Fern meets Rebecca Ferguson, the X Factor singing sensation. Rebecca reveals how her Christian faith got her through troubled times.
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My guest today knew from a very young age exactly what she wanted to
do when she grew up. She wanted to be a singer, a recording artist.
But how do you stand out from the rest of the wannabes?
# I was born by the river... #
Rebecca Ferguson auditioned for The X Factor.
You've got three yeses - congratulations.
It's dog eat dog.
And I've never had to fight.
Not like that, ever.
# Baby girl, you're the prettiest thing my eyes have ever seen... #
She was runner-up in the final,
and secured herself a recording contract.
Rebecca's debut album went double platinum,
and her subsequent three albums were all top-ten hits.
She has sold four million records worldwide.
So now I want to introduce to you,
Rebecca Ferguson, everybody, Rebecca!
She is the most exceptional vocalist in her genre.
As soon as she sings, we're all believing every word she says.
She's a real star.
But just as Rebecca's dreams of stardom were coming true,
there was a battle with personal challenges about to begin.
Rebecca had already coped with life as a teenage mum.
And I was like, "How am I going to tell me mum?"
-How did you tell her?
-I text her.
Now she discovered very publicly that she was pregnant again.
Twitter was going mad, people were saying that she just collapsed.
What's more, she became the victim of fraud
-at the hands of a family friend.
-It was more than what she robbed.
It completely messed me up.
But Rebecca has come through her dark times
with the help of her faith in God.
I'm not your standard Christian.
There is no perfect Christian.
No, there isn't, no, I don't think there is.
Rebecca hasn't chosen an easy path.
At the age of just 30,
she's packed more highs and lows into her life than most of us would
in a lifetime. What I want to find out is,
is fame really all that it's cracked up to be?
# And maybe I'm mad
# And maybe I'm all cried out... #
I had arranged to meet Rebecca in a London recording studio.
She let me listen in as she performed the title track from her new album.
# And, no, I never ever said I was Superwoman. #
-Oh, what a privilege to sit and listen to you!
-Oh, it's wonderful, well done, you.
So, come on, Superwoman, sit down.
-Take off your cape.
-What was the inspiration behind that one?
Superwoman I wrote for single mums, really... Well, all women.
I wanted to support people who were going through things and they feel
alone. Who've been left by someone they thought that loved them.
And if you make a mistake, as it were, although I don't class...
..class any of my children as a mistake, you get on with it,
and you look after them.
You're sort of talking about yourself as a little girl as well.
Yes, I suppose I am, yes.
MUSIC: Don't Leave Me This Way By the Communards
Rebecca Caroline Ferguson was born
in Liverpool on the 21st of July 1986.
# Don't leave me this wa-a-ay... #
When she was small, her parents had separated,
so Rebecca and her brothers were brought up by their mum.
# Oh, baby
# Don't leave me this way... #
You wouldn't say it was a perfect childhood.
So we didn't have all the things that everyone else had.
But we were always happy, regardless.
I think with her being the only girl at the time,
I think that she was a bit tomboyish,
and could definitely keep up with the guys.
# Ahhh, baby
# My heart is full of love and desire for you... #
You'd expect normal boys to fight,
but she'd give just as much as she'd get.
She was always firm, and always knew how to stand her own ground.
That's the best way I'd be able to describe her.
It was a bit of a crazy childhood, really, my childhood.
-A bit chaotic?
-Chaotic, there was a lot of us, there wasn't much money.
Did you have a chance to have nice holidays or any exciting things?
I think me mum tried to make life as good as she could.
At the same time, I didn't have the holidays that kids would have.
No, I can't say that I did.
But we'd go to, like, the beach.
We'd do the best that she could with what she had, yeah.
So your mum, what kind of mum was she?
very loving. Very big on love, on...
manners, on turning the other cheek.
But me mum wasn't well all the time, so that was hard.
I think when me mum was sick,
I don't think you really get the help that you're supposed to get.
As kids, we all had to kind of rally round
and we probably done things that normal kids wouldn't do.
So we kind of stepped up and became mature, like, at a very young age,
because I'd say we had to.
Because of her mum's illness,
Rebecca and her brother would sometimes be looked after
by other family members.
And on occasion, they were even taken into care.
I heard that you'd been...spent some time in care homes.
What do you remember about those times?
It's hard to speak about this because I...
I'm so conscious of what good people do in care homes.
But at the same time, my personal experience was not good,
it was very negative.
Do you want to tell me what sort of things were negative?
I remember at the time,
me little brother used to wee the bed, like kids do,
and I remember one of them saying, if...
..anyone wees the bed again, you're going to have to sleep in it.
How old were you then?
I was probably about seven.
In a way I felt like a lucky one, and that sounds really weird,
but when I'd be there with the children, some of them would be,
had been there for two years.
Whereas I was just going in for like the odd week.
But I didn't see the compassion
and the love that you would expect for, erm...
..children who were lost.
And it just says a lot about some human nature, yeah.
Rebecca also spent a lot of time with her grandparents in Sheffield.
Faith was an important part of family life.
When we went to Sheffield, it was like Bible bootcamp.
Because they'd go to church pretty much, like,
three or four times a week.
You'd be going to Bible-study classes in, like, the night,
and you couldn't say no, because it's old-school Jamaican.
Me Nana Ferguson was an amazing woman.
She was a...
Jamaican woman, strong Christian, very much an independent woman.
She took you to church?
She did. Yeah, three times a week, or four!
