Easter weekend had just flown by, and I was sitting waiting for a call from Alexandra Burke.
I've been a fan of Alexandra's since her time on The X Factor (who couldn't love that amazing performance with Beyoncé?), and so I was excited when I heard she'd be taking on the role of Rachel Marron in the West End production of The Bodyguard.
Chatting to Alexandra about her new role as well as putting forward some fan questions to the talented star, I was pleased to find out she was her usual, bubbly and talkative self, despite her secretive nature surrounding her forthcoming musical releases following her time in the stage production.
Find out what she had to say in the interview below about joining The Bodyguard, pressures taking on a Whitney Houston-made-famous role and much more.
You're taking on the role of Rachel in West End show The Bodyguard, what led to the decision to join the show?
Well, I mean how could you say no? (laughs) How can you say no to such an amazing opportunity? For me, it was something that came about very unexpected, and when I got the email from my agency saying 'they want you to take on Rachel Marron, what do you think?' I was just like 'woah woah woah woah woah!' - that's exactly what my reaction was, because it wasn't part of the plan to take on a role of such, I mean such a big role, at this moment in time anyway.
I came back to England and literally went in and sang some Whitney songs, did a little bit of acting, and after I walked out, two hours later they said 'the role is yours if you want it', and it didn't take me long to say 'yes', because the opportunity came about a couple of years ago and I couldn't do it because of schedules and stuff, and it came back again and I thought 'this must be a blessing'. It had to be a blessing because it's come back again, what an opportunity. It's the last three months of the actual play and I'm grateful and honoured that they've asked me.
I'm a huge fan of Whitney Houston - always have been - it's something in her legacy, and I've always wanted to do acting, why not do all my three loves in one go and have this great opportunity, and why not have your debut as an actress as well doing The Bodyguard? To me, there was nothing that could top this opportunity, so straight away I was like 'let's go have some fun, let's do it!'
I know you're a big Whitney fan, do you feel a pressure going into a role she made so famous?
I feel for me personally there's always pressure in anything I do, whether that's releasing a song or releasing an album or going into a different stage in my life - this is an adventure for me. It's a different career path, acting, it doesn't mean that music is gone, it just means that I'm doing this for three months.
So, there is always gonna be pressure in anything I do. To me, if I don't feel pressure I worry, because it's like 'OK, you've gotta feel some pressure to work great' in my opinion.
So yes, I do feel some pressure but I don't feel pressure to play Whitney Houston's part. Whitney Houston played Rachel Marron. Heather Headley now started off this role playing Rachel Marron in Bodyguard the musical. Beverley Knight's taking over and now Alexandra Burke is - sorry for talking about myself in the third person - but that's the way I have to view it, as we're taking on a role that is Rachel Marron, not Whitney Houston - there's a big difference. Whitney made the role famous, and now I've been given the beautiful opportunity to play that role from one of my favourite movies of all time, and to have my fans come and watch and to have anyone that comes in - you may not be a fan of my music, but people that come and see the show they're a fan of The Bodyguard as an actual movie.
For me, it's such a great opportunity to play it and yes I feel pressure but at the same time I wanna turn that pressure into something great, into positive energy and give it my all. I can only give my own interpretation to this role, and I can't wait.
Have you started rehearsals yet for the show?
We haven't started the gruelling rehearsals yet, we've done a few thus far. The main rehearsals start May 5 up until show day, 6 days a week, 10 till 6 and it's gonna be a lot. I'm excited about that.
You recently released the single 'Where Do Hearts Go', with proceeds going toward the WellChild charity, why did you choose that charity to get behind?
Well first of all it's not a single, it's definitely not a single at all, but I literally...
Basically, I performed for WellChild, and they emailed and asked because they thought how passionate I am about what they do and how many children they help, they asked me to be an ambassador - again another opportunity where I couldn't say no.
On Good Friday I literally got asked by BBC - they heard two songs from my album and they asked me to sing 'Where Do Hearts Go'.
The last time I put music out lots of feedback I got from my fans they said 'I wanna download it the MP3, put it up on iTunes, we wanna be able to get it', and I took that feedback and said 'we're gonna sing a new song from the album, let's put it up on iTunes and let's give the proceeds to charity', and we all decided together as a team to give it to WellChild because I'd just been made an ambassador, so we just thought we'd give the proceeds to them.
WellChild do so many - first of all it's amazing that Prince Harry has a charity, and the fact that they even asked me to perform at their charity ball a few weeks ago, I was truly, truly gobsmacked. We'd done that and it went really, really well and it was such a beautiful, beautiful dinner. There was not a dry-eye in the place, there were tears everywhere.
How did you find the experience of performing on Good Friday at the Great North Passion?
That was really cool. It was very different to when I'd done Songs of Praise - going up to South Shields and taking that journey up there and rehearsing on the Thursday and performing Friday - it was a real honour that the BBC asked me to perform, because it's so important for me for people to understand the true meaning behind Easter, and I know the eggs and what they represent, but sometimes I feel Easter can get lost in Easter Eggs and that excitement, and it was nice to sit down with my nieces and nephews on Sunday and watch the show back. It was really nice that they actually sat and watched it for an hour, and they're young but it's great to be reminded and for that information to be ingrained into your head from a young age, and my mum and my dad certainly made sure that we knew what Easter was about from a young age. It's important to remember.
I now have some fan questions if that's alright?
The first one's from Barry who wants to know do you have any dates in mind for a new album release?
I do have dates in mind - dates I can't release at this time, because right now my focus is The Bodyguard, but the album is finished, and it's in the mixing part of the album stage, and I would say just watch this space! Come and see a show at The Bodyguard and I might let you know!
Tim wants to know will you be producing any uptempo tracks for the album?
Oh yeah! Absolutely! There are some nice ballads on this album in my humble opinion again (laughs). There's some mids, ballads, up, it's not a ballad album, it's a nice mixed bag.
A few fans asked if you're going forward independently?
That right there is a nice question, which I can't tell them at this time! For me, there's certain news I wanna put out over time, and right now isn't the time for me to discuss that. I wanna concentrate on The Bodyguard.
And Zack wants to know do you have any plans for the USA?
Absolutely, all day. Plans all day to go over there and release! Of course. All in due time. But right now, again, the focus is The Bodyguard. Right now it really is, and the music will be coming after, they will not be waiting that long.
Alexandra Burke stars in The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre from 2 June, booking to 30 August 2014, 0844 579 0094, thebodyguardmusical.com
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