As the winner of The X Factor, Burke released her debut single, "Hallelujah", originally a Leonard Cohen song, that became the current European record holder for single sales over a period of 24 hours: selling 105,000 copies in one day; but also, the top-selling song of the year in the UK as well as becoming the 2008 Christmas number one single in the UK. By January 2009, sales of Burke's version of "Hallelujah" had passed one million copies which made her the first British female soloist to sell that amount of copies in the UK.
Overcome, was released in October 2009 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number one. The album's lead single "Bad Boys" was released a week in advance to the album and debuted at number one in the UK: becoming her second consecutive number-one single and first Brit-nominated single. She has sinced followed "Bad Boys" with singles that have consecutively stolen top ten places in the UK Singles Chart. To date, Alexandra has achieved 4 Number one singles across the UK and Ireland: "Hallelujah", "Bad Boys", "All Night Long" and "Start Without You".
Burke has been nominated twice for Brit Awards and has achieved four solo number one singles: her most recent single "Start Without You"
"Start Without You"
became her third solo UK number one hit; as well as two number one singles as a featured artist in charity singles "Hero" and "Everybody Hurts". As of December 2010, Burke has sold over 4 million records in the U.K alone with combined sales of her singles and her debut album Overcome.
Early lifeBurke was born on 25 August 1988 in Islington, London. Her middle names come from her great grandmother (Imelda) and grandfather (Cecil) and her mother's maiden name (Ewan). She is the daughter of Jamaican-born David Burke and English-born Melissa Bell of Jamaican, Irish and Dougla descent, who is a former Soul II Soul member. Her parents separated when she was six. She has lived in Islington all of her life and has four brothers and one sister.
Burke started singing when she was five and at nine years old, she sang on stage in Bahrain with her mother. At the age of twelve, Burke entered the TV talent show Star for a Night where she was the youngest person in the competition. She was beaten to the number-one spot by Joss Stone. At age twelve, she sang down the phone to Stevie Wonder. When Burke's mother asked her to sing to Jean Carne, Carne was so impressed that she asked her to perform at her show the next night.
Burke attended Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington, Angel and after her GCSEs she left school to pursue a career in music. Before her X Factor success, she had been working as a singer, gigging at weekends in clubs. She also went on tour with "Young Voices", a charity that raises money for children with leukemia, where she performed at large venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.
2005–2009: The X FactorBurke auditioned for the second series of The X Factor in 2005 (which was eventually won by Shayne Ward). She made it through to the final seven in Louis Walsh's 16–24 category, effectively the top 21 of the competition; however, Walsh did not choose her for his final four as he felt that she was too young for the competition. Burke however did not give up and went on to seek professional singing lessons over the next three years, proving her dedication and commitment to becoming a popstar.
Burke's second bid to win The X Factor came in 2008. Falling into the "Girls" category, she was mentored by Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole who selected her for the finals—a series of ten weekly live shows in which contestants are progressively eliminated by public vote. On the first live show, Burke performed Whitney Houston's classic "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". For the second live show she covered "I'll Be There" by The Jackson 5. In week three, big band week, Burke performed Christina Aguilera's "Candyman" and received her first standing ovation. For the disco-themed fourth live show, Burke performed Donna Summer's "On the Radio". During Mariah Carey week on 8 November, Burke and the other finalists met Carey for individual masterclasses, with Carey complimenting Burke on her voice. Burke performed "Without You" and received a standing ovation from the judges who all gave her positive comments. Cowell commented that "by any standard, that was just outstanding". Following the show Burke's performance was also praised by Carey who called her rendition of the song "absolutely amazing".
