Rebecca Ferguson opens up about the inspiration behind new album ‘Superwoman’

She undoubtedly has one of the most distinctive voices in music, a timelessly soulful tone rich is jazz and along the similar bloodlines of Nina Simone. Now Rebecca Ferguson is back with her fourth studio album ‘Superwoman’. Following her break on the X Factor six years ago and the incredible success of her three pervious albums, ‘Heaven’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Lady Sings The Blues, Rebecca returns fuelled by the bitter sweetness of heartbreak and giving birth to a new baby. ‘Superwoman’ is a diary of contradicting emotions; Rebecca’s new music liberatingly exposes her vulnerability, and yet is filled with songs infused with strength and empowerment. We caught up with Rebecca to speak about her super album, that is dedicated to fearless mothers and fighters.

Brown's Hotel Towel / Jewellery - Swarovski
Brown’s Hotel Towel /
Jewellery – Swarovski


FAULT: So you’re back and with the new album ‘Superwoman’, what has it been like getting back to writing and recording new material?

Rebecca: It was good, I was really happy, as my last album was not one that I had written so when I finally got to come back and write this album I had so much to say. It was really easy and it was an emotional process but one that I really enjoyed doing.


Why the name ‘Superwoman’, and who would you dedicate this album to?

[It’s called] Superwoman because I wanted to highlight that, you know, sometimes you go through stuff and you do super woman things and actually we are all human beings and we get through it. I had quite a tough year, it must have been two years ago now and when I look back at how bad it was I think actually, you know, I’ve done all right, I’ve conquered. So it comes from that place really and as well as that I’ve dedicated it to my step mum who passed fighting cancer. So it’s just about strong women really and that sometimes you don’t always overcome things, but you fight. So it’s an album for fighters.


How would you say this album differs from Heaven and Freedom?

I think it’s a lot more personal; the other two were personal as well but this album is about a subject that I wouldn’t normally speak of, as there is a child involved. So there was a break up but it’s talking about something that is very personal and I’ve sort of opened myself up to the public and my listeners about a very private chapter in my life. I’ve done it deliberately because I wanted to tackle the taboo subject of women being left with children and being left to carry children. I wanted to really tackle it and make the taboo subject something people have to think about.

Did you do anything in particular to prepare and get into the headspace for creating this album, as it is obviously quite emotional?

I just literally went in, we would normally record from twelve to seven, or six. So every song on the album is exactly how I felt each day. For ‘Hold Me’ I was really venerable and just slouched in the corner and I just wrote it really quickly. It’s just really expressive and it’s kind of like a diary, this album. I just wrote what I felt and I wasn’t really overly thinking about my audience and wasn’t thinking ‘oh right, I’ve got to write a hit’, it was just like this is what I feel and I just poured it all out.

Shirt - Edeline Lee / Skirt - Holly Fulton / Jewellery - Swarovski
Shirt – Edeline Lee / Skirt – Holly Fulton / Jewellery – Swarovski


What would you say are the three most prevalent emotions that people will feel and relate to when listening to Superwoman?

You will feel… oh how can I put it. There will be moments when you feel strength, there will be moments when you reminisce and there will be moments of sadness. But strength I want to be the main one.


Can you choose a favourite song from the new album?

‘Hold Me’, ‘Mistress’ and ‘Pay For It’ are the ones I would go to listen to for pleasure, if you know what I mean. If it wasn’t me singing it and it was another artist I would go to them to listen to.


What is the message behind your new single ‘Bones’?

Well it was the vulnerability; if I’m being honest it’s again the journey. I’m not now in that place I was with Bones; I’m not in a relationship wanting a man to love me but I had to tell that story so the whole album is about how I was feeling. You know, why wasn’t he paying attention to me, it’s all about wanting them to love you and to treat you right but they don’t and it’s kind of me expressing how a lot of frustrated women and men feel like. You’re not taking no notice of me, you just have the telly on constantly or out with your mates and that’s the song that I think everyone can relate to in some way.


I thought the music video for ‘Bones’ was beautifully shot – was it fun to shoot?

It was so relaxing and nice, some shoots can be really stressful but it was actually quite a nice video to shoot. I think having the actors in it helped as well as they do a lot of the shots too.


What was it like working with Producer Troy Miller on Superwoman?

He is amazing. He is unbelievable and he is a real perfectionist as well. I believe really good things will happen for Troy, I really think he is going to go on, as he is so ambitious. He will do great things, as he is someone who is special in his style of production.

Slip Dress - Ghost / Jewellery - Swarovski
Slip Dress – Ghost / Jewellery – Swarovski


How have your three gorgeous children influenced you and the new album?

Well it was hard because I’m having to be quite honest about everything with the kids, so I think they have influenced me in lots of ways. Arabella is the main influence because it was all about her and it was the situation I found myself in with her and how having her changed my life and my confidence. I had a depressive break down when I was left with the baby, but when I finally got back on my feet I was a changed person and thought ‘No one is ever going to put me in that place again’. I’m never going to be that depressed again. You just go though things for a reason to make you stronger.


In the past you might have been shy with conveying your emotions, but how are you now able to embrace them within your music?

