#256 – Daring To Dream With X Factor Winner Sam Bailey

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the episode today, we have Sam Bailey. Sam, welcome. Hello, how are you? Marvellous, how are you? I’m good. Yeah, I’m just chilling nice cup of coffee. There’s no one in the house, we’re chilled, it’s all good. Glad to hear it. Some People know you as the 2013 X Factor winner. Some people know you as Mrs. Potts. I think of you as an exceptional singer. The first deep and meaningful question is Sam, who are you? I’m just a girl that was brought up in a modest background with hard working family with great morals, I’m a kind person.

I see myself as being a team player, just an all around nice person that thinks of others before themselves. I don’t really see myself as being this big facade that’s wow, she won the X Factor, she’s a celebrity. I just see myself as someone that’s plodding along and if I want a holiday, I’ll go out and get a nice holiday and if I want a new hoover, I’ll do the same and I just try to go about my life and enjoy it the best I can because you just don’t know when it’s your time, do you? That’s a somber thing to say, but yeah, you just don’t know you live life like it’s your last day on Earth. That’s what I say. Well thank you for the introduction. One of the first things I wanted to ask you about was the 2007 is when you first applied to be on X Factor and my sort of framing I guess is that on the one hand, you’re good enough to win the competition and on the other hand, they don’t, the first time you apply, they don’t let you through the first round, which is they’re pretty extreme in terms of both of those.

So what do you make of that? I probably think it was just the wrong time in general. I mean, back in 2007, I wasn’t a prison officer, I was singing, so I was in a band, so I had one child and so I think my story probably, I mean, I know that the X Factor is a tv show before, it’s a talent competition, you know, and I did that advice to anybody that’s going on it because whenever there was a new episode of, you know, a new season that would start, I would get people that were on the show, like, you know, or we’re auditioning, asking me for advice and I would always say, you have to remember it’s a tv show before, it’s a talent competition, so you have to have something interesting about yourself because people will grab onto that people don’t want someone to go on there and be completely in that mould, they want someone to be just a little bit outside the box.

And I feel, I feel like the fact that I was a prison officer was slightly out of the box of the norm, you know, because I didn’t look like a prison officer, and I guess that people clung onto that, you know, I’m a mom, I was a mom of two married mom of two. Um so I think before I went any further with the X Factor and with regards to everybody else is like asking me for advice, I would always say that, That you have to remember that it’s a TV show for a talent competition and when I did it the first time in 2007, I don’t think I was interesting enough. I don’t, because I sat into a mould. I was a singer. I was singing in pubs and clubs at the time. They want somebody that’s got something different about them. And the fact that I worked in a mall life was prison with 700 murderers You know what I mean? It’s like you think about, oh my God, she does that for a job and then she opens her gob and that comes out, but I didn’t know that at the time, but when I look back, I understand why I was picked that time, I didn’t go on the show going, I’m going to be more interesting.

It was just that I just happened to have a bit more of an interesting life the second time around, I did it and I think I was a bit of an emotional wreck and because I was a little bit older as well, it was almost like last chance saloon for me because I was getting up, you know, I was getting to the stage where I think I’m going to give up this career because it’s just, you know, it’s not paying my bills, so I feel like the second time around I was more what they were looking for, but I was also like, I was gunning for it, I was like, I wanted a new extension on my house, that’s the idiot. I didn’t do it because I wanted fame, I just wanted some money so that I could get a new extension of the house. I still live in the same house where I’m sat right now is my garden, you know, like, and now I’ve got astroturf in my garden, I’ve got a nice kitchen, I’ve got downstairs toilet, you know, these are all things that I wanted, but I couldn’t afford to do that on the wages that I was on at the time, so I feel like I’ve done what I set out to do, I didn’t want the fame and it’s not that I wouldn’t want to be that famous, that I couldn’t go for a poo without someone standing outside the door, just going down to the post office to post something or, you know, I didn’t want that, I don’t think I’d cope well without.

So in terms of your ability, would you say it was significantly different from 2007 to 2013? No, I think I could sing the crap out of everything when in 2007, I just don’t think I was interested enough, I think it was just the wrong time. So for those who perhaps do get rejected or it doesn’t necessarily have to be X Factor, but it can be lots of different things, it could be a job or you know, you could apply it to too many things, it may just be, you know, something that doesn’t include their ability at all. Yeah, I mean you might be amazing at your job, but you might not be very talkative, like, so if you go and apply for a job working in an office and you walk into the thing, you might be the cleverest person in that room, you might be able to do everything on that computer that they all can’t do, but you haven’t got that high Yeah, I’m blah blah blah, you know what I mean? But there are a lot of people that are like that and it’s it’s kind of a shame in that sense, but for the business that I’m in, it’s like when you, when you go for something like the X Factor or Britain’s got talent, they want someone to captivate you and literally be like holy poo, like this person on this stage is just mind blowing, like it’s like that, I call it the Susan Boyle effect, you know, like when Susan Boyle came out, I mean, I was called, what was I called?

