell myself, at least I got further than I did three years ago.

Pop R&B singer Alexandra Burke was all endearing and chatty during her interview with R.AGE.

Honestly, to this day, the thought that I’ve won X-Factor still blows my mind.”
It also took her a while to let the fact that she is performing in Malaysia sink in.

“I woke up this morning feeling a little bit delusional and then it really hit me – oh my, I’m really in KL,” she said adding that the whole experience is “a real blessing”.

Burke talked about how her latest album Heartbreak on Hold is about embracing life.

“I went through a lot in the period of making this album. I’m not the kind of person to talk about personal life as I rather just sing about it and that way there is a connection with my fans. This album is for those who are going through tough times, and I really want them to see the positive side of life.

“I really believe that if you wake up feeling good, then the rest of your day will be great. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true! This album is really just about that, believe in the good things that life has to offer. In others words, just put the heartbreaking things on hold.”

Not only did Burke look stunning in person, the endearing pop star also made everyone feel like a dear old friend during the interview. When asked to name her favourite songs from the album, she gasped.

“I have loads! Can I give you my top three? The first one has to be the title track. Second, would be Money Can’t Buy because it’s a song I co-wrote with a friend when I was 18 and the third is Fire because it’s a song that will make any girl feel good.”

The singer also played along when asked about her dream movie role. Without any hesistation, she blurted “Transformers”.

“No, I don’t want to be a robot! I want to play the role that Megan Fox played. You know, someone who is hot, sexy and could fix cars. Wait, scratch that, maybe I’d be a Bond girl like Halle Berry instead.”

But ultimately, Burke said she wants to be a good role model to her fans and other aspiring singers.

“(Late R&B singer) Aaliyah had a great song that basically goes like this – if at first you don’t succeed, you dust yourself off and try again. I know it’s easier said than done and I could never tell myself that four years ago. But I kept striving for positivity. With that in mind, I got to where I am today.”

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