Rebecca Ferguson on motherhood, music and how to deal with fame

High notes: Rebecca Ferguson is on the comeback trail with a new blues album
High notes: Rebecca Ferguson is on the comeback trail with a new blues album

FORMER X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson reveals that she’s taking motherhood in her stride the third time around.

The single mum, who has just released a new album, Lady Sings The Blues, gave birth over two months ago to her second daughter, Arabella.
“I had my first two children, Lillie and Karl, when I was 18 and 19, and I wasn’t really prepared for motherhood then,” Rebecca (28) tells Shuffle. 
“Although I believe that I did a good job with Lillie and Karl, since having Arabella I feel more comfortable (as a parent) and I enjoy it more than I did when I was young.”
However, Rebecca’s personal life hasn’t been smooth. The father of Arabella ended their relationship when he discovered that she was pregnant – and confessed that he already had a girlfriend.
In another twist, her best friend Karl Dures, the father of her two eldest children, offered to adopt Arabella and be her dad too. He even attended the child’s birth.
The couple still have a platonic relationship, and Rebecca says: “Karl has been a huge support. We’re really good friends. He has given Arabella his name, which is lovely as she will have the same name as the other kids.”
As for Arabella’s biological dad, Rebecca insists that she’s not bitter over the way he treated her. “I don’t hold any hate towards him,” she says. “He wasn’t ready to be a dad and that’s up to him. I’m not in his shoes and I can’t force him.”
Liverpool-born Rebecca, who also had a brief romance with One Direction’s Zayn Malik after the pair got together on The X Factor live tour – she was six years his senior – insists that she’s happy to be single now.
“I’ve got a good family around me and my brother comes everywhere with me,” she says. “With a little baby it’s much harder work when I’m on the road, but I take her everywhere with me. She sleeps right through the night now which is great.”
Rebecca is now drawing on her experiences in life as she takes on the songs of Billie Holiday with her new album, Lady Sings The Blues.
“The strange thing is, I was given Billie Holiday as a project when I went to performing arts college at the age of 15,” she reveals. 
“Back then, I didn’t fully appreciate just how amazing she is. Now I’m older, and when I watch a video of her I am in awe of her delivery of a song. She sings in a way that you can’t take your eyes off her. You can see why she is still being talked about to this day. When Billie Holiday sang her songs you knew they were from the heart, and there wasn’t one throwaway word.”
Rebecca now realises that you have to live life in order to appreciate the sentiments in a song. “Now, when I sing a song, I try to draw on what’s going on in my life,” she says.
The performer admits that she wasn’t prepared for all the attention that came with The X Factor when she contested the 2010 series that featured acts like One Direction, Mary Byrne and the ultimate winner, Matt Cardle.
“I did find all the attention hard to deal with, going from a steady, normal life to being recognised everywhere I went,” she admits. “People might think that’s silly, ‘what’s your problem with being recognised, you’ve got money and you’re famous?’ All those things look lovely on paper, but what you don’t see is all the people who are attracted to you because you’ve got money, the people who are trying to use you.”
Today Rebecca is taking it all in her stride. “The knocks I’ve experienced have actually made me more confident,” she adds. “I’m in a far better place than I was when I was on The X Factor."