Oh God, they called me something, she was called, super and I was called something else, Louis Walsh called me and I can’t remember what it was when she first came out onto the stage, people were quick to judge, oh my God, what is this walking out onto the stage and then she opened her God and it’s that, it’s that, that, that makes your hairs on your arms, like you go, oh my days, you know, that’s that’s amazing. And I think I walk out for my audition the second time round and I had hills on that, I could not walk in, I mean why I put heels on, I do not know, I clumped in the room, like an elephant wearing the most hideous clothes, what was I thinking? And then I walked in and then open my God and even I can’t even watch that audition, I cringe because I think I sound bad, I could have done it better, but that’s just me, like when I go into that room and audition, if I was to go in and do that same song again, I would have done it 100 times better because my breathing was out, I sang the wrong words, like I looked back and I think I was a rough diamond, I was someone that I felt like the judges could see something in and they saw the, they saw the opportunity there.

I mean my transformation from my first audition with the judges to the first show on tv in the live in the live shows that transformation people were waiting for that. You know, I’d lost weight, not because I was told to, but because I was so stressed if you could bottle stress and drinking, I would because if I lost so much weight just from the stress of what was going on. And the difference between me and them and I think that’s what people like to see is is that not only someone can sing, but that transformation from turning them into this, me and my frumpy flipping top that I was wearing my dodgy heels into this woman that’s got extensions in and like this outfit that I would never have picked up or even purchased in my life. You know, having a stylist and having makeup on full style ashes and all this sort of stuff.

And I think that’s another thing that people investing because he cannot wait to see the difference between that to that. And that’s another thing I feel like they look at, which is why I’ve said to people in the past, go to that audition as you don’t try to go as someone else. Because when I look back, I feel like that’s another thing that they look for is somebody that they can mould and they can, they can do something with and they can, they don’t want somebody to be a glorified rock star to just turn up on that day that they can’t do anything with. People love to see a transformation, they love to see someone like that’s why loads of people watch all those programs where they get Gok Wan to come and sort out their wardrobes and stuff because they can’t wait to see the transformation of how somebody can look. You know, I’d love to go on one of those programs but this is what the people invest in. And I watch it as well. I love watching things like that where you just see someone you know, just transform into a beautiful butterfly.

Not saying that I’m a butterfly, but what I’m saying is is that’s what the show is all about, it’s not just about how you sing, it’s about what they can do with you to make you look like an absolute star on that stage. And I feel like they achieved that with me. They did, they maybe look amazing every single night. I didn’t feel comfortable. I mean I would have preferred to have gone on stage and attractive, but I understood the assignment, you know, and I just got on with it because at the end of the day I still wanted my extension, still wanted my downstairs toilet. You had your priorities? Yeah. I didn’t want to also ask you about 2010 Britain’s got talent. Did the two differ? How much were they similar? What was your experience there? If I’m honest, I can’t actually remember that much difference in the audition process to Britain’s Got talent and and that and an X Factor, it was pretty much the same sort of thing.

I don’t I couldn’t even tell you which one was which because the whole process is because obviously they film it and they film, I don’t even know. I mean, I was never filmed on it and it was again practice Come back, We’ll see you soon in a few years time. You never know, you might see me on the British, you know, I might go on and secretly surprise people because I’m sure people do come back. I feel like that program Britain’s Got Talent, you know, for me going on there, there are so many people that are singers going there, you’ve got to have something really, really special to go on that show and show people and I feel like they’ve probably found somebody that year. And it’s so strange because the year that I did the X Factor 2013, that very same year in January, I got PPE payment, you know, like when you claim your PPE back and we booked a holiday to Florida for me, my husband and my two Children.

So we went out to Florida, but just before we went out to Florida, we were sat watching the X Factor in December. And I applied because we sat on the sofa and and I said to the kids, wouldn’t it be funny to see mummy on there, what would you be like? And they’re like, oh mom, we’d love it. So you know, at the end of the program and it says would you like to be on the next season, blah blah blah fly here. So I did, I didn’t hear anything for ages. And then in January we went to mike in January, February March or something like that. I don’t know where it was. We went out to Florida on this holiday without PPE money. And whilst I was out there I got an email saying we want you to come to Cardiff on Friday. And we were getting back on the, on the Wednesday or something and I was like, oh ship like they want me to audition. So I had to go to Cardiff to do this audition. And but the weirdest thing is whilst we was in Florida before, just before that audition, I had a thing called the American idol experience which is in one of the parks and it’s literally A replica of the American Idol stage and audience.

