By Angela Bronner Helm
Photography by Damon Baker
Styling by Ailsa Miller
“Livaaapooooooool!” The city name echoed from the rafters of the Bristol performance hall in a way that was decidedly more football game than concert. “We’ve got a Scousa in the house,” Rebecca Ferguson hollered back to the excited fan, her thick Liverpudlian accent eating her words. The singer stood tall in a sexy crimson evening gown as she worked through her set list with a voice evoking Aretha, Tina, Chaka…clear as stream water.
Ferguson, 25, first appeared before audiences as a shy 23-year-old on the British talent show, X Factor. Although she didn’t win the top prize, she earned quite a few famous followers. Fellow British soul singer Adele claims she voted for her 80 times. Syco/Sony Music promptly signed her, and her debut, Heaven (where she worked with Adele producer Eg White), washes ashore in May.
At once delicate, but obviously made of sterner stuff to make it so far on the X Factor ladder, Ferguson’s audition for the show is now legendary: standing stock still, never looking up, she ripped into the chords of Sam Cooke’s sweet lament, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Still, judge and show creator Simon Cowell advised the young mother of two to open up and connect with the audience. Two years in, Ferguson says she’s growing into her confi dence. “When I went on the show, I didn’t have any proper self-belief,” she explains. “I knew I could sing, but I was really self-critical. I think as I’ve performed more, and the tour has helped, I’ve learned a lot,
especially from audiences.”
Top and skirt by Tibi, both at Harvey Nichols, shoes by Jimmy Choo, necklace by Daisy at Oxygen Boutique.