Alexandra Burke Biography
When Alexandra Burke failed to make the final four in the second series of the X-Factor, which was won by Shayne Ward, she refused to lie down and die. Louis Walsh said she was two young and would not put her through so she went away and took singing lessons for the next three years.
Coming back for the fifth series took nerve but the judges saw her improvement and she has become the most successful winner since Leona Lewis. Her debut album "Hallelujah" holds the European record for the most single sale over a 24-hour period, selling 105,000 in one day. It was also the 2008 Christmas number 1 and by the New Year it had passed the one million sale mark.
This made her the first British soloist to sell that amount of copies in the United Kingdom. Her debut album "Overcome" was released in October 2009 and entered the UK albums chart at number 1. The lead single from it "Bad Boys" was released a week before the album and reached number 1 in the UK.
But she says winning the X-Factor came with a price and caused a family rift. Her mother is seriously ill with kidney failure and is awaiting a transplant and her teenage brother attempted suicide taking his mother's medication. Burke is worried it might have had something to do with her success and the acrimony between her and her mother.
Melissa Bell (Burke's mother) was part of the group Soul II Soul in the 1980s and following X-Factor she wrote her autobiography. In it she lashed out at her daughter saying Burke would never have won it without her experience, tuition and guidance.
She says "I am a better singer than her but, Alex is thinner and if she gets fat Simon Cowell will drop her". She also says Burke is now rich but the family have not received a penny and her win was a team effort, so she should have got something.
Alexandra Burke has her mother's groceries delivered once a week but Bell even criticised that saying they were from Asda, not from Waitrose and they were delivered because Burke did not have time to bring them herself.
Burke was driven from her North London home because of bullies and is now settled in Barnet where she is more relaxed. She has always been close to her family and her middle names are Imelda (after her Great Grandmother), Cecilia (after her Grandfather) and Ewan (her mother's maiden name).
She said the rift between her mother and herself is healing. She offered to donate a kidney to Bell but her mother refused saying it might stop Burke having children of her own.
In December 2010 she sang at Capital FMs "Jingle Ball" at London's O2 arena and her family came to the show. "They have not seen me sing before so it was very special" she said.
In 2009 she won Glamour Woman of the Year Award for Best Newcomer and in 2010 she has won the Cosmopolitan Award for the Ultimate UK Music Star.