So there’s like 5, 600 people in the audience and the stage and everything and you go in to this room at the back into like a record, it looks like a recording studio kind of thing and you audition like this is early in the morning. So they were doing the auditions in the morning. So you went along and I went in there and I said, what song do you want to sing? And I sang and they was like gave me a ticket and said you’re back to the semifinals had to go back to the semi finals in the afternoon. In those semifinals, they were onstage. So like audiences could queue up and go in and watch as if they was watching the tv show. It was part of the lack of bride experience I guess for the audience. I got up on the stage sam you’re through to the final and then you walk around the park with this land yard on that says I’m in the final of American idol and then people spot you as you’re going around going, oh my God, I saw you today and also on the screens all around the park, there’s literally the video of the thing as well so everyone can see you.

And then the final was at like seven o’clock at night. So I had to go back. I mean I’ve dressed like a tourist. I’m wearing shorts, t shirt, I’ve got no clothes or anything and I go and I sing again in the final and I won and I got the ticket tape and I got everything. It was like I’d won American idol. It was crazy. Those tv cameras everywhere. The audience were going crazy. I walk around the park that night and they’re all literally going crazy. People coming up to me asking for photos with me and everything. It was bizarre. But I also won um a cut through to the boot camp section of American Idol, but I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t American. So I down, I gave it to the person that came second. So you can do that, you can sign it over to the person that comes second because I couldn’t do it. So this guy got onto American Idol’s bootcamp stages and I went home and it was so weird because not long after that I auditioned for the X Factor and then I got the ticket taker again.

So twice in one year, one from American Idol and one from that and I contacted American idol and said to them that I did the American, I’ll experience and I won blah blah blah and all this and I said I just won the experts in the UK and they invited me because there was closing the American Idol experience in thinking they wanted me to go to the closing party and invited me out there to come to it and everything. I couldn’t go because I was pregnant and I was really busy but I just find it so I believe in fate and I believe in things happen for a reason and I feel like I’ve got a taste of that experience. So earlier on in that year and then to get that again was just absolutely mind blowing for me. Did it give you like the, how much did that maybe improve your confidence or give you the confidence to do well in the X Factor? See, I never saw myself winning the show, but I saw myself going out there and smashing it every time because I knew that I would I was nervous, but I was the only contestant in that year that knew all the words to the songs because I sang them all.

So you’ve got contestants that are stressing like mad. I mean these are young kids, you have to remember that the first two weeks of the show, the other two overs got voted off. So it was just me, I was the only over in the competition and the rest of them were all like 18. There was no older ones in the competition except for me. So I was like the mother, I was the one that was teaching them how to use a washing machine in the house, you know that I was that person. So I didn’t have anyone of my own age kind of group, but at the same time I’ve been around the block. So when they was all in nappies, I was out Gideon. So for me it was like, I understood the assignment that every single week I would go out there and I would smash it. And there’s a footballer from Leicester called Alan Young who used to play for Leicester city and he was supporting me the whole journey through and he he said to me um one game at a time because that was the advice that he got, never look at the prize never looked so far ahead at the prize, just take one game at a time and I did the same thing, but one show at a time, one performance at a time and whenever the votes would ever come in, I had no idea what the public perception was because I didn’t look at social media, I didn’t, the only thing I cared about was talking to my kids at the night time, getting some sleep and I’m one of these people that I can’t be late for anything.

So we had literally a group of researchers from my tv that would look after us on a daily basis and if we had to be up at eight o’clock, I’m ready to go somewhere at eight o’clock in the morning, I would be there at half seven in my bag and I was the only one that did that, everybody else would be, oh my God, my hair. Oh my God, I’ve not got this. Someone still in their pajamas. I would be sat there with my bag with a cup of tea waiting. And that was noted by a lot of people like, I’ve always been like that and there’s like a respect thing that I have about being laid. It’s just, that’s just me. So I was very organised and with regards to the songs every single week. I felt like I, I was lucky because I don’t think there was, I think there was only a couple of weeks where I didn’t actually know the song, but when you’re musically minded, you can kind of, because I’ve spent so many years learning songs.

I mean, I used to do gigs and get in the back of the van and the band leader would say, you’re singing this tonight. So I’d have to learn it on the journey up and we would, we would be there in 2.5 hours and I’d have to know the song. So I was kind of used to learning stuff on the bounce like really quickly and I got on with it. You know, I, they give us our songs, I’d go up to my room. I was on my own. I didn’t share with anyone and I literally go up to my room, learn my ship, go on stage and perform it to the best that I knew and that’s all I cared about. I didn’t, I didn’t go, I hope I get through to next week. Oh my God, I’m going to win this competition. It was never about that for me. I don’t ever remember thinking I really want to win this competition. I just remember caring about how I performed the song because if you perform to the best of your ability and you don’t win.