In weeks 6 and 7, Burke received positive comments from the judging panel for her performances of Alicia Keyes's "Empire state of mind" and Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire" (the popularity of which in the UK is mostly a result of Take That's 1993 revival thereof). Week 8 saw her replace Diana Vickers as the bookies' favourite after performing Britney Spears' "Toxic" and Beyoncé Knowles' "Listen", for which she received yet another standing ovation. In week 9, Burke performed Rihanna's hit song "Don't Stop the Music" and again received positive comments, with Louis calling her "the British Beyoncé" and Simon commenting "...We may be seeing the birth of a star here [...] you've got it all, that was a terrific performance". Diana Vickers was eliminated in the semi-final, to the shock and upset of both Burke and Eoghan Quigg. Burke confessed after Vickers' final performance that she thought Vickers was going to win.
Burke was joined in the grand final by Irish teenager Eoghan Quigg and boyband JLS. She sang "Listen" as a duet with Beyoncé (who later performed her UK number-one single "If I Were a Boy"), and after performing with the American singer she proclaimed: "I have achieved a dream".
After the elimination of Quigg she sang what became her debut single, a 1984 song by Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, for the first time. Finally, with over eight million votes cast in total, Burke was revealed as the winner with 58% of the final vote. The single went on to become the Christmas number one of 2008, holding the top spot for three weeks and selling one million copies. There was also a campaign to take Jeff Buckley's cover of Hallelujah to the top of the Christmas chart to deny Burke the top spot. The campaign was fuelled by Jeff Buckley fans' dislike of The X Factor's commercialism and the song's arrangement, as well as a desire by this contingent to introduce younger music fans to Buckley's version. Burke herself was not enamoured of the choice of song, and dismissed the original by remarking "It just didn’t do anything for me".
As winner, Burke received a recording contract with record label, Syco, which is co-owned by Sony Music Entertainment. The contract has a stated value of £1 million, of which £150,000 is a cash advance and the remainder is allocated to recording and marketing costs.
2009–2010: OvercomeOn 13 February 2009 it was reported that Burke signed a £3.5 million, five-album US record deal with Epic Records. Burke's first album was originally scheduled for March 2009, however, Simon Cowell confirmed that her album was scheduled for release later in the year to allow Burke to polish her skills and find the right songs for the album, so that it would not be rushed. The album was released on 19 October 2009 in the UK, titled Overcome.
Burke's first commercial single from her debut album is titled "Bad Boys",
which features Flo Rida. The single premiered in the UK on The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 on 25 August 2009. On 18 October 2009, Bad Boys topped the UK Singles Chart. After visiting Burke in the studio, Beyoncé spoke of possibly recording a duet with her and also asked for Burke to join her for Beyonce's second European leg of her I Am… Tour. Bad Boys was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 7 January 2010.
American rapper 50 Cent has expressed an interest in Burke, correctly predicting that she would win The X Factor and invited her to appear in an upcoming music video of his, most likely for a song from his upcoming album Before I Self Destruct. On 19 July 2009, Burke confirmed that she had signed a six figure contract with Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana, to become the face of a new fashion line. She will also model their clothes and accessories in her music videos. Burke performed on the Royal Variety Show on 7 December 2009.
It was confirmed by Burke on 17 November 2009, that "Broken Heels" would be the second commercial single, (third overall), from Overcome. She also confirmed via her Official Twitter page that the video was shot in Los Angeles on 22 and 23 November 2009. On 18 January 2010, Burke began her European Promo Tour in Brussels, Belgium. On 12 March 2010, Burke confirmed on Twitter that "All Night Long" will be her new single, featuring Pitbull. She appeared on Dancing on Ice during the semi-final to perform All Night Long.
On 29 April 2010, Burke entered FHM's poll for the world's top 100 sexiest women 2010 at number 75. This is her first appearance on the poll since she rose to fame in 2008. It has been since confirmed that Burke's next single will be a completely new song, "Start Without You",
"Start Without You"
which is set to be released on 5 September 2010. The video for "Start Without You" debuted on August 19 through VEVO on later premiered on The BOX. The song was performed at T4 On The Beach on 4 July 2010. Additionally, Burke was announced as the first ever brand ambassador for Sure Women, for which she starred in a television advert. Burke gained her fifth consecutive top ten hit, and her third number one single, after Start Without You stormed to the top of the charts, beating Katy Perry to the top spot.
