When Alexandra Burke bolted to number one with the wildly infectious, reggae-inflected pop smash Start Without You, she did a minor double take in the mirror to check herself. Nearly a year after her debut single, international block-party anthem Bad Boys had marched her out of the starting blocks and landed her in pole position under her own artistic auspices, she was back at the summit again. For the third time. With her heart-breaking rendition of Hallelujah she had already gifted author Jeff Buckley his first posthumous number 1 hit. ‘There have been so many pinch yourself moments packed into the last two years of my life, I almost couldn’t allow myself to believe that it was happening all over again. This year has surpassed every single one of my expectations, sometimes on a day-to-day basis. Every day I wake up and thank my lucky stars that this is happening to me.’
For a girl from the humble beginnings of a council estate in North London, the last year has been somewhere beyond her dreams. Alexandra’s background has been well-documented in the press. Her close relationship with her grand-parents, her mother, who had sang with Soul II Soul in the 90s, her siblings, just like the other kids they grew up with on their estate. What is it about Alexandra that singled her out for fame? ‘I have no idea, babes. I can’t worry about that stuff. I just have to prove that I am worthy of all the incredible emotion and love I feel from fans. The question I have to ask myself is ‘am I worthy?’ which just drives me on to prove it even more.’
The thing that separates Alexandra Burke is that she cares. You can hear it in every carefully considered, phrase in her singing. You can see it in her incredible dance-moves and keen eye for presentation. ‘I’m not afraid of hard work,’ she says, ‘I ain’t no shirker. I just want to work my butt off and give back the love I’ve felt coming my way.