Yeah, she took me to church a lot, yeah.
And did she sing well, have you got your voice from her?
Oh, I feel bad, she's passed now.
No, she wasn't the best singer, God bless.
No, she wasn't, but she loved to sing.
All you'd always hear every morning was,
"That day my saviour died for me on Cavalry," that's all I know,
I just remember hearing that belted every morning.
And I'd be upstairs, like, "Nan!"
And your brother describes sometimes
going to stay with your grandparents,
your grandmother, was like a Bible bootcamp.
Oh, it was bootcamp, it really was.
And I was like, not naughty, but we were, like, Scouse kids,
we weren't like church kids,
as in the kids would sit very prim with their leather-bound Bibles.
And we were like, "What's going on over there?"
You know, we were more loud and just kids, really.
We hadn't been brought up in that culture where actually
you go into church, you sit still and, you know, you do nothing.
So I would be trying to have sing-offs with the woman next to me.
So everyone thought they were Whitney Houston,
so I'd be standing next to them and thinking,
"Oh, right, let's have a sing-off, then."
And I just remember this woman once literally just glaring at me
as if to say, "Pipe down, little girl"!
Did that give you the first stirrings of your Christian faith?
No, it actually started earlier with me mum,
because me mum's a Christian
and she used to take me to church a lot.
And then I kind of reconfirmed it
when I used to go and stay with me nan.
I had it stricter, the whip was cracked with me nan, yeah.
# Clock strikes, upon the hour... #
As Rebecca got older, she started to think about
what to do with her life.
She really only ever had one ambition.
She'd always be singing in her room.
And I would always think she's making too much noise,
and go and tell her to shut up.
She was a big Whitney Houston fan.
So she'd be singing, I can't remember,
probably the whole Whitney collection.
# When the night falls... #
Rebecca used to keep a journal when she was younger.
And that's where a lot of her songs in later life have come from.
She used to write down her emotions, experiences that she's been through.
# I wanna feel the heat with somebody
# Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody... #
Rebecca always said she was going to be a singer.
Which was, sometimes, a bit annoying, you'd be like,
"All right, you're 12, let's just simmer down a bit,
"you're not going to be a singer just yet."
So many young people, in particular, think fame is the thing,
let's go for it. Were you fame-hungry when you were little?
I'd say I was, if I'm honest, yeah, I was.
I wanted to be a star, I wanted to be on stage,
I wanted to sing, I did, if I'm honest, I did want it, yeah.
You've been writing your own songs since you were a teenager.
Yeah, I was always writing.
I used to write poems a lot as well.
Singing around the house, and annoying the family,
like me Nan was me!
-How old were you when you started your singing lessons?
I think probably 11.
And that was me that found it,
I used to go in the Yellow Pages and call round places and try and find
wherever I could sing.
And then I'd kind of root me mum in, and like,
"Come on, mum, we need to go singing."
I was very proactive from a young age.
In pursuit of her dreams, Rebecca tried a number of different classes.
She used to go to a dance school called Cal's.
I think that was dancing and singing.
It was like a dance studio on top of the shopping centre.
It wasn't really glamorous, but it done the job.
And then the second one I went to
was like a prestigious private school in Liverpool,
but I was the odd kid out, really.
One of the stories that still makes me laugh is that there is a bus stop
outside the school, so Rebecca used to go to the school,
and she'd wait at the bus stop to go home,
whereas all these other kids would be getting picked up
in their big flash cars.
But I used to just save for weeks so that I could go,
because I thought it was the best place.
So I'd save, rock up,
and all of them will be singing really classical,
and I have quite a soulful voice, so I never really fitted in.
But I went anyway because I thought it was the best training ground.
How did you find the money to pay for the lessons?
I started working in a clothes shop,
and I used to just... say £20 per day,
which isn't a lot, but I used to save it up.
And then I'd...
pay for my lessons.
But when she was just 17,
Rebecca's dreams of stardom were dealt a crushing blow.
Becky told me she was pregnant.
I didn't believe it. I didn't actually know she had a boyfriend,
actually, to be honest.
And then eventually, obviously, the bump came up, and I was like,
"OK, this is real."
I think being a young mum in Liverpool carries a lot of stigmas.
There's a lot of things to shake off with it,
because people automatically assume that
you're not the nicest of girls
or you're not holding yourself correctly,
which is ridiculous - obviously it can happen to anyone.
So when you found you were pregnant at 17,
that must have been a big "oops".
It was. And it was the first time I'd ever been with a man before.
So it was, like,
beginner's luck, really.
It was like, yeah,
and then loads of things were racing in me head.
Bearing in my mind, I had a strict Christian mum and family.
So it was like the worst thing ever.
And I was like, "How am I going to tell me mum?"
-How did you tell her?
-I text her.
I text her saying, "Hi, Mum, I'm having a baby."
And she was like, the first thing she said was actually,
"Is he going to look after you?"
That was her first initial thing.
It was like, he has to marry you.
Which didn't happen.
But, yeah, at that time my dreams felt crushed and I felt like,
"How am I going to move on with my dreams?"
But you didn't have to continue with the pregnancy, did you?
Did you think about that?
It wasn't an option for me.
I remember a doctor speaking to me about it, and I was like,
"It's all very well taking a pill and it being gone with,
"but I've got to live with that for the rest of my life, I know me,
"and I know I can't, I just wouldn't be happy, yeah."
Rebecca gave birth to a baby girl, Lillie May.