I mean we all have our moments, I had a big TV deal the other day and I was like ‘oh my god’, you know I’m still a human being but I think working with people in the Jazz world helped. They are so free on stage and helped me to just chill out. If you make a mistake on stage just wing it, that’s what they say because in jazz there are no mistakes. If someone sings a wrong word they all just laugh about it and carry on playing, which I love, and that’s what I think music is all about, just freedom to express. So working with jazz people really helped me to express those emotions.


How have you enjoyed turning 30 and moving to Paris? Have these milestones taught you anything?

Turning thirty… I milked it for three weeks! I just celebrated and celebrated, and celebrated again. My stepmum before she passed said to me, ‘Becky, go party, go holiday, just enjoy it’. So I listened to that and I just milked it. First I went to Paris and me and my best mate hired a nice suite right in front of the Eiffel Tower and we had drinks on the terrace, which was really lovely, and that was our Carrie Bradshaw moment. Then I threw myself a big party in Liverpool and invited all my old school mates, you know people I hadn’t seen since I was 15, so it was like a big school reunion and then we did more nights out and went to see another show in Paris. I think with age, I’m learning that people only celebrate the big birthdays but actually without sounding morbid it’s a good achievement and you should enjoy celebrating every one.


Superwoman as a body of work is super empowering, do you have any tips for women who want to feel empowered themselves?

My personal opinion from what I’ve found is don’t chase a man, a man that cares for you, you don’t have to chase. No matter how many times you chase them, you’re not going to capture them. If you’re having to chase them you will never hold them and that’s one thing that I learnt turning 30 is that you need to find love within yourself, because if you’re just looking for it outside you will never find peace.


I love the album art for Superwoman – how have you enjoyed evolving your look?

You know, I spoke about it and thought, ‘I’m a few albums in now and I really need to start doing me’. We fought for that shot as well, and I fought for the bunny ears as not everyone wanted them. I think it’s modern and it’s youthful and so I’m glad we went for it.

Dress - Peter Jensen / Slip - Ghost / Jewellery - Swarovski
Dress – Peter Jensen / Slip – Ghost / Jewellery – Swarovski


You obviously started out on the X Factor and since then have had fantastic success musically, but do you find yourself moving away from the X Factor stigma or do you think it is something that will always be threaded through you?

I’m very appreciative of X Factor and I’m really grateful. I don’t understand how people do it and then are like ‘don’t mention it,’ because I think you have got to accept where you’ve come from and it was the public’s vote that got you there as well. People actually paid money to put you where you are, so I’m very appreciative. At the same time I don’t like that there is such a stigma, you know I write all my own music and I help produce all my music too so I am a musician. I would like for people now to not stigmatize me I guess.


You’re starting your UK tour on the 23rd of October; do you have any tour traditions?

Only pre show; so, I have to have 15 minutes alone compulsively or I freak out. I know it’s a really odd thing but I have to have that time. In those minutes I will say a prayer and I will do a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and a lot of yodeling goes on. I just get myself in a good positive mindset really but if I don’t have it, it does throw me.


Do you get nervous preforming on stage and meeting fans?

I do on TV sometimes but it depends, I’m a bit more chilled now. But saying that, I did a gig at home in Liverpool and because all the experiences that I’m speaking about on the album happened there, I kind of had to go back and face my demons and face the place where a lot of the pain had happened. So that was a difficult one, as when I was singing I was getting really emotional and that made me a bit nervous, but once I settled in I was fine. It just brought it all back.


Who are your continuous musical inspirations?

Lauryn Hill, I think she is amazing, her ‘Miseducation’ album was unbelievable, I don’t know what’s happening with her but that album was amazing. Who else… Tracy Chapman, and I’m actually into Kanye West, I mean musically as a producer. I know he can be a bit controversial, but production-wise I think he is unbelievable.


Dress – Peter Jensen / Slip – Ghost / Jewellery – Swarovski


What has been your most ‘pinch me’ moment ever, either something you have achieved or someone you have sung with?

Well singing to Prince William, [or perhaps] Lionel Richie, singing with him was a bit nerve-racking but the most recent one was when Goldie Horn stage-bombed me and ran on stage and gave me a hug when I was singing the other day. I grew up watching all her old classics films, and she is just so lovely and she is so down-to-earth. I mean we hugged and then were singing and dancing together which was lovely, I wish someone filmed it though.


What are your future goals, both musically and personally?

Musically, I just hope to carry on making records and doing tours, speaking to fans and helping people. I’d like to do more charity work but at the minute because I’ve got a young baby who gets me up three times a night, I recognise that if I do a charity I’ve got to be 100% dedicated. So I’m waiting until she is a bit older as I don’t want to half-do it, I want to fully focus. So that’s a future goal and as well as that I’d love to maybe get married in the future. I wouldn’t say never to more kids I’d just have to be really settled and happy first.

Rebecca’s new album ‘Superwoman’ is out now.

Words Sarah Barnes

Photography Jack Alexander

Styling Edith Walker Millwood

Beauty Lisa Laudat using MAC and Beauty Works

Special Thanks Brown’s Hotel