Rebecca Ferguson

Entering The X Factor as a humble secretary from Liverpool in 2010, the single mum of two Rebecca Ferguson stunned Simon Cowell and the judges with the most soulful voice the talent show had heard in years. Her rendition of the Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come had Nicole Scherzinger declaring "she is our generation's songbird" and Ferguson cruised into the final where she duetted with Christina Aguiliera on her hit Beautiful. She was eventually declared runner-up, finishing ahead of boyband One Direction but losing out to winner Matt Cardle, yet it didn't deter Cowell from quickly signing her up to his record label Syco Music. Along with the other X Factor finalists, she was part of the charity single Heroes which topped the UK charts, but it was her first solo single Nothing's Real But Love that reached Number 10 and set Ferguson up as an understated, pop crooner with a silky purr of a voice. Debut album Heaven (2011) followed in December, earning comparisons with Leona Lewis, Corinne Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse for its mix of Motown, R&B balladry and smooth, powerful soul grooves.

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