A year later, she had a second child, Karl, with her boyfriend.
We were crazy. I mean, 17 and 18.
I mean, we done our best, and I think we are good parents.
The kids are lovely.
But now when I look back, we were just kids playing house.
Like, I didn't have a clue.
I was struggling to throw a wash on, It was like, nappies everywhere!
Was Karl, Dad, was he working?
He was working, yeah, he was builder, he had a good job,
so that wasn't too bad because I had support.
But it was still hard, still hard.
It's hard whatever age you are. It is, isn't it?
She'd be picking them up from school, dropping them off at school,
getting the dinners ready.
And she kind of just soldiered on, troopered on.
I think, to be honest, her dreams got parked, she left them there.
She thought, "Now is not about me.
"My purpose now is to be a mother."
# Can you practise what you preach?
# And would you turn the other cheek? #
But Rebecca did still want a career.
The difficulty as a young mum was in being taken seriously.
When I was pregnant with Lillie,
I wanted to do anything that would get me a good job, basically.
And they said, "No, you're going on the young mothers' course."
They would give us, like, fake dolls
and we'd have to pretend to feed them,
it was really, like, boring!
This was while you were expecting Lillie?
Whilst I was expecting Lillie.
And then, with Karl, I trained to become a counsellor, yeah.
And what happened to that?
Well, nothing was fulfilling me.
It wasn't for me.
And then after that I went to train to do law.
And again, I qualified, I got distinctions, but it wasn't for me.
Me heart wasn't in it.
You know me, and you know what I do.
What Rebecca really wanted was to be a singer.
14 singers from all over the country...
TV talent shows offered ordinary people hope.
So Rebecca contacted as many as possible.
But only one will win.
Only one will become a star.
She got invited by one of the producers of
the P Diddy Starmaker, which was like a talent show in America.
This is my show, Starmaker.
I've heard the stories about how her family all clubbed together to raise
the money for her to be able to go.
What Rebecca got when she arrived was not necessarily what she thought
she was going to.
A producer had seen my MySpace page
and said, "Would you like to come over?"
-So it seemed quite positive.
-Went over there...
-On your own?
On my own, and I was really naive then as well, so naive.
And me stepmum thought she'd booked me in
a really nice hotel in New York.
It turns out it was in Queens,
but this particular spot where I was was, like, the red-light district.
# Remix to Ignition
# Hot and fresh out the kitchen
# Mamma rolling that body
# Got every man in here wishing... #
Typical Scouse girl in a skirt, heels, lashes, big hair.
And cars pulling up and I'm thinking, "What's going on here?
"This is really odd."
And someone said to me, "Oh, God bless you, get home safe."
And I was going, "Why does everybody keep telling me to get home safe?"
And then another person, "Oh, God bless you, get home safe."
And I was thinking, "This is scary now,
"cos people keep telling me to get home safe."
Then an undercover police officer stops me
and goes, "Where are you going?"
And I'm like, "I'm going to me hotel."
And he goes, "Do you know where you are?"
And I was like, "Er, no."
And he was like, "You're in the red-light district
"and this is, like, one of the worst areas in New York
"you could be walking."
And he just told me about, like, people who'd been killed.
So he ended up having to take me home
and I ended up stuck in me hotel
because I couldn't go out.
# Even if it ain't all it seems I got a pocket full of dreams
# Baby, I'm in New Yo-o-ork
# Concrete jungle where dreams are made
# Oh, there's nothing you can't do... #
When she got into the actual audition, it was kind of like,
they were like, "Right, dance."
And she's like, "Well, I'm a singer."
And they were like, "OK, I know you're a singer, but dance,
"and can you sing and dance?"
And she was a bit like, "Well, no, I'm just a singer."
She said the audition lasted a few minutes, and it was kind of like,
"Right, bye, next."
We get some incredible talent for our country,
but really compared to what you get over there, there are so many,
so the confidence over there is very high with the people who are good.
So if you came along and you were a little bit shy,
a little bit insecure,
they would go, "Well, they're not very good,
"they don't think they're great, so I don't think they're great."
I've worked in the US, I've hosted shows in the US,
and I suppose there is a difference.
I think there is a bigger pool to fish,
which, as challenging as that is,
makes it more exciting.
Over here, we allow for nerves, we allow for people to be insecure,
because we as a nation are a bit like that, we're a bit apologetic,
so if you're auditioning in a US show,
I think you wouldn't have as big a chance unless you had a big ego.
But did you get to P Diddy?
No, didn't even get to P Diddy, I got to the producer round
and again, he said, "You're not right, too nervous."
Which he was right, I was.
I remember sitting on a bench in New York, I remember sitting crying,
going, "God, why?"
Like, why me? I remember being really upset.
I think that was kind of a crossroads for her.
I think it was kind of like now she has to either really keep at it,
or just give up and go.
And she just sat there, and she thought to herself,
"Do I really want to continue doing this?"
But when Rebecca left New York, she received an unexpected e-mail.
At the end of X Factor, there's always,
"If you want to apply next year, send us your e-mail."
So I'd sent my e-mail, and then I got...
I got an e-mail, randomly, saying,
"Would you like to come to an audition on Saturday?"
So I was like, "Oh, forgot about that," nearly didn't go,
because I had plans for the Saturday to go to...
Ladies' Day at the Grand National.
Of course, yeah, and a good Scouse girl has got to do that.
Yeah, you've got to go!
In fact, Rebecca had applied to be on the X Factor twice before.
