X Factor 2013 winner Sam Bailey says she’s received messages of concern from fans following her recent split with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music, but insists she’s happy with the decision because it means she can now concentrate on her own music.
“As grateful as I am for the platform, I want somebody to take me seriously as a singer. I’m better than a cover album singer and I want to be able to prove that,” Bailey tells RadioTimes.com.
“[Syco] has got all of the new X Factor contestants and I’m no longer up there with them. I’m kind of like the smaller fish. If you look at the people that Syco have got on their books – I’m pushing 40 – so I kind of feel like they don’t feel they can market me.
“I would prefer to be free to go out and do my own thing. I certainly don’t want to be, ‘Oh, let’s just get Sam Bailey to do another covers album’. I want to be a recognised artist in my own right by doing my own stuff.”
Bailey stresses that her first album of cover versions, The Power of Love, was certainly the right move for her at the time. It was the fastest-selling debut of last year and, as the singer affirms, Simon Cowell’s no fool when it comes to the music business.
“They were great when I did the album, they pushed me in the right direction. I thank Simon, Simon’s been great; he’s been a nice person and he definitely knew what he was doing by putting an album out when he did. He definitely knew how to get revenue on that; it came out on Mother’s Day, I’m not stupid.”
But Bailey says it would have been “weird” if Syco had signed her again, and would have left her questioning what their next move would be.
“I don’t want to sit and fester then six months down the line they say, ‘Oh, we’re ready to get you in the studio now to do some recording’ and then bang an album out just before Christmas.
“Some of the main artists that are with Syco, they’re doing all sorts of different things and travelling and stuff. I would have been sat at home waiting for the phone call, waiting to get some work. I want to be taken seriously.”
“I’m not a Beyoncé,” Bailey laughs, acknowledging that she’s not yet a top-selling international artist. But she says the amount of public support she gets means there is definitely the potential for her to do another album filled with her own music.
“I just want to be given the opportunity to write some of my own stuff. I don’t feel Syco would have done that with me.
“They’re a business at the end of the day and I’m not stupid. I am 37 and I’ve lived a little bit. If I’d have been a 17-year-old I would have been crying into my pillow at night, but I’m genuinely not; I know it’s a business first. I’m a mum, I’ve been around the block a bit; I just want to go out and sing and earn money to provide for my family. To be honest, if that means I have to go out and do all sorts of different things, I’m quite happy to do it.”
Bailey adds that she continues to seek advice from her X Factor mentor Sharon Osbourne (who’s also godmother to her youngest daughter Miley).
“I’ve been speaking to Sharon all the way through and she knows as well as I do that it’s like, you should be out there earning money. She’s a business woman, she’s like, ‘Just go out there and get your finger in every single pie’.
“I will be working because I’m a grafter. I’m getting lots of work and I’m going to be busy up until January next year, which is great.”
Indeed, Bailey is rounding out her current tour, taking a well-earned holiday and then heading into the studio to pen her own work. While she jokes that she’s not the sort to hop on a bus and get off a few stops later with a perfectly crafted song, she’s looking forward to working with inspirational people who’ll bring out the best in her.
“People know me as doing ballads, but there’s so many different things I want to do and it’s just a case of going into studios with different people and seeing what comes out of my gob,” she laughs.
“I’m not going to be one of those X Factor contestants that’s forgotten about.”