Since then, the teenager’s been working hard on her album, after reaching number two in the charts with her debut single You Bring Me Joy and her follow up Shut Up (And Give Me Everything You Got) out this Sunday.
She’s set to have one heck of a 2013, and we spoke to her about her upcoming debut album, why she wanted to become a nun early in life and why those rumours about her wanting to go into Celebrity Big Brother were absolute nonsense.
So, the new single’s out this weekend, what can you tell us about it?
Shut Up was one of the first songs I ever recorded in the studio and I always in the back of my mind had a feeling that I was going to release this at some point because I’ve got so much passion and love for the song. I basically wanted to bring out a song that girls could relate to, as I know a lot of names in relationships do get controlled by men. Probably vice versa, I’m sure some women control their men.
I wanted to do a ‘girl power’ song, a basically girls could listen to it and be like ‘Yeah, I can stand up for myself, I’m a strong independent woman.’ That’s what I wanted to get out of this song was for girls to feel like they could relate to it.
Was the video shot on the same set as one of the Batman films?
Yeah, one of the scenes in the Dark Knight was shot there, so that was pretty cool.
You’re first single did so well, what was that like for you?
It was such a shock for me. I remember standing in G.A.Y after I’d performed, watching my song climb the iTunes chart. I think it ended up in the top twenty after ten minutes. That for me was absolutely mind blowing. I was seventeen, releasing my first single, I was never, ever expecting to do so well.
Any details on your debut album?
The album is out on May 6th, so I’m really excited for everyone to hear it, because I’ve been working on it for a year and half. So, I literally can’t wait, I’m looking forward to people giving me their opinions on it. It’s very versatile, it’s not just one specific type of sound. So I’m really looking forward to the feedback and I think that people will see that I’m not just a one trick pony and that I am very versatile as an artist.
Is that versatility important to you then?
Definitely. I think that it gets quite boring if an artist is bringing out the same kind of song all the time. I think it’s nice to keep it fresh and interesting and new and show people that you’re talented as well and not just able to do one type of song.
We’ve heard you play it, so were you able to throw some saxophone in the album at all?
Maybe one day. I’ll throw a little jazz number in there. I love the saxophone, I played it for quite a while at school, I’d like to get back into it.
So we can’t ignore The X Factor. Did your rollercoaster journey on that help prepare you for what was to come?
You know what, I remember when the show ended, I was absolutely exhausted. I felt so drained and I had no energy. I’d burnt myself out to the max. So I came home, had three weeks off, did absolutely nothing, chilled and got myself back on track. When I started back in January 2012, I just went straight into the studio to work on the album.
Then obviously I started the X Factor tour and it just kept escalating from there. It was kind of overwhelming for me to watch my career progress and watch myself grow as a person as well an artist. When I finished the tour, I got back in the studio, knuckled down on the album. Then You Bring Me Joy and I had to do promo for that.
I feel like within these two years of my life where I’ve experienced all this, I’ve learnt a lot and feel I’ve grown a lot. It’s totally overwhelming for me.
You still keep in touch with a load of your other contestants. Is it good for you to hear that so many of you are doing really well?
Absolutely. I think it’s so inspirational because they were my friends. Well, they still are and I think it’s amazing that we’ve all done something with ourselves. I’m just so grateful for everything that’s happened to me.
You’ve been very open about your troubles in the past, how is it to have so many people rally around your music and to get so many positive reviews?
It’s amazing. You always pray that as a performer and an artist that you’re going to get good feedback off people and that you can please them. To simply get good comments is such a blessing and you really treasure them and keep them forever and remember them. Those type of comments also make you want to do more in life and make you more determined and drive to do even better.
You recently performed in Shrek The Musical for Children In Need. What was that like?
It’s always been a dream of mine to perform on the West End stage and to be able to do that at 18 was absolutely incredible. I was so nervous, I was utterly petrified! I knew I had so many people to impress. But I had so much fun and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved it!
Recently you spoke about how you fancied going into the Celebrity Big Brother house. Why’s that?
I got asked about this and it’s been blown up out of all proportion. I was asked if I would ever consider doing another reality show and they asked me about Big Brother. I said that the only time I would even think of it was if I had absolutely nothing else going on in my life and wasn’t seen any more.
If I wasn’t doing anything and bored, then yeah, I’d probably do it but I’m quite happy with my life at the moment thanks. But hey, everyone thought I was going in, so it gives them something to talk about.
Is it true that you wanted to be a nun at some point?
Yeah! (laughs) I absolutely love Sister Act and I thought I could be the next Whoopi Goldberg in a nun society. I never got round to doing that though (laughs).
So, you’ve got the album coming up soon, but what else is in store for you this year?
I’m hoping to do my own tour at the end of the year, depending on how the album does, so fingers crossed. I’m going to Europe in February, I’m doing stuff in Russia, it’s pretty exciting! I’m going to be travelling a lot of the world this year so I’m just enjoying every minute of it and hoping that my music does well.