A lot of people don't realise, you have to go through
four or five stages before you even see a judge.
Everyone thinks, oh, that big huge queue, people are...
No, you have to go through audition after audition after audition
just to get the chance to get rejected on national TV,
so that's what she went through.
So I was like, "What am I going to do?"
And I nearly didn't go, and then I thought, "No, I'll go,
"and I'll take a friend with me, and the worst comes to the worst,
"we'll go out in the night after the National, we'll have a laugh."
So I treated it as, just go and have fun,
if you get through, great,
if not, just go out and forget about it.
-So you went.
-I went, yeah, I did.
I sang for the man, the producer, and straightaway he said yes,
and gave me like a gold ticket, like Willy Wonka's gold ticket.
And I went, "Really?" And he went, "Yeah, you're through."
She didn't tell none of the family that she'd been doing it,
and it was only when she got the audition,
like the main one in front of the judges, that she said,
"Do you want to come down?" I was a bit like,
"You've got through to the judges?"
-She was like, "Yeah, yeah."
-What's your name?
-Rebecca, nice to meet you.
What was it like walking out on stage in front of those judges?
Oh, scary, really scary, yeah.
I was scared. And the pressure was on me.
I brought the kids with me to my audition, which is, like,
in one way is a good thing, but it's not,
because I was like, "My kids cannot see me fail."
And that was the biggest thing for me.
"What if they see me fail?" That was hard, like.
I remember Becky was really nervous.
She kept on seeing people coming in and out, "Ohh", a bit rejected,
and then you'd be a bit like, "Oh, when are we up? When are we up?
"When are we up?" And then I remember looking at her face,
and she was looking down at her feet and thinking,
"Please, don't mess it up."
In the end, when I was on stage, I just kind of...
I didn't think of Simon or any of the judges, I thought of the words,
and I sang,
I just sang the truth of how I felt.
# I was born by the river... #
And I just remember this sort of demure...
..girl coming on stage, quite shy.
What I do remember about Rebecca was how unusual a tone of voice she had.
It was like they'd plucked somebody from a completely different era.
I think that Rebecca's voice is exceptional.
There are not many artists that can stop you in your tracks.
I think it was just the sound of her voice that made them
sit up and listen, rather than the performance,
because really the performance was just a shy girl from Liverpool,
coming along, thinking, "I'm not going to get through this."
Can you remember the comments that the judges gave you?
I remember the faces being very confused, more than the comments.
Simon looked really confused.
I don't know if it was because he was still undecided, I don't know.
-Louis, yes or no?
-You've got three yeses, congratulations.
When she got the yeses, it was kind of like a relief,
but it sounds cocky saying it,
I always knew she was going to do well.
I heard her every day in the shower.
So it wasn't a shock to me.
Rebecca had to move to London for the duration of the show.
You would be in The X Factor house.
-With all the other contestants.
That must have been a bit of a pressure cooker?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, can be.
We'd have the odd party, though, it was quite good.
It was my time to be young, in a way,
because I'd never had that youth,
and so it would just be people drinking, having a laugh,
dancing and parties, but I would, at the same time,
try and take myself away as much as I could.
The reality of such a big competition soon set in.
I think the biggest pressure of a show like that is every single part
of you is scrutinised.
It would be nice if it was just your vocal ability.
It's like a very big competition, The X Factor,
and even if you were having a normal week,
where you had to perform a song just in your local hall,
and you weren't sure what that song was going to be,
you weren't sure of the words, you didn't know how it went,
you didn't know if it would suit you, that would be hard enough.
But to be doing it in front of millions of people live on television,
knowing you could make a fool of yourself, the pressure is immense.
It is a pressure-cooker environment...
..on a talent show, because you're getting thrown so much,
especially as they all have to perform covers,
songs that they may not be familiar with.
I think there's lots of up and downs, there's lots of emotions,
everyone's tired, so there are tempers and there are tantrums
and there are all sorts of things. Some days you have a good week,
and sometimes, really, you just don't want to be there.
I think a few times she thought, "I just want to quit,
"I want to go home and see my kids,"
because at the time it's the longest period she'd ever spent away from
-her children, Karl and Lillie.
-You can either fall by the wayside
or do what Rebecca did, in her own quiet way.
She managed, without being demanding,
or getting annoyed with anyone,
or screaming and shouting, she manages to work hard on her own,
and just at the end of the week have everyone else go,
"Oh, my goodness, her song's good."
# Sweet dreams are made of this... #
And it was that work ethic, combined with Rebecca's striking voice,
that kept her in the competition week after week.
# ...and the seven seas... #
Her tone is very unique, and
I do remember Simon Cowell mentioning that, you know,
"She's got a very recordable voice," and that stood out for me.
You could imagine her on a record, you can imagine her selling albums,
that voice on the radio, and everyone spotting it.
When my name got called, Sunday, I was amazed, I was in shock.
Am I in the semifinals?!
Me aim was to get to the top three.
I knew top three would...
would...give me a chance of a career, and that's all I wanted.
I wanted a life for my family, and I knew if I get the top three,
there's a chance.
# So, baby, if you want me... #
But to achieve her aim of a top-three place,
Rebecca had to survive semifinal week.
# Words are so easy to say... #
So that was a big night, and you sang,
to get your place into the final of next week, you sang Amazing Grace.
I did, yeah, yeah, yeah.
