Afterword: Fleur East

Interview: Claire Fox

You recorded over 50 songs for your debut album, Love, Sax and Flashbacks which is out December 4th, did you enjoy making the record?

I did. I recorded over 50 songs and had the most fun locked away creating the ‘Fleur sound’ and ‘Sax’ was, funnily enough, one of the first songs that I recorded, so I kept trying to beat ‘Sax’ with every other song. It’s all very energetic —there are no ballads on the album— it’s all up-tempo and literally a fun, fun, album. I can’t wait to get it out there now!

Do you write all the songs yourself or do you collaborate with other writers on the album?

Yes, I write them or co-write them but it’s very important for me that I’m heavily involved because when I perform the songs on stage it feels real to me and I can connect with the lyrics. Even performing ‘Sax’ on The X Factor a few weeks ago, I felt so much pressure going back but the fact I was able to connect with the song made it so much more enjoyable.

Not many people know this but you entered the X Factor with a girl group in 2005 only to be kicked out in the first live show and spent the next few years trying to break the industry, what was this experience like?

Yeah, I worked hard and learned my craft going to singing lessons and dancing. I got to work with Rita Ora and DJ Fresh on their single ‘Hot Right Now’ —which was before she became really successful; It was very surreal for me.I did a lot of backing singing and things like that to stay involved in the industry.

Why did you decide to enter The X Factor again in 2014?

I guess I just felt I hadn’t [had] the opportunity to break the industry until then and saw this as my chance. There was only so much longer I could keep trying and it felt right with Simon and Cheryl back on the judging panel. My friends and family told me to go for it and it paid off. I was really nervous going into the room for my first audition and was contemplating not going back for the second audition in the arena. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the big machine that was the show but I just came back even stronger.

The response to your performance of ‘Uptown Funk’ on the show was phenomenal, with the single reaching Number 1 on Itunes, were you surprised by this reaction?

Nobody knew the song at that point and I was worried because we rely on votes each week so I was scared that would affect me. The response was over-whelming and that felt like a huge turning point for me on the show.

Simon Cowell was your mentor on the X Factor and you are now signed to his Syco label, what’s it like working with a man with such a reputation for his brutal honesty?

He’s very straight-talking but once you get to know him he’s really down to earth and very cool to work with. He’s quite hands on as well and listens to all the songs and says what were his favourites. It saves a lot of time when making decisions.

Any plans to break America?

That would be amazing somewhere down the line but for this year I just need to establish myself in the UK and Ireland. I hope to release more tracks in the New Year and hopefully tour as well. Just watch this space.

Fleur East’s debut album Love, Sax and Flashbacks is available from tomorrow the 4th of December.