In an exclusive new interview and photoshoot in HELLO!, Strictly’s Alexandra Burke tells how she has felt her late mother in the audience willing her to do well – and of her yearning to sing again. “I think mum is watching over me,” Alexandra reveals and tells how she visualised her mum in the Strictly audience: “When the camera panned to the audience, I saw my mum sitting with my brother and I choked up. Then it hit me that she wasn’t there.”
“I’m feeling all kinds of weird feelings. One minute I’m really happy and then I’ll see a picture or smell something that reminds me of her and it takes me all the way back,” she says of her late mother, Melissa Bell, a former lead vocalist in Grammy award-winning band Soul II Soul, who died in August.
Alexandra and her mum Melissa in 2012
The 29-year-old singer and stage star is determined to do well with her professional partner Gorka Márquez. “My mum raised me to be the best me I can be and keep strong. She’s my motivation to get out of bed and to go to the dance studios to rehearse for ten hours. “You never know how long you will last, so to still be a part of it is a dream, an absolute dream. It would mean everything to me to get to the end.”
Alexandra with professional dance partner Gorka on Strictly
Alexandra also tells HELLO! how she has the support of her stage manager boyfriend of 18 months Josh Ginnelly who has become good friends with Gorka. “He totally gets it,” she says when asked about how he feels about the hours she spends in the arms of another man. “Josh understands what my career is about. He wants to be involved. In the green room, it’s Josh and Gorka in the corner talking.”
Alexandra and her boyfriend Josh Photo credit: Instagram / Alexandra Burke
She also reveals her plans to return to the recording studio to record the album she has repeatedly put on the back burner because of other commitments. “I want to get back into the studio. I’m yearning to sing,” she tells HELLO!. “I was 20 when I won The X Factor. I’m not singing about bad boys any more, I’m singing about being heartbroken. That, for me, is real.”
To read more of the interview, pick up the latest issue of Hello! magazine.