# A-amaz-i-ing Grace
# Ho-o-ow sweet the sound... #
It was risky, in the sense that some people might have been like,
"Oh, why is she singing a church song, why is she doing that?"
But I think, for her, she felt like, "No, I'm going to do this song,
"because it means something to me."
But I seem to remember that it was Rebecca
that put that song into the pot.
We had a lot of ideas, and obviously when it gets to the semifinal,
you get more and more worried about the song choice being correct.
# I once
# Was lost
# Bu-ut now
# I am found... #
I think, when we all really thought about it,
we realised that that would be very unusual,
and it would suit her voice,
but yet the way she was with lyrics and words, and meaning things,
if it were something like that, which meant a lot to her,
she would probably come across very well, with a song like that.
# The hour
# That I first
# Believed... #
Why did you choose that?
It's one of those songs that means a lot to me anyway,
but I remember at the time being so torn as I was singing it,
like spiritually torn,
because being in a show like The X Factor
brings out the good and the bad.
And I found myself changing throughout the show,
because it's a competition, and it's literally, like, it's dog eat dog.
And I'd never had to fight, not like that, ever.
And then I'd feel like I'd let God down, it was so...
Now I look back I was being, like, over the top, but...
So when I sang Amazing Grace, I remember being really emotional,
but more because it reminded me of God's grace,
and I felt like I needed it the most at that time, yeah.
Live from London, it's The X factor final!
Rebecca made it to the finals, which was something of an all-star cast.
So top three were Matt Cardle, you, and...
-One Direction, yeah.
-And One Direction, wow!
I know. I said a prayer before I went through the doors, and I said,
"Do you know what, God?
"If it's meant to be that I'll win, then I'll win,
"but if you think it will be better that I come second,
"then I'll trust you."
And so, I still half wanted to win!
I go through the doors...
The winner of the X Factor 2010 is...
I have to admit,
I was really disappointed when Rebecca didn't win.
I felt she deserved it, because she is an incredible talent,
she has an outstanding voice,
and she's just such a special girl who just didn't think she'd win,
and that's why it would have been lovely.
For a moment, I was sad, but then I thought,
"OK, well, that's what's meant to be,"
and I went over and I genuinely gave Matt a hug, and it was a genuine...
a genuine hug.
OK, fella, come in here, congratulations.
Ultimately, you don't always have to be the outright winner,
or the visible winner, to win.
Give it up for this year's runner-up, Rebecca.
People think that The X Factor is, once you win that, that's it,
but it actually is the opportunity to then grow and become an artist,
and to take you somewhere else.
It's no problem being second,
because if you think about Susan Boyle,
she was second, Olly Murs, need I say more?
# They watch us open-mouthed... #
And sure enough, being the runner-up
did kick-start Rebecca's career.
One year on, and she released her debut album.
# Watch what I can do... #
I went into a shop and the album was there.
I just remember looking at that and thinking,
"That's me sister, that."
# And I guess this world's not always good
# And nothing's real but love... #
Opportunities opened up that even established stars
can only dream about.
# No house, no car, no job
# Can beat love... #
I think a turning point for Rebecca as an artist was when she received
the e-mail to say that Lionel Richie had specifically chosen her.
So now I want to introduce to you the voice.
Rebecca Ferguson, everybody, Rebecca!
It was kind of a big deal, like, when you think of Lionel,
he's like a megastar, huge.
And I think, for her,
it was kind of one of them moments when she was a bit like,
"Has this really happened?"
# They tell me how much you care... #
It doesn't hurt to have these moments with other people
who have been doing it a lot longer than you.
I mean, Lionel Richie's been around for decades,
so I think it's good to encourage
younger artists to sort of collaborate
with musicians who have that experience.
# My endless love... #
What was lovely with Lionel is the fact that he was so endearing
towards Rebecca, because of her nerves,
and would take time out of his day to settle them for her.
It was just something special.
Rebecca Ferguson, everybody!
To promote her debut album, Rebecca flew back to America.
# Standing in a line
# Wonder why it don't move... #
Whilst in New York, Rebecca performed her single,
Nothing's Real But Love, on a show called The View.
Rebecca Ferguson's powerhouse performances on England's X Factor
have people comparing her to everyone from Aretha to Adele.
# See who can be the worst
# And watch what I can do.... #
I remember sitting in the dressing room with Rebecca,
as we're getting ready, and there was a knock at the door,
and as we open the door it was none other than Whoopi Goldberg.
Now obviously Rebecca and I were gobsmacked with this,
but there's Whoopi Goldberg, with a copy of Rebecca's album, saying,
"Would you mind if Rebecca would please sign this for me?"
I was just like, "What is this? Like, this is weird!"
Like, why are you knocking on my door?
Like, why are you here?
But it was the excitement on her face, and I was just like,
"You're Whoopi Goldberg!"
# And I guess this world's not always good
# And nothing's real but love
# Nothing's real but love... #
I remember driving back to the hotel,
and as we were sitting in the back of the car,
we're watching the single climb on iTunes, and we, as a team,
were screaming, cos it was going from 20, to 8, to 6,
and I remember it peaked at 4, and that,
as a little girl from Liverpool, to watch, was something else.
Whilst she was in New York,
Rebecca took time out to find the park bench where,
after her earlier failed audition,
she had contemplated giving up on dreams of becoming a singer.
# Holding it back for a rainy day... #
I went back a couple of years later to that same spot, which was nice.
You found it? Where was the bench?
It's just before the second entrance to Central Park, yeah.
So you were an Uptown Girl then?
