Exclusive: Alexandra Burke Dishes On ‘Renegade’ EP, New Album, Leona Lewis, Ciara & More

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by Joe

Alexandra Burke is back. After a lengthy break from releasing music, the soulful singer has unleashed much-anticipated new EP ‘Renegade.’ The 26-year-old’s latest effort, which she bills as an artistic renaissance, sees her experiment with different textures and sounds and exudes confidence in earnest.

Recently, That Grape Juice caught up with the vocal wonder to talk everything ‘Renegade’ and more.

Join us after the jump where we quiz the songstress on the creation of the EP, her upcoming 3rd album and transitioning into the acting world. She also shares her thoughts on X Factor sister Leona Lewis and fellow stage-blazers Ciara and Tinashe.

Joe (That Grape Juice): ‘Renegade’ is your first body of work since your 2013 EP ‘New Rules’. Why is now the right time to come back?

Alexandra Burke: Well, since ‘New Rules’ a lot has been going on in terms of choosing a different path now with my career. I joined ‘The Bodyguard’ musical and, in that time as well, I had parted ways with a major label. So there were a lot of changes happening and I wanted to make sure that when I release another EP or an album it was the right time creatively for myself.

So when I got into ‘The Bodyguard’ last year at the Adelphi Theatre and finished that short stint, I literally put maybe a couple of days aside to gather myself together and to get my energy back and then I came up with the idea of this EP and called it ‘Renegade’.

I am quite a rebellious person at times and at that point when I thought of what I wanted to do with the EP I was thinking “Okay, I want to give my fans something special, I want to give them something that means so much to me” but I wanted it to say more about my personality and be way more truthful than ever and that’s why ‘Renegade’ came about. I just put a mood board together musically and visually, sat my team down and said “this is what I want to create”. I organised a photo shoot, a video shoot, I have been recording this EP since September last year and I made sure I have taken my time with this EP so that I can really express what I wanted to express. It is an independent release, it’s all self-funded, it’s literally me in the driving seat. It’s a 100% independent and me in control. So, yeah, I wouldn’t say it has been difficult, it has just been quite challenging. It has been a great experience and I am loving being a boss of my own choices!

A lot of fans are eager to know if you will be signed with a major label again after leaving RCA. Is that something you’d want to do before the launch of your next LP?

Well, I never say never. I mean for me if the right situation comes along then absolutely, I would absolutely sign to a label. But at the moment I am enjoying having that independence and having that control at this moment in time because creatively I am getting to do everything I want to do and more. You know a great example for me is how Beyoncé and Madonna paved the way for the concept of “Female Boss” and they are both inspirations to me in terms of this project that I am doing because they are female bosses themselves and with this project I report to no one. I had all the meetings, I set agendas, I set deadlines, I do everything and I am really enjoying that, it has not been easy but it is something that I am learning and I am trying to do build my own empire. So every single day I am learning something new and enjoying it. It’s a great experience so far.

Though we are sure ‘Renegade’ is your main focus at the moment, can we have insight on whether or not you’ve started work on the follow-up to ‘Heartbreak On Hold’?

Yes I have, yes. I have been recording this 3rd album since last year. It has been a long process with that as well. I am hoping it comes out sometime soon but I don’t want to put a date or time on it at all. I just want to get this EP done first out of the way as a free download for everyone. Let’s see how that goes first.

You were the big winner of The X Factor 2008 – a title that comes with both positive and negative tags attached to it.
Do you still like the idea of being associated with a talent show? Would you rejoin as a judge?

[As for being a judge] I am not sure. Again, never say never, but at the same time my full concentration is on my career and I am giving my time to what [my fans] want to hear. So if anything else comes up – you know like for example I have side tracked a little bit and now I am doing ‘The Bodyguard’ – but if something else was to come up we will see. I think I will go with the feeling there and then. I will go with what feels right and if it feels good to do it then I will absolutely do it.

A lot of people have compared last year’s runner-up Fleur East to you. How do you feel about such comparisons?

I think she is cool, I think she is really cool. I think we are totally different artists, if I am completely honest.

She is really cool and for me I am a believer in supporting British talent and supporting in particular female British talent. So for me all I can do is wish her the best and hope that she fulfills all the dreams that she wants.