The re-packaged edition of Overcome is to be released of November 29, 2010. Music Week reports that the deluxe makeover will include three brand new tracks; "Perfect", "Before the Rain" and "What Happens On the Dancefloor" featuring Cobra Starship; as well as three number one and two Top 10 singles (including "Start Without You"). A DVD will accompany the release featuring seven videos, including an exclusive promo for the track 'The Silence'. The magazine also confirmed that Burke will promote the record with a performance on The X Factor. A new track on the album was recently revealed to be a duet with "an amazing group". On October 25 Alex revealed via her twitter that a new version of "The Silence" (song) will be the albums 5th commercial single being released in early December. The official music video for The Silence was released on 27 October 2010, via MSN Videos UK. It was confirmed that there would be no further singles from the album after "The Silence".
2010–Present: Untitled upcoming second albumAlexandra revealed that her next album will get "down and dirty", promising the record that will take risks. "It’s got to be sexy. So I’m going to get a lot fiercer and sexier. We’re just getting down and dirty with the next album. I’m going to take a lot more risks and it’s going to be insane." She also hinted at any collaborations on the LP, "I can’t say too much because my management will kill me if I let loose. But I have a special duet planned. I have the ideas, the collaborations in my mind - it’s all locked up in my head." The album is confirmed to be "half-way" finished, and revealed that she is planning to go to New York to record some new tracks. Recording is expected to stop from January to March, and then resuming after. Alex confirmed that she has worked with the Moroccan producer RedOne for a lot of the album, but hopes to work with David Guetta, Bruno Mars, Stargate and Ne-Yo, among others.
- Studio albums
- Overcome (2009)
Awards and nominations
|2009||"Hallelujah"||BRIT Award for Best British Single||Nominated|
|Alexandra Burke||MOBO Award for Best UK Newcomer||Nominated|
|2010||"Bad Boys"||BRIT Award for Best British Single||Nominated|
|Alexandra Burke||Glamour Women of the Year Awards for Best Newcomer||Won|
|Overcome||Urban Music Award for Best Album 2010||Nominated|
|"All Night Long"||Urban Music Award for Best Collaboration (with Pitbull)||Nominated|
|Urban Music Award for Best Music Video||Nominated|
|Alexandra Burke||BT Digital Music Awards for Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|"Bad Boys"||BT Digital Music Awards for Best Song||Nominated|
|BT Digital Music Awards for Best Video||Nominated|
|The 2010 Popjustice £20 Music Prize||Nominated|
|Alexandra Burke||MOBO Award for Best UK Act||Nominated|
|Cosmopolitan for Ultimate UK Music Star||Won|
|MTV Europe Music Award for Best Push Act||Nominated|
|XS AWARDS for Best British Star||Won|
|WSC Gala Awards 2010 for Best Female Artist||Nominated|
PhilanthropyBefore her X Factor appearance and success, Burke went on tour with "Young Voices", a charity that helps to raise money for children with leukemia, where she performed many times at large venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, many celebrities, including Burke, wanted to help the suffering people of the country. She was confirmed for the Haiti Charity single, Everybody Hurts, commenting "I hope the single raises lots of money. It's great that we can come together and do this. It's a very special song." Soon after, Burke revealed she would be travelling to Haiti so she can physically help the people out there, saying "For me, singing two lines on a single doesn't mean I have really helped. I wanted to go out and physically help the kids. I'm not a doctor, but I can give clothes, food and love. At least I'll be able to make a couple of kids smile." Burke visited and helped in the week beginning 8 February 2010, and posted two video blogs about her visit on YouTube. She later returned six months later to check the progress of the country after being a huge part in the Save the Children charity campaign.
Alexandra was confirmed to join various female celebrities to join the Peru Inka Trail Hike for Breast Cancer Care, along with Fearne Cotton, Denise Van Outen, and Holly Willoughby.