-Yeah, I was, yeah, for a bit.
# I got caught up in a daze
# Of the wine and roses
# Such a sweet escape... #
And at that stage does a bit of money start coming in?
It does, a lot of money, actually.
It was unusual to have that much money,
and I didn't have good advice!
I didn't have a clue about how you manage that type of money.
It was new, but how was I to know?
I was like a normal working-class girl done good.
# The wicked echoes of my past
# Have seen it all before
# That's why I'm asking... #
What was the first thing you treated yourself to?
I rented a really nice apartment,
like really nice, like swanky, for me.
So that was a nice treat.
So you could have the children and everything?
It was lovely, and I got me mum there, too.
But it took me a while to really treat myself,
it took me a good while to, like, buy myself a pair of nice shoes.
But then, once I got into it, I got too many shoes!
But life on the road started to take its toll.
Rebecca had split with her boyfriend before taking part in The X Factor.
She was a single mum of two, often a long way from home.
During promo, you're kind of out in the morning at 5:00, 6:00,
and you don't get back until 12:00, and that's every day, consistently,
for, like, three months.
You need to be a grafter,
you need to be able to sleep on a wire and react in a second,
and it's a really gruelling, gruelling kind of schedule.
I think the hardest struggle, though,
was being away from her children for so long.
We went to a church on Fifth Avenue in New York,
and at that point we just went and sat,
and we didn't speak, we didn't need to speak.
She just needed at that time to refocus,
and almost ask for the answers that she needed.
After that, she made some life-changing decisions.
Rebecca split from her management company.
It was a critical time.
Back in Liverpool, she thought she'd found support
in a new family friend.
And then another person came into your life - Rachel Taylor.
She used to come and help me mum.
Like, she'd do me mum's washing.
She's someone that became a family friend.
So she made sure she was indispensable to you?
She did, and she would arrive at
my house at seven o'clock in the morning
and she would leave nine o'clock at night.
-She would literally exhaust me.
because she knew I liked to pray and things,
I remember her going into the Catholic church
and bringing me a candle
and, like, little prayer books and things, saying,
"I've just passed here, Rebecca."
She played on my emotions very well.
Convinced me that she was good.
I remember thinking there's something not right with this woman,
something's not adding up, why she's round at my mum's so much, why...
People are nice, but no-one was as nice as this woman was being.
It was a bit weird.
She used to become close to Rebecca by using passages from the Bible
and playing on Rebecca's faith
to a point that Rebecca did become reliant on Rachel
to do certain things for her in her life.
And was she somebody who said,
"Oh, I can help you with the financial side"?
She said she was an accountant and her husband a solicitor
and she convinced me to get rid of my whole team,
she convinced me that everyone around me was...
..not doing their job properly.
Who did you have in the team?
-What were their jobs?
-I had accountants, solicitors, management,
a tour manager, you name it.
It was quite a big team and everyone...
She helped me get rid of everyone by telling me
things I didn't understand, like,
"I have checked this online
"and this is this and this isn't right, Rebecca,
"and people haven't filed this."
She convinced me of all these things.
I think the hardest part for me was still trying to be a friend.
Rachel would answer her phone calls,
she would respond to her e-mails,
she would answer her own front door.
Rachel Taylor became the gatekeeper of Rebecca's life.
But Rebecca had time to reflect when Rachel went on holiday.
I had a gut "someone isn't right round me"
and I was praying about it,
"Someone isn't right, whoever isn't right,
"God, I just pray you reveal who it is."
She went on holiday and I started calling up companies and things,
checking that she was doing what she was saying.
And then when I called them, they were like,
"We have no name on our file,
"we don't have a contact, we've been sending you letters for weeks."
-To her office, not to you?
-She'd been taking my mail.
Every morning, she'd come and she'd take the mail.
I'd go... And she'd go, "No, no, no, it's fine,
"it's all business stuff," and she'd go off with the mail.
So I didn't know what was happening,
I didn't have a clue what she was doing.
How did you confront her?
Heartbroken. I e-mailed her, more heartbroken than anything,
it wasn't in an aggressive way, it was heartbreaking, it was like,
"Have you done this to me?"
Because she was so close to me.
The X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson today tearfully told a court how
her heart was broken by a con woman
who won her trust, then took her money.
In court, Rachel Taylor pleaded guilty to false representation
after claiming she was a qualified accountant.
She also admitted keeping thousands of pounds of Rebecca's money.
She was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
It was about more than what she robbed, it completely messed me up.
I would say it has taken her innocence away a bit,
she has kind of woke up to the world
a bit more and now she knows that
not everyone who comes into her life
is going to be there for the right reasons.
I found myself missing the person I thought she was,
which was really sad, because she used to say,
"You know what, Rebecca? People have hurt you
"but I want you to know that I'm good and not everyone is bad."
I remember her having tears in her eyes as she said it, like,
she played a good game.
And so the lesson that I learnt was a cruel lesson, really,
because I don't know what the lesson was, as in, do you trust no-one?
-How did your faith in God bear up under that kind of strain
and betrayal? It would be very easy to go,
"Well, God can't exist, then, if he's let this happen."
I feel like I get a lot of trials thrown at me
and people read the papers about me
and think, "God, that girl has been through a lot,
"how does she keep getting hurt?"
It would be very easy for me to turn my back on God, but, actually...
