Alexandra Burke: I was a ‘yes girl’ when I first started out in music - I know myself more now

Alexandra Burke  (Getty Images)
Alexandra Burke (Getty Images)

Alexandra Burke has said she feels more comfortable in her own skin in her thirties - adding she felt like a “yes girl” when she was working in the music industry when she was younger.

The singer, 33, shot to fame in 2008 when she won the fifth season of X Factor aged 20 - and her debut single Hallelujah sold 105,000 copies within 24 hours, becoming Christmas number one of that year.

Burke is now back in the recording studio working on new music - but reflected on starting out in the industry and finding it hard to be herself.

She said: “I am recording and creating my fourth album. Having won X Factor at 20, it is 13 years on so I have changed as a person and I want my personality to come across in my music. I love life, and I want my music to represent that.

“I found it [the music industry] more difficult when I was younger, having to please people and be that yes girl.

“Being 20 years old, I found it harder to be me. Right now I am growing, I am living, I am owning 33, I am owning finding my self worth. I am loving life and I am making every day count. I just want to be the girl who spreads positivity.”

London-born Burke recently starred on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

During Sunday night’s final, she emerged as a winner of the Channel 4 show, alongside Wes Nelson and Aled Davies.

She said the show “changed her completely” - but admitted it took a toll on her mental and physical health.

She said watching the show - which was filmed almost a year ago - back on television gave her anxiety and made Sundays, the day it was broadcast, her least favourite day of the week.

“Sunday is my favourite day as I like to cook a roast and enjoy it, but it was my worst day because of my anxiety around the show,” she said. “It was recorded nearly a year ago, and it brought up a lot for me, reliving it. They gave us a lot of support at the time, I had therapy around the time of it but to relive it now, I am getting sweaty palms thinking about it.”

Burke continued: “The joke is I would have done it all again. It changed me completely. It has opened up my eyes, my heart, my soul. I am over the moon that I did it. I did break my ribs, I did get hyperthermia. But I am fine. It is one of the best things I have ever done.”

She said friends tried to warn her off from taking part.

Alexandra Burke is an ambassador for The Hygiene Bank (Boots/The Hygiene Bank)
Alexandra Burke is an ambassador for The Hygiene Bank (Boots/The Hygiene Bank)

“Most people said to me: ‘You’re mad, what are you doing?’ But I wanted to face these fears and do something for myself.”

Burke is the ambassador for a new campaign by Boots and The Hygiene Bank about the extent of hygiene poverty among young people and school children in the UK.

A study found a majority (69 per cent) of UK teachers have observed poor hygiene in their pupils and say it has become a greater problem since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) have taught pupils with body odour and 75 per cent have seen children attend school in unwashed clothes.

Burke said about the campaign: “I read the figures and my heart just broke. You do have families out there that have to weigh up whether they choose to buy hygiene products or they pay rent or bills. It made me think about these kids and their future and their confidence. I thought I had a platform and I could help them out.”

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