Singer- songwriter Samantha Jade won The X Factor last year and has just released Firestarter, the follow up single to her No. 1 hit ‘What Youv’e Done To Me’. I chatted with the 26-year-old about fame, coping with criticism and being afraid of the dark.
What is the biggest lifestyle change since you won The X Factor?
When you’re on a TV show, people feel like they know you. They come up to me and say, “Hi Samantha, how is your dad?” It’s really nice, because people really care.
With social media these days, it must be strange the public has direct contact with you. how do you cope with that?
I lived in LA for eight years and people are very harsh and you have to build a thick skin. I think if you are in a bad place, it affects you in a bad way, so when I started on The X Factor I had lost all my confidence. I had been recording so many demos and not getting anywhere, so I didn’t know who I was as an artist. So when I won The X Factor, everything changed and I’m back to being me. I’m used to the criticism.
What sort of criticism would you get?
I still read things like “she only won because she knows Guy [Sebastian]” and “She only made it because she knew everything about the industry”. People don’t know that Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera were all signed and dropped before they made it. Pretty much everybody (in the industry) has been through he same thing but I just chose a TV show for my last chance so people could follow the journey with me.
Did you truly believe it was your last chance?
Yes. I had lived in the States for a long time, working really hard and I was not getting anywhere. I came to the point where I hated it. I couldn’t even listen to the radio; I’d turn it down in the car because music was a dark place for me.
Your family must be so supportive of your career.
Yes, my whole family moved over to LA when I was 16 to support my career. When I gave up, they didn’t. They just believe in me, more than I believe in me. They were the ones who made me audition for The X Factor.
After your success of What You’ve Done to Me, do you feel the pressure to have another hit single?
Yes! It’s so scary because I hope it does really well and it’s my dream for it to go No. 1, but you never know. Hopefully people can feel that excitement that I had when I wrote it.
Do you still get stage fright?
Yes, I have stress rash every time I go on stage!
Are you involved in the next series of The X Factor?
Yes. I can’t say how I’m involved, but yes.
Are you still in contact with the judges?
Guy and I still keep in contact because I knew him before the show, and Jules, his wife, is one of my closet friends and she is my stylist now – she just styled my music video.
Do you think the next season will be as successful without former judge Scary Spice?
Yes. Dannii Minogue is such a big star, so I think she is going to bring a lot to the table.
Will you try your luck in the US again?
I don’t think I would ever live there again. My dream would be to have success in London, and I just want to be big in my home country.
What do you do for fun?
I’m a shopaholic. I also love coffee, I really like Pablo’s Vice coffee shop in Surry Hills, it’s the best coffee I’ve ever had.
What is something no one would know about you?
I’m scared of the dark. I can’t sleep with the lights off; I have to have the TV on or some type of light on.
WE WENT TO Room 10, Potts Point.
WE ATE Toasted sourdough with avocado and feta, soft boiled egg with pickled fennel salad; Toasted walnut and fig loaf with fresh ricotta and fig compote; Burnt fig granola with Greek style yoghurt, stewed rhubarb, fresh fruit, breakfast dukkah & stringy bark honey.
WE DRANK A cappuccino and a latte.
I WORE A Camilla and Marc dress.
SAMANTHA WORE Dr Denim Jeans, ASOS Jacket and a George top.