You obviously do a lot of singing on ‘The Bodyguard’ but your role on the musical requires a lot of acting too. How was it getting out of your comfort zone and entering the acting world? Is it something you’d be interested in pursuing alongside music?

I will tell you it has been special, very special. I mean I’ve always loved acting, it’s something I have always wanted to do and I didn’t think that I would be doing it so soon. I would hope it takes me on to different adventures in my life and in my career but it’s not been as difficult as I thought it was to transition. Of course it’s nerve-racking, of course it’s a challenge, but I found the transition to be quite smooth and I guess it’s because I am such a huge fan of Whitney. So once I am done with ‘The Bodyguard’ I’d like to take on something even more challenging that’s well out of my comfort zone in terms of the acting world.

Which artists are on heavy rotation on Alexandra’s iPod?

Oh my gosh! You know what, right now it’s pretty much quite Old School. Well I listen to Silk, my man Jon B, and who else… I listen to a lot of Usher. In terms of females, I listen to a lot of Keke Wyatt, love her and British-wise I listen to a lot of Ella Eyre, I think she’s awesome, really cool! Those are my choices for now.

There are plenty a parallel that can be drawn between you Leona Lewis; from your ‘X Factor’ beginnings, to your success after the show.
What do you make of her leaving SYCO and embarking on a new journey with a different team behind her?

I completely support Leona and support any female who refuses to be censored. So I am just enjoying the fact that she loves what she is doing and it makes me proud because when any artist realises that it’s time to grow and move on, it’s a big step for them. So for her I think it’s great that she is coming out of her shell and doing her own thing.

If you could be part of a female super group, who would you rather form a collective with:

– Rihanna & Katy Perry, and be the Pop Divas with a lot of sex appeal and radio appeal?
– Beyonce & Nicki Minaj, and be the Urban Divas with a lot of sass and critical acclaim
– Ciara & Tinashe, and be the stage blazing divas who have the “turn up” music on lock and deliver choreography in earnest.

If I had to choose one… I would say Ciara and Tinashe. That’s what I would say, absolutely. Just because you know I think Tinashe for me is someone that’s quite fresh. I love what she is about and who she is and I have also have a major respect for Ciara. I think that she can have way more recognition over here, I just think she deserves way more recognition because I think she is a phenomenal talent and those two together would be a great mix. So I will pick them two.

What would you want to say to your ever-loyal fan base, the Beasties?

I would say massive, massive thank you for your support and staying with me throughout all the changes in my career and I really hope and pray that you guys enjoy the ‘Renegade’ EP because it’s something that’s very close to my heart and I am glad to share it with you all.


Alex’s ‘Renegade’ EP is available to stream and download for free. Check it out below…

Your thoughts?

Comments 6

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. lolhart May 7, 2015

    Glad she seems to be in a good place. Ain’t that Right and Hall of Fame on the EP are decent tunes. Still think it’s a shame she never got a US launch.

    • bunny May 7, 2015

      DID u really think the UK establishment would promote a black woman? They only promote mixed race and white people.

  2. bunny May 7, 2015

    The British public hate her; they always have and they always will. They hate confident black women in the country. If you are born in the UK and black and woman, u have to know your place and not try and rise up. She did not win factor – cherry did. They call her a man in a wig and she is BANNNED FROM ALL RADIO/

    SHE needs to let it go.

  3. bunny May 7, 2015

    Well, I never say never. I mean for me if the right situation comes along then absolutely, I would absolutely sign to a label. But at the moment I am enjoying having that independence and having that control at this moment in time because creatively I am getting to do everything I want to do and more. You know a great example for me is how Beyoncé and Madonna paved

    Madonna is white. Beyonce is African american and fair skin. Plus,they both LIVE AND WORK IN THE USA. How the hell can dark black woman IN THE UK, pull if what beyonce has achieved,. How many powerful and rich black women do u see in the UK? I looked on the UK sunday times rich list…….not a single black woman there.

  4. You wanna love it right bettor then my funky money May 7, 2015

    Good for her doing her things

  5. Jonathan Gardner May 8, 2015

    LOVE the EP. Her strongest work yet and such a big step up from the last one.

Recommended Posts