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Sunday, October 2, 2016 1:27pm ET by  

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Exclusive interview with Rebecca Ferguson on new album 'Superwoman' and its tracklisting

This week we interviewed the talented singer-songwriter Rebecca Ferguson, who has come a long way since her big break on The X Factor UK in 2010.

We were ushered into a quiet room, where we awaited with her friendly team. Ten minutes later, the gorgeous Rebecca Ferguson entered, with a beaming smile that immediately made us feel at ease, despite her budding legend status.

Before the interview, we chatted informallly and were immediately struck by her air of childlike innocence and openess. Her conversation was punctuated with vivacious, no-holding back laughter.

The interview was to talk about Rebecca’s highly anticipated, upcoming fourth studio album, ‘Superwoman’. The record is the follow-up to 'Lady Sings The Blues'.

We wanted to address the inspiration behind it, knowing she has gone through an extremely tough relationship break-up and been forced to rebuild a new life with her family. As any hands-on, single-mother of three children will appreciate, it’s not easy bringing them up on your own, but if you can imagine balancing a busy career on top of that, it will give you a greater understanding and respect for what a truly strong and remarkable young woman Rebecca Ferguson really is.

'Superwoman' (Sony Music) was produced by Troy Miller, who has worked with both Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse. It also features collaborations with Jonny Lattimer (Ellie Goulding and James Bay), Negin Djafari (Miley Cyrus), and the fabulously named Eg White (Adele, Sam Smith and Florence and the Machine).

When we ask Rebecca if she is aware of the effect her music and voice have on others, she replies: “Sometimes, when I’m on stage, I can see someone become emotional. I saw one person cry.”

As we moved on to how she approaches her writing process, she divulged: “It’s very instinctive. Normally, I only need two or three bars and I write instantly. It’s very instinctive with all my writing. I just do it.”

Rebecca's first two albums, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Freedom’, sound like the names of novels, so it makes sense that she has also turned her talent now to writing books.

‘Superwoman’ comprises of 12 tracks that fold neatly into each other like chapters of a book. All, in our humble opinion, worthy of becoming acclaimed classics, so we have decided to go through them track-by-track for you:

The lead single was released on September 2 and its music video unveiled on September 28. It was written by Pearl Lowe and Dean Goffey (former Supergrass drummer).

Rebecca spoke about premiering their song on the launch show (September 3) of BBC One's ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, in which Pearl Lowe’s daughter, Daisy Lowe, is a current contestant.

REBECCA: "That was so ironic! That’s like fate!"

Yeah, I know you’ve been drinking maybe one too many.
Baby, that got you thinking that you’re getting back to me.
So, tell me is there another that’s got your heart locked down?
Cos, I can’t help but wonder who’ll be keeping you now.’

This second track is a very feisty, upbeat, Motown-inspired track. Rebecca sings defiantly from a position of strength, telling her lover that she’s had enough, despite his apologies and has seen the light as she’s ‘back on her feet’ and back to having fun.

Truly, I say to you, not a day I don’t think about your eyes,
And how tired they’ve been.

'You’ve done the bottles, you’ve paced the hall,
But deep down I know there’s a strength from within.’

It didn’t turn out as you thought,
The fairytale was more like a war.
Mmm, how innocent you are.

'No father just a crushed dream,
Is not exactly your knight in shining armour.’

REBECCA: “(This song) is about me. It’s like speaking to myself, really. My head was everywhere. So, it was just me pouring my heart out.

“When I jumble it together, I don’t know if it makes sense. I’m literally just singing. At one part I’m singing to myself and in other parts I’m asking ‘will you hold me?’

“It’s an emotional song... it’s a bit chokey.”

It’s been a long time. How can this go on?
You said the wrong words, so I’m writing this song.
The mess you left was my crying best. It wasn’t my fault.'

It was a cold night, a bitter Wednesday,
You had an iced tongue, it took my breath away.
The words you used cut me inside.’

REBECCA: “I can’t sing that song, I won’t sing it. It’s too raw. It’s hard physically to get through without being in a mess.

“It’ll be hard (to play it live) to do that many dates singing that song - it’s very draining.

“It’s such a personal song. I wanted it to be on the end of the album because it’s kind of my closure. I’ve moved on from it now. I’m in a positive place.

“That song was literally written in about 10 – 15 minutes. It was written very quickly at the end of a studio session. We were about to finish and I said ‘just let me do this,’ and it literally just poured out. It was more like a conversation.”

The script ain’t getting much better,
No, cos you slipped up twice.

'You’re losing your shine, boy,
You’re gonna pay the price.

I think we’ve been here a couple of times, that same look, that same shirt, those same lines,
But I’ve drawn my conclusions, you want me to be your bit on the side.

'I'm not somebody’s fool'
That ain't me! No, no!'

REBECCA: “It’s about men who cheat and about refusing to allow yourself to be cheated on.”

Stand united as we start to fight this,
They’ll feel a shake in the ground.

'Because the love that keeps us strong,
Goes deeper, goes deeper than oceans.’

REBECCA: "The original story of ‘Oceans’ was that Avicii had requested that I feature on his album, and so, I went into the studio that day thinking: ‘Oh, I need to write a dance song. How do you write a dance song?’"

"I was listening to his old stuff, not realising he was making more of a country album. Really, one of my original-type songs would have been better but I thought: ‘No, dance song!’

“At the time, I had just come back from L.A. and there were all the riots going on with kids getting shot and everything.