You still won because you’ve gone out there and smashed it because everybody will look back at those performances and go God you remember when Sam did that, Oh my God, amazing and people still talk about it now. I get sent and tagged in all the videos that I’ve done. But when I look back at them now, even though at the time I smashed it, I know I could do better now. So I’m constantly going, I wish I could go back and do it all again because I know that now my voice is evolved even more and I’ve learned so more I could go back and do it again and smash it even more. So I’m constantly trying to better myself. But I know that if you give me a song within an hour, I’ll be able to sing it and then I’ll go out and smash it. Happy days. So I never really sort of saw my eye on the prize. I already knew that I had one because in my eyes I just wanted recognition so that I could get better gigs. So I knew that was gonna happen because I’ve been on tv so many weeks, so I knew that I was going to leave here and get better work.

I didn’t go on the show and think, oh my God, you know, and I’ve done so well, I’m gonna win now, never in a million years and never looked at it like that. I even said to Nikki and Luke, we drove back after getting voted through to the semifinals, which then changed from the studios, fountain Studios to the arena and I remember that journey back and all three of us were sat in the back and it was so quiet because all of us were just like what the just happened. Like we’ve all just made it into the finals as the X factor And these boys are 17. So I felt the need to say something. So I was in the back of the car and I said, look boys, I said, we have to enjoy next week. Regardless of what happens. We’re all winners. It doesn’t matter who wins this competition, if you win, Nikki, if you win, win Luke, if I win or whatever. We’ve all done something amazing. And next week is all about us three.

I mean at the night of the final, you know, we had Elton, john, we had flipping the killers, we had One direction Robbie Williams, all these people that were there because of us and that was a bit of a head fun for me. Like I just found that a little bit like whoa, everyone’s hair because of us. It was, it was just really mind blowing that three people could create This. Thousands of people that were all there to watch one of us be the successor of the X Factor 2013. And that blew my mind. But I never once saw my eyes on the prize. I just was in the moment at that time. But I wish I’d documenting it with phones and I never took, I didn’t take many pictures and I wish I had, I wish I remembered more because it was a massive blur.

The final. I just remember getting for it and going, did that just happen? And I don’t really remember much about the final apart from the fact that I was like a deer in the headlights for the majority of it was crazy. Well, thank you for the explanation. I also think your answer of one game at a time. It gives me sort of an insight in terms of what I was going to ask you next, which was about your first, the first live audition of 2013 and it’s the infamous video I read in the book, your book Daring to dream that at the time it said that the video had 11 million views. Now it has 42 million views. So there’s something about that video and I wanted to ask about what your experience was, which was your, you’ve basically, you’re going out to do something which is pretty intimidating. You go into a room and this for let’s say influential people waiting for you to perform and it’s all going to be broadcast to millions of people. What’s that? Like?

It was really weird because we were there for a long time. I had no food. I’ve not eaten the Excel in London. They had no like vending machines, no nothing. There was nowhere to get food. There was no caffeine, no nothing. And we was there all day and my vision wasn’t until later on in the day. And when I auditioned and I went into the room and done my song for a split second after I performed, there was like a dead silence where everyone was just like that. And then, because I didn’t bat an eyelid with me really until that moment. And then after I finished the song and I walked out of the room, I got chased by researchers. And there was all like, we need to do some more filming with you. You can’t go home in it, we need to do you like they wanted to film me walking in as if I was going to my audition, which is standard procedure because again it is a tv show. So I had to walk in as if I was walking in because I want to set the scene and then there was lots of filming of me just sitting and waiting around.

So as if I’ve been waiting around kind of thing and there was like interviews and stuff like that. And I just thought, well this this feels really weird because there was hundreds, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people there. And when I walked out from my audition and I walked back into the room where the holding room where there was just loads of people, everyone went crazy, like I just won a lot, really like and everyone, it was just really, really bizarre. And then me and the hubby, I had my number on the front of me here and I took it off and I put it on his glove box and it stayed there for ages and ages and ages. It literally was stuck there and it’s, I don’t know if you can see it, it’s just there. So that right there is my number one, 1 6-1 to right, that’s the 1116 to 12. So that was literally behind me. That was we drove and we didn’t speak, we just didn’t didn’t really speak the whole journey back.