..everything that I have been through has ultimately ended up,
it sounds really weird,
but my hard times have ended up being a blessing for someone else,
..I don't begrudge it, I don't look back and think,
"I wish that hadn't happened," I look back and think,
"maybe I'm going to be used in a year or two or whenever and someone
"will be going through that
"and I will be able to speak wisdom into their life," yeah.
That's a very generous way of looking at it
when you went through the wringer.
Yeah. Yeah, it's a bit too generous, maybe!
Despite her personal troubles,
Rebecca continued to record and promote a second album.
# Just give it all that I've got
# Give it all that I've go-o-ot
# Let the healing start... #
Early in 2014,
she appeared on daytime TV's Loose Woman to sing her latest track.
# I almost gave you everything
# But you failed. #
But as the song came to an end, it was clear all was not well.
She's sort of just began to bend over in slow motion,
finished the song like an absolute pro,
and then sort of began to crumple until she just fell on the floor.
I was watching the show from the hotel room and I was thinking,
"No, she's genuinely collapsed."
I just remember taking my shoes off
and hopping over to her and the first thing I wanted to do
was just loosen any tight clothing, as they say.
My mum used to be a nurse
and I've done a million and one first-aid courses -
loosen tight clothing, make sure she was breathing,
make sure she was OK.
Twitter was going mad. People were saying that she had collapsed,
that she fainted, that she had a heart attack -
I was getting a bit worried.
I remember watching Loose Woman and you were on there to sing
-and you collapsed.
-I did. Yeah, I collapsed on that show.
And we all thought, "What's the matter, what's happened?"
I felt ill before and I was like, "I'll be fine."
Got up, sang the song and the whole song I could not...
I shouldn't have been there, but I had to fight through it.
I was like, "You're on live TV, get through it, get through it."
Then at the end I just thought, "No, I've got to just...
"dunno. I've got to hit the floor."
And you were pregnant.
That's why I felt so ill and dizzy...
But did you know that?
No, I didn't know.
So, yeah, it turns out I was pregnant.
The father of Arabella and you are not together -
-you never really were, were you?
Rebecca quickly realised
she would have to bring up her third child alone.
It hit hard. She was due to work on her next album in LA,
where those around her tried to lift her spirits.
We fly out to the other side of the world.
I remember being... We were in the middle of LA, the sun's shining,
and it was kind of like in the hotel, in a bed, just like slumped,
blanket up to here, curtains drawn, and I remember thinking,
"Get up, we need to go and try and do something
"because you can't just sit in here wallowing."
Rebecca took a brief time-out and then she went back to the studio
and Rebecca did what she always does - put the emotions,
put the feelings into an album.
There's a lot of lessons I learned through that.
First of all, self-love -
I needed to love myself more and not give myself away that easily,
but as well as that...
I've hopefully gone on to create something
that will inspire other women and help other people.
But first it's time for some music, and performing her brilliant track,
Bones, it's Rebecca Ferguson.
# I wish that you could see who I really am
# It's tough being a woman in love with an unkind man... #
All the trouble she has been through,
there's been a lot of tests and different personal problems,
but she always believes that everything happens for a reason,
so whether it's bad or good, if it's good, then so be it,
but if it's bad you need to take that and you need to learn from it.
# Have you even got a clue
# What I gave up just to be here?
# To serve you with your steak and beer
-# Baby, that's for love
-Baby, that's for love
# Baby, that's for love... #
# All I've ever wanted was for your loving arms
# To wrap themselves around me and say... #
Rebecca put her experience and emotions
into the writing of the new album.
# Come and lay your bones down with me
# Come and lay your bones down with me... #
We've prayed about this last album we did,
that it will have a positive impact on people and...
..I think, as Christians, God is in everything we do.
# I'm not trying to play the victim
# Don't want to go head-to-head
# But, boy, I shouldn't have to stand in the mirror
# Convincing myself I'm fair... #
It's quite a shameful thing, I felt...
To have to go into the ins and outs of a relationship,
"What was it, how long were you together?"
All this is really uncomfortable,
but I've spoke about it because I want people to be challenged,
because I feel like it's so painful carrying a baby alone,
I kept on thinking,
"Women are going through this, who's speaking about it?"
Because no-one is speaking about it.
So I wanted to be... I've kind of spoke about it openly in the press.
Would you like to have a long-standing stable relationship
in your life or are you now so independent,
you've climbed so many hurdles?
I think I am independent, I can survive without a man,
but I'm tired of having to be the strong one.
It would be so nice to just say, "You know what? Over to you."
Because I feel like as a single mum
and a working mum in a tough industry
you need someone that is putting their arms round you,
because I find myself having to be tougher than I am
and it would be so lovely to not have to do that
and just have someone else fight my battles, yeah.
# You're the prettiest thing my eyes have ever known
# Come and lay your bones down with me
# Come and lay your bones down... #
What are your thoughts on fame?
Everybody wants a touch of fame, a taste of fame,
you've had more of that than a lot of people -
is it all it's cracked up to be?
You can't get lost in it. It's a fickle industry.
It can eat you up and chew you and spit you right back out.
So I try and stay as grounded as I can.
It's not what life is about, but it's quite nice.
It's all right to go to an event and have a glass of champagne
and it's quite nice people being lovely to me,
but I don't forget that I've got to go home, change nappies...
-..and be real, yeah.
-So your children,
do you ever tell them what your life was like when you were their age?
I do, I'm very honest with them.
I go, "You have no idea how lucky you are."
I'm trying to teach them to be good people.
I don't know if they will be, but I'm doing my best.
