The Sam Factor

Talking to X Factor singer Sam Lavery.

Sam Lavery was a contestant in the 2016 series of X Factor, getting through to the final six and playing the subsequent arena shows. We spoke at the start of her first headline tour, which includes a date at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge.

“We’re rehearsing every day now ahead of the tour that starts next week. It’s my first headline tour and I’m so excited about it. It’s my show, all down to me. It’s me that’s selling the tickets. Anything that goes wrong it’s all on me – no pressure then.”

Indeed. Out in the big wide world, with its distractions and problems.

“Yes, when you’re doing the X Factor you’re not with anything else so it’s like you’re in a bubble but when you’re out on your own that’s where the hard work starts because that’s where you’ve got to be original, that’s where you have to keep working at it.”

There was a bit of controversy surrounding your appearances ion the show, when it came out that you were more experienced than was first said.

“I’d been in some competitions, more for my own confidence and for getting experience of being in front of a crowd. It was good practice but I’d never done anything like the X Factor before. I never said I’d not done contests before, though.”

There’s been mixed messages said about what sort of help the artists get once they leave X Factor. How was it for you|?

“I keep in touch with a lot of the people on the show. There’s so many good people on there that I still work with now and they’ve helped me to write my own songs and be the person I wanted to be when I came off the show. The mentors keep in touch as well, telling you how you should be developing as an artist.”

It’s always seemed to me that if you get to the last three then you’re straight into that intense pressure to get your records out and you either have a big hit oru you’re dumped, but if you leave earlier then you have more time and you can develop more naturally.

“I think everyone has this thing in their head where every year the X Factor has to be number one because it always has been, so everyone’s fighting for the same thing but I think I left at a good point because I had time to concentrate on the song I wanted to put out first. It’s all about timing.”

Too many X Factor artists want to be Celine Dion with a mid-Atlantic accent but your style has certainly changed from your first TV appearances. how do you want your career to go?

“I don’t want to really be like anybody else but I do have a lot of influences, such as Paloma Faith. I’ve just finished my first EP and I wouldn’t say that the style is like anyone; it’s completely different to anything I was like on the show.”

Have you encountered any musical snobbery because of what you’ve been doing?

“Everyone has a different opinion of the show and they might not know everything about what goes into it. We’re all fighting for the same thing so you have to go your own way and not worry about anyone else. Some people say it’s just a talent contest but they don’t know how hard it is to get onto the show. You have to sing for the producers and get through the auditions just to sing in front of the judges.”

You were one of the the youngest contestants on the show. Was that a help, or did it add to the pressure?

“It depends on the person. Some of the younger ones might not like being away from home but I loved every minute and I dealt with it all.”

And what do you want to be doing as your career progresses?

“To keep fighting all the time. I’m so happy to be doing all this, I want to keep writing and keep going on. I’m writing my own stuff, I’ll be releasing some more soon, and going out on tour. Just keeping working”