By Angela Bronner Helm
Photography by Damon Baker
Styling by Ailsa Miller
“Livaaapooooooool!â€ The city name echoed from the rafters of the Bristol performance hall in a way that was decidedly more football game than concert. â€œWeâ€™ve got a Scousa in the house,â€ 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, Chakaâ€¦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 didnâ€™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, Fergusonâ€™s
audition for the show is now legendary: standing stock still, never
looking up, she ripped into the chords of Sam
Cookeâ€™s sweet lament, â€œA
Change Is Gonna Come.â€ 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
sheâ€™s growing into her confi dence.
â€œWhen I went on the show, I
didnâ€™t have any proper self-belief,â€
she explains. â€œI knew I could sing, but I was
really self-critical. I think as Iâ€™ve performed
more, and the tour has helped, Iâ€™ve learned a
especially from audiences.â€
Top and skirt by Tibi, both at Harvey Nichols, shoes by Jimmy Choo, necklace by Daisy at Oxygen Boutique.