It was just like a just, it was just so bizarre the whole process. I was very emotional because for me singing a song like, listen, I’ve spent so so many years trying to get recognition from my voice and not really succeeding. And every show that I’ve ever done when I was in a band and I was like doing all these different things. Everybody that I’ve worked with that all said, oh my God, you know, you should do the X Factor, Oh my God, your voice is sensational. I’ve never had anyone come up to me or heard of anyone saying to me, oh God, she’s ship! You know, never, it’s always been, oh my God, like you were amazing, but I just never had that opportunity. Years and years ago, a record label wanted to sign me and I was my early twenties at the time. And um I got taken to this record label, quite well known record label and they sent me away with a guy to work on me and they basically tried to get me to act like I was more like a black person and they wanted me to dress like I was more street and and I went along with it for a couple of weeks and then and then I disappeared.

We had no phones back then, so you could literally disappear and I disappeared and I said, I don’t want to do it, I didn’t want I don’t want someone to change me and that’s not me. I’m a ballad singer. I’m not like the next Rihanna or you know, I mean this is before Rihanna was probably around, but you know, it just wasn’t me and I had all these opportunities. But the difficulty in the business that you’re in now Is this the business is very shallow and it looks at the person rather than looking at how great they are at singing. I know so many singers that are absolutely killer and they literally would wipe the floor with 80% of the people that are in the charts and they will never get anywhere because they’re four ft wide. They might not have a straight nose, They might have glasses, they might not dress right.

And I just think it’s a real damn shame because I know I could give you, I could reel off 10 people that I know from the circuit that sing on the singing the Dog and Duck every Friday night. That will wipe the floor with half the people that are in the charts after people in the charts. And I say half the people there, there’s a lot of people that can, but there are so many people in the charts that are just there to look pretty and they’re mine and I’ve got real beef about that really have because I’ve grafted grafted for years and years and I can sing, I’ve never mind in my life ever. And I can go up on the stage any night and sing in the same key as the original key. You know, of any song that’s really difficult to do to do. I’ve never transposed a key to make it easier for me to sing. I’ve always sang in the original key and then you go and watch a concert and you paid stupid money to go to a concert.

And then, I mean it’s like, what am I paying for manager? Just go home and press play. You know, it’s just really frustrates me because there are so many singers out there that just, I feel deserve that recognition and they don’t get it because there’s people in the charts that just, you know, thinner than them or better looking than them or you know what I mean? It’s like, I just, I just don’t like that side of the industry. I really don’t, which is why I like the concept of the voice, you know, just that first bit where you don’t actually get to even see the person, you just get to hear them and that to me is a magical thing. Well, I’ll get around to the context here. But the question is around have many people told you when they’ve listened to you that they’ve cried. Yes, I get it all the time. And now I see it as a little bit like, you know what if you’ve cried, I’ve done my job because it means you felt it and I get that a lot. I mean at the moment I’m in viewing the Beast and I sing the title song and and I make a lot of people cry and I think, you know, it’s because of the moment and because of what it is and how it’s portrayed, I’ve always been told many many years ago, I mean I’m going back 23 years now.

I was advised by somebody to not to just sing a song, but to make people feel it as well and my motto is don’t just sing it, sell it, you know, because when you go out on stage and you sing a song washing to Ben. So I get a lot of stuff off my chest when I sing because I’m not, I’m not an angry person, I don’t get angry a lot. So when I sing a song and I’m telling you, I vent and I get, I think about whatever is pissed me off that week and I sing it and then everyone goes, oh I felt that because it’s true and it’s truth and I teach this as well. I mean I teach students at college, I have done in the past, I’ve not done it in a minute, but I did do it for a bit and teaching that concept of people and two young kids, you know that you can use singing as therapy because I’ve got a teenage daughter and she, she’s a teenager, so there’s a lot of crap going on in teenagers lives with hormones and all that sort of stuff.

And I say to these kids that I teach are saying you can channel so much emotion for a song, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be about what you’re singing about. It can have the slightest bit of truth in there. So if you’re singing a song hero Mariah Carey for example, you can sing that about your grandma that you lost, you know, isn’t necessarily have to be about love or anything like that, you can just channel that I’m singing this song for you and then you can get so much stuff off your chest and if people sit there and go, I believe every single word she’s just said, I’ve done my job. If I can make people cry and I can make people get an emotion out. I’ve done what I set out to do. And that was to make people feel that emotion. I don’t just go out on stage and sing something. I sing it with heart and that’s what makes people cry. I’ll be like, tick make people cry today. Oh yeah. The you did make me cry with the first audition.