Do you take them to church?
I'm conscious that it's their personal journey.
I wasn't taught that, it was like, "You will go to church,"
you know what I mean? Whereas I'll just say, "Would you like to pray?"
"We're going to say prayers."
Then when we go into church,
I tend to go less to services and more an empty church,
I don't know why. I find I'm closer to God that way,
because I always feel like judgment, I don't know why,
I feel like people might criticise me
because I'm not your standard Christian, like, I'm not perfect,
I'm so backslidden, as people would say.
There is no perfect Christian, that's the thing.
There isn't, no. I don't think there is.
Earlier this year, Rebecca turned 30 and celebrated with a trip to Paris.
All Rebecca kept saying was how much she loved Paris -
it's got the clothes that she loves, the relaxed life,
the love of the city, and it was such a great weekend.
Around two days after getting back,
I remember receiving a phone call from Rebecca to say,
"I've found an apartment that I'm going to view."
So, "Well, where?" She said, "In Paris."
France, Paris - the best way I can describe it is bonkers.
It's the only way I can describe it.
She said it and I was a bit like...
"Why?" She was like...
"Eh, just feels right." And that was it, six weeks later she was moved.
Why did you choose Paris?
It's so peaceful and it's just romantic,
it's everything, it's beautiful, yeah,
-I just fell in love with it.
-How long have you been there?
Six months, almost six months now, yeah.
And the children are in French schools?
The kids are due to start in January.
Are they learning the language?
They are, yeah. They're starting to learn, which is good,
it would be nice to have bilingual kids, so it's good.
-And you too?
-Yeah, I'm learning bits.
I can get milk, bread, croissants, cheese and wine,
which is all a girl needs.
She can go there and she knows when she's in France it's no work.
That's genuine time off.
One thing that Rebecca is, as she would say herself,
is a hopeless romantic,
so that city is the perfect place for any kind of hopeless romantic.
So what do you hope this new chapter will bring you?
I really want to be happy.
I would love to have peace.
I feel like those years up to 30
were hopefully the worst years of my life.
It was a bit like, give the girl a break,
so I'm hoping these are now my years of rest where I can enjoy my life,
-What do you see in the future?
I'd love to settle down.
I'd love to get married, I'd love to have more kids -
when I'm settled down, though.
I'd like to go back to America, I'd like to tour there again.
I've got charity ambitions that I want to do in the future as well.
I don't know, I've got loads of things that I'd love to do.
# But I can't
# Go along with it... #
I think the fact that she's four albums in and still selling albums
and still competing with some of the biggest artists in the world
shows that she's got longevity.
# But fool as I am
# I won't go along with it... #
She has been knocked so many times in life
and in music and in business and with relationships
and she's just got up every time, got back up on her feet.
She's so resilient, she's so persistent.
Hopefully she'll look back on album number four and say,
"Oh, that was just the beginning."
# And I don't mean to cry
# It's just the smoke gets in my eyes
# You're breathing
# Lies I want to believe in... #
You go through every tear in every word of every song with her.
You feel her pain, you feel her happiness, you feel the melancholy.
I think she's just an old soul
and I think the way that she performs is so elegant,
it's almost brutally honest, it's quite visceral.
She is, without doubt,
the most exceptional vocalist in her genre at the moment.
# But I can't
# Go along with it... #
Somehow Rebecca's life experiences,
whether it's her faith or her upbringing
or her love for her children,
all those things just come flooding out as soon as she sings a song that
is emotional and suddenly we're all believing every word she says,
and that's a really powerful thing that very few artists have,
and the real stars have it and she is a real star.
# I want to find the missing pieces
# Of the whole love I lost
# You say it like you mean it... #
What will you be doing this Christmas?
I'm spending it with me mum.
Me and Karl do a roll-on, roll-off of Christmases,
so one Christmas he'll have the kids and the next...
It's hard, but I think it's fair.
So me and me mum, I'm going to treat her to a nice hotel and a nice meal
and I'm just going to make it all about me mum this year.
What is the best present you could wish for?
Something just for you?
Love would be nice. To meet someone lovely,
that would be the most perfect Christmas present for me at the minute.
-I'll tick that, I'll put that on your list.
I've got a Christmas present for you.
Oh, I feel bad now.
-I haven't got one.
-Oh, well, never mind.
This is for you from me and I hope...
You can open up, it's all right...
-Yes. Have a look.
Easy Learning French Pronunciation, love it.
French - Learn In Just 12 Weeks.
Well, this will benefit me a lot.
I'll need it, yeah, thank you.
It will get you beyond the cheese and wine and a loaf of bread.
It will. Yes, a girl does need more than that in France.
Rebecca, it's been lovely talking to you.
-Happy Christmas, and here's to love.
Here's to love, hopefully, yeah.
Wow. What an amazing woman she is. At the beginning,
I was asking whether fame was all it is cracked up to be for her.
Well, I think it has been good for her, but it hasn't changed her,
it has kept her balanced,
because she has three gorgeous children and a real life,
which is marvellous, and also her faith in God
definitely shone through.
She's got her feet on the ground
and I hope she gets her present of true love -
that would be nice, wouldn't it? Happy Christmas.
Fern meets Rebecca Ferguson, the former teenage mum who became an X Factor singing sensation. Rebecca reveals how her Christian faith got her through troubled times, both on the show that brought her overnight fame and in the years that followed. From being the victim of fraud to being left to bring up a child on her own, Rebecca says she is speaking out to help others.