“So, ‘Oceans’ is actually about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. If you listen back now (to the track) you’ll understand (quoting lyrics): ‘The love that keeps us strong goes deeper than oceans’ - as in: ‘you can keep attacking us, you can keep going against us, but we have a love-bond.

“So that’s what ‘Oceans’ is about, but it was originally for Avicii.”

Made a connection by mistake,
Tried to break it. It’s already too late.
'If I had a penny for every heart you take,
I’d have too much money, have to give it away.

Cos your words are smooth on my skin,
Ooh, troubled eyes they pull me in.

'Everytime I hunger for the taste of it,
In the end I know, I always pay for it.'

REBECCA: "(This song) is about toxic relationships. One of my favourite songs."

“It’s about meeting people, and being vulnerable yourself and getting into relationships that you know aren’t good but you’re that needy for love, that you do it anyway and you pay for it. My 20s were all a mess. All of it!” (laughs).

One look and you had me, how d’ya do that?
Still can’t explain.’

REBECCA: "'Stars' was written about, well, it was a kind of crush, really. 

"When you think someone's made for you: 'It's written in the stars. It must be!' (chuckles). I'm such an old romantic!"

'I'm not wearing a cape, these are just regular clothes,
And I'm praying a god come rescue this load.
'Smiling through the bad times but it’s all just for show,
Save my tears for when I’m alone.’

'Never ever said I was Superwoman,
I never said it.
I never ever said I was more than golden,
Never did, never did.’

REBECCA: 'I turned up to a session with a great writer, Negin, her name is. She’s never written with me before, and I was told there would only be one producer in the room.

"I arrived and sat with Negin, and she said: ‘Right! We’re going to write a positive song,' and I just said: 'No we’re not... because life isn’t positive!'

"'And, sometimes,' I said, ‘life isn’t easy. I’m not singing songs to pretend life is easy. I want you to imagine a single mother. She’s just got to work. She’s got a phone call from school saying ‘your kid’s sick’. She’s got to get back all the way to the other side of the city to pick up her kid.'

'That’s who you’re writing this song about. It’s that woman who’s at breaking point and is doing it alone.

"That’s where ‘I never said I was Superwoman’ came from. It was me saying that to the writers and the producers, because every writer wants you to write positive because positive sells, but I was like: ‘No! I’m writing about real life!’"

I hear the wind change,
It’s calling me,
'Like a rhythm under my feet.
Which way should I turn,
As I got to leave.’

REBECCA: “In a way, when I was writing it, I thought I was writing it about somebody else, but actually it turns out it’s so fitting to me. But when I was writing at the time, there was the refugee crisis all over television.

“There were those scenes of the little boy and I said to the writers and the producers I was working with: ‘I’m writing it from the point of view of that mother who’s trying to get away from that place. She just needs to find peace. Doesn’t matter where it is, it doesn’t matter what country it is.

“As long as she finds some peace. All that mother wants is for her child to be safe. That’s the place I was writing about.

“When I listen back it’s got elements of me in it as well."

It’s not easy to hate something you love,
It’s not easy to commit to giving up.
Behind this smile you face the world alone.

'And, I’ve been wallowing in hollow victories,
I cast away my pride, took pleasure in defeat.
If you just looked at me, the way you look at her.'

REBECCA: “They are the emotions I was going through when I was pregnant because you’re wanting him, but at the same time you hate him.

“Your hormones want the person you created the child with. That’s what I was writing about: ‘It’s not easy to hate you, when you know I love you'."

You know I’ve got to tell you something,
So, take a seat and listen to me.
'Let me break it down,
I’ll show you what life without a woman would be.

'Move over, Mister-Good-for-Nothing, 
I’ll show you things you wouldn’t believe.
'But first you gotta stop, 
And find out what life without a woman would be.

'I’ll tell you, boy, you won’t like it!’

REBECCA: "It’s one of those songs that’s empowering, isn’t it? It’s about embracing yourself as a woman and recognising how strong you are throughout your flaws."


Throughout the entire interview, Rebecca spoke so softly and warmly, yet only a week earlier at her ‘Superwoman’ showcase, we had watched in total awe as she wowed her audience with such powerful vocals, that you could easily have mistaken her for one of the great soul, blues or jazz divas of all time. Effortlessly tapping into buried emotions, belting out track after track of poignant lyrics that resonated so deeply, that we were left fighting back the tears. Yet despite our tender heartstrings being pulled upon, there was a tremendous strength in all of the songs, layered with immense vulnerability, defiance and survival.

Rebecca is one of the most inspiring and remarkable young artists around today, because she possesses a unique ability to capture and articulate the struggles, heartbreak and healing that passionate relationships all too familiarly bring. Her magic is somehow in making us feel that we are not alone in this sometimes difficult but still beautiful world. She gives us a sense of hope. A sense that even if we’re smiling on the outside, yet broken within, we can and will get through it, because she has. And her very music and life to date is a testament to that.

It’s no surprise that Rebecca’s latest offering to the world is fittingly titled ‘Superwoman,’ because this truly great artist is one of the UK’s leading ones.

'Superwoman' is out on October 14 and you can buy limited edition signed copies here (but hurry, so as not to miss out).

Single, 'Bones', is out now and can be bought here.

The soulstress will commence a 16-date UK tour on October 23. You can see the dates and buy tickets here.

Watch Rebecca Ferguson's music video for 'Nothing's Real but Love', below:

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