I’m not much of a crier. I don’t know whether you can sense that from me. But the research for our conversation and it happened again in the sort of, I might describe it as your second audition, which I know it’s televised audition because I know there’s a lot before the show, but it’s the song Who’s Loving You, where you described it as belting it out, which I loved. Do you want to share a little bit about that? So that’s a song that I had been singing probably since I was about 14, 15. It was kind of my go to song. I think probably everybody that’s really young would would sing that song. I mean, I think I was probably about 14. I mean I was very small for my age as well. Stars in their eyes wanted me to go on and do Michael Jackson And sing that song. I don’t quite how they don’t know how they was going to make that happen but I sounded just like Michael Jackson when I used to sing that song when I was like 14, 15.

Um And I loved it and it’s always been like a song that I would have sang a talent competition. So for me, that song was like full circle to get to perform that in front of so many million people and an arena of 4,000 5000 people. That was just mind blowing. The more people you give me the better I am and the better I feel on stage I will soak it up Because that didn’t scare me at all. I think the lesser people, the more it was more nerve wracking singing into a room with four people staring at me than it would have been 20,000 people staring at me. I mean I sang live in front of 90 something 1000 people and I loved it. So, but why is that? I don’t know because it’s just like you can’t bail out that I think that’s the thing that I like is like there that the adrenaline’s pumping and it’s that feeling, it’s just like a it’s like a drug, you know, you go out there and you stand in the middle, I was tweaking them and it was just packed with people and I got to sing that and I got to sing We are the Champions on the middle of the pitch when Lester got promoted to the Premier League and that in itself was just insane.

It was emotional and I was living it up and you know, singing who’s lovin you? I feel like it’s kind of full circle for me because that song was one of the songs that my dad used to love me singing because it was always a song that I did when I was doing talent competitions and I did quite a few of them when I was younger. But yeah, I remember singing that song and I just loved it. I mean I got to sing the full song but they edit it to make it shorter and and then I think that they asked me to sing another one and I sang Run To You with Houston and that’s that’s just the strangest thing ever because now I’m really good friends without a rich who wrote, he’s simply perform that song so many times and he’s a bit of a fan of mine and I just think your life just takes it massive turn of events, you know, like all these different situations you get put in and you know, singing that song that week and I think that was the week that my family ran out.

There was like 20, of my family or run out on stage. I’m not sure if it was that week or the week or the week before, I can’t remember. But Yeah, one experience crazy before we move on to winning and perhaps what’s um what you’ve done after. I did want to ask you about one more thing about perhaps prior to X Factor, which is when you got the job as a prison guard. And I know that people have asked you about that, but I haven’t heard anyone ask you about your first day because thinking about it from your perspective, I mean if anything that’s maybe equally nerve wracking, maybe it’s like walking into a cult. Um I mean obviously I’ve done all my training, but at that time because you go to like prison officer school, if you will, you have to stay there. Um And it’s it’s that training kind of prepares you, but nothing can prepare you for that first day in uniform walking around because as far as the prisoners concerned, they see new meat, they see somebody else that they can try to manipulate and somebody else they can try and condition or break, they try to break you.

There are certain prisoners that will try to break you on your first day and that is petrifying and you have to stand your ground. And I generally believe that me being a prison officer prepared me so much for what was to come Arthur. It really did. I don’t think I would have coped as well if I hadn’t have been a prison officer before. I really don’t So you did have people attempt to take advantage when it was your first day. Yeah, 100% they seem, they seem fresh meat and they’re like straight away, all right, miss how you doing this like this. And they just tried to go just because they want to break the, they want to make you feel so uncomfortable. But I mean I’m streetwise, I come from a rough counsel estate. So I grew up with people like that I grew up with and you have to go into being a prison officer with the mentality that they’re already being judged, so you’re not there to judge them whatever they’ve done, you are not there.

So you have to treat them like as you would anybody walking past the street that says hello to you. So as long as you’ve got that mutual respect with the prisoner, you’ll gain that respect back and like during sort of times where they are on the wing and they’re chilling out or whatever and they come up to you say a game of poor miss and then you play pool with them and then they say something, you know, just a little bit on the knuckle, you go be a d**k head, come on, you know that banter that you can have where you’re friendly but not friends. So there’s a, there’s a big sort of line and I worked with some of the best, the best prison officers you level you’ll ever meet and they were great, they was old school, they’ve been prison officers for years and they had so much respect of prisoners and you learn from that and you learn how to gain these different layers and thick layers of skin so that when someone does try to break you, you can stand up with your with your shoulders back and your head held high and go, no, you’re not today darling, you know, and they know they can’t break you and it’s just like a mutual respect, you know, they’re there to do their time, you’re there to help them do their time sufficiently respectfully and safely whilst caring for them and making sure that they don’t get into any sort of gangs or anything like that, because there are some people in there that were not very nice, but there are also some prisoners in there that were actually really nice and respectful because from day one, you have to have that mentality, you can’t judge them when you meet someone, you meet the prisoner and you would be trapped into them and you know, they talk about their family and their life and you’re like, oh mate, that’s lovely, blah blah blah, and then you go and read their file and see what they’ve done and you go because you would never know and but if I had gone in to meet that person knowing I’d have been on my back foot a little bit, you know, because you think Jesus, you did that to a person and you wouldn’t be with them the same, so I’d never wanted to read what somebody had done before meeting that person because I want to know them before knowing what they’ve done and I feel like that helped me a lot too to be able to bond on a professional level with prisoners and be able to carry on and be safely and you know, you’d be in prison and sometimes because you’re a woman, if there was ever any trouble, some prisoners would try to protect the woman because but you couldn’t let them protect you even though in the outside world you would let a guy protect you.

But inside prison they could use that to try and condition you so that you felt protected and that’s why in some cases there are women in prison that fall for prisoners because they feel more protected by a guy that’s in prison than they would on the outside. It’s really bizarre. But you know, there are so many things that you have to have your guard up about and you have to be able to sort of go, you know, you know, if a prisoner for example saw me come in, I never really wore makeup, but um if say for example, I’d really red eyes and I’ve been crying for whatever reason prisoner noticed it, you’re right, miss. Yeah, I’m good, thank you. Yeah, all good, thanks a lot, you know, blah blah blah, You’d never go too near just had a bad day because then they’ll be like trying to be there for and that’s the first part of someone trying to condition you into the next thing. You know you’re having full blown conversations outside the cell telling them your problems and stuff like that, you know what I mean?

And you should never let that guard down. You know don’t talk too much about your kids. I could never go back to work in a prison because they got TVs, they watched the final, they know who I am, they’ve seen what my kids look like. It’s too dangerous for me to go and work back in the prison service. But I did enjoy my time there. I did enjoy it. I enjoyed helping people and working with people and helping them become that people because eventually they will get out. Some of them we mentioned how it’s giving you an extra thick skin or it’s toughened you up. Have you got any thoughts about how you might teach your kids how to be tough but not encourage them to be prison guards or need to do that. Um I think I want my kids to be mentally strong. It’s not all about. I mean I pulled my son out of school purely because he retaliated by hitting somebody on the back but he did it to protect himself.

But I pulled him out because I don’t want him to think that violence is the answer. So he’s now in a specialist school, he goes to a special school for Children with autism or ASD on the spectrum. So he started last week. But you know, I don’t want my kids to ever think that violence is the answer. My husband, as much as you know, if someone hit my daughter, he’d go back then, because that’s, you know, he’s a lad, he’s a lads lads, you know, like that’s how he was brought up. But I’ve said to my kids, because I’ve seen prisoners that I’ve never done anything wrong in their life, but got into a fight with someone protecting somebody else, punch somebody, they’ve hit the floor, crack their head open and consequently died, and now they’re doing a life sentence for it, you know? And I just think to myself, I don’t want my kids to think that’s okay regardless of what you’re so much stronger person if you walk away from the situation Or you use your ability to be able to talk someone down or talk yourself out of a situation rather than getting violent.

I mean, I would have said a completely different story 35 years ago, because I did have to stick up for myself when I was younger, you know, like from the age of 30 odd years ago when I was 14, 15, I was always fighting. Always. Like if someone ever said anything to me, I’d grab them. But that’s because I was surrounded by people that did exactly that. And if you didn’t do it, people be like, what you’re doing what you p******g out for. So I had to stick up for myself from a very young age and I think that’s why I was good at my job in the prison service and I say good, like I wasn’t the best, but I understood half the people that was in there because they come from the same background as me. Thank you for that. It’s good advice. The winning of the X Factor. Have you got anything that you wanted to share that you perhaps haven’t previously. Gosh, winning the X Factor. Just the fact that I don’t really remember much. I remember when they said my name and then Dermot said, what’s the first thing you’re going to do now?

You get to go home and anybody would have thought I’d have said spend some time with the kids or whatever. But no, I said, I wanted, I couldn’t wait to go to the Leicester City Man City to my husband’s demise. He was like, really wait to go and see a football match. I had a season ticket. I was like, I just couldn’t wait to go. And I ended up singing at halftime at that game was great. Well, congratulations on everything that you’ve achieved there in terms of what’s next for you, Anything you want to share. Well, obviously I’m in beauty and the beast until January. By the time I finished it will be 18 months of me being a teapot. I am going to miss it. Being in a Disney musical is just has just been the best experience. I’ve loved it. I loved working for Disney. I feel like because of the last couple of years that what we’ve been through with the pandemic and stuff, Disney has been really great in in looking after us and and making sure that we’re comfortable with everything.

And I just feel like I’ve worked for a really, really good company and after that was finished, we’re going on a big holiday, which is great, which is well deserved. My kids have really sacrificed a lot with me not being here and with my son going to a specialist school. I’ve been fighting for the last two years for that with the local authority, the government and everything and I’ve banged a lot of tables, emails, zoom calls, meetings, therapy sessions. I’ve done a lot and I’ve done it all in my spare time whilst being away and I’ve finally managed to do it. So, a major pat on the back for myself and the husband for putting up with the kids while I’ve been away. But I think for me, I just want to I want to do a couple of cruises. I want to get back onto cruises to get out of the country for a bit, you know do some do some work abroad, but just enjoy life at home, There’s a few people that want to audition for certain things in certain shows, but I’m not too sure if I want to go back straight out on at all.

I don’t think my husband would like that very much. I can keep probably divorce me if I said that. So yeah, I do want to spend a bit of time at home, there’s a lot of things that I want to do. So yeah, I think it’s just a case of seeing what happens, you know, I don’t know what’s around the corner do we, you think you’d ever be a judge on the X Factor? Oh God, no, I mean I’d be a great judge. A judge should be somebody that’s been around a bit, a judge should be somebody that understands the assignment and that somebody that is a little bit mature, mature. Er I mean on the X Factor you’ve had all sorts of judges on there. I think Rita or a was a judge on there once I got in trouble for saying that you know, I don’t think I’d want to be on the show if Rita Ora was a judge when I was on because what could she possibly teach me? You know, I’m double her age, I’ve done way more than what she has. I want a judge to be somebody that, I mean look at the lineup, we had that year, Louis Walsh band manager, he knows the business, he knows what people are looking for.

Sharon again, knows the business has been around the block. Nicole Scherzinger, classically trained singer, I’ve been in a pop band and then Gary Barlow that was singing in pubs and clubs like me. So you’ve got four different people that have all got knowledge in the business. Not saying that Rita Ora hasn’t, but I don’t think she could teach me or critique me when I sing live and she doesn’t sometimes, and and she’s one of that category that I feel that great singer, she looks great, but I do, I do feel like she was just fed it from a very young age, she was at drama school, they said to her at drama school, you’re going to be a star, She’s not done the graft, if that makes sense, Which isn’t her fault, but she’s not, I don’t think a judge should be somebody that’s just come straight out of something and gone straight into that.

I think you’ve got to have be able to understand every contestant on the graph that they’ve had and she hasn’t and there’s, you know, for me to be a judge, I think would be great here, but I’m not famous enough to be a judge, but I would do it, I’ve judged talent competitions before and I think, you know, people value my opinion because of that, because of my past history with performing. So I started off as a blue coat, you know, So I’m taking that as kind of a Yes, Is that do you think I do it? But I don’t think I’d ever get asked and I know, in fact, I know I’d never get asked purely because I’m not famous enough, which is fine by me because I never wanted that. I’ve been kind of sick, quite pretty at the moment. Yeah, I’d love to do more tv stuff. I’ve, you know, presenting or anything like that. I’d love to do all that acting. I’d love to get into TV acting.

That would be a great thing to do. But with regards to being a major pop star, I’m not it’s not my bag, to be honest, I don’t think there’s enough money in it these days to go out and make records gigging is the thing that makes you the money and and I love doing it, you know, I love performing, I do the odd occasional gig outside of Beauty and the Beast and it’s an opportunity for me to sing the crap out of a few songs and have a great night. So, yeah, I think I’m quite lucky. Well, congratulations on everything you’ve achieved. I meant what I said, I think you’re an exceptional singer and prepping for our conversation. It was it was really, really nice. So, from my perspective, is there anything I should have asked you about today. Yeah, yeah. Closing thoughts. Well, closing thought is that I hope that in 10 years time I still have a story to tell that people are interested in because I do feel like that I am an example of somebody that can achieve something, even if you don’t think you can, you know, like for me my goal was to get my extension on my house.

There are so many people out there that are my age that have kids that think I can never do anything now, it’s too late, I’ve missed my window of opportunity to become a maternity nurse or to do this and, I just say to people it’s never too late, you just have to have the right people around you and I feel like I’ve been really lucky to have the right people around me, the right support and if people can support you, you can achieve anything. It’s never too late. So for all those people out there that wanted to get that job that they’ve always wanted to do, that left college because they wanted to have kids or fell pregnant or whatever. It’s never too late. Positive message to end on. Daring to dream. Sam, thank you for being a great guest today. Thank you darling.