‘I love Lowestoft’ - X Factor Winner Sam Bailey talks success, family life and holidays in East Anglia
- Credit: Archant
Grieving the sudden loss of her father-in-law part-way through her UK tour, X Factor winner Sam Bailey tells entertainment writer Wayne Savage about the important of family teamwork.
Rocked by the sudden death of her father-in-law two days earlier, things are tough for Sam and her family right now.
Part-way through her Sing My Heart Out tour, she and husband Craig are dealing with it like they do everything else – as a team.
'He was found dead in his car after work. We think he had a heart attack. We're just waiting on the post-mortem so, yeah, it's all a bit crap. My husband's in absolute bits and at this precise moment is trying to organise a Triumph motorbike club to ride in front of his coffin.'
The series 10 X Factor winner is doing what she can from the road. They accept being separated for bouts of time comes with their new life whatever's thrown at them.
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'There's only so much leg rubbing you can do... We're a team and we don't tend to argue about whose turn it is [to do what], we just do it. We'll do the school run together, every day like clockwork – he'll iron the clothes, I do the packed lunches, he takes them to school, comes back, has breakfast. My husband took our daughter, whose 12, to football training last night and I'm pretty sure very soon we're going to be her taxi service.'
The former prison guard confesses to spoiling her three children – Brooke, Tommy and Miley – just as much as she did before finding fame. But if you want nice things and holidays, you've got to earn it and that means everybody.
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'We're all aware of why I have to go to work. Although I'm the one going out and performing, everyone has to earn it by accepting our lifestyle and dealing with what mummy does for a living... It's a real family effort. My youngest is two-and-a half and I'll say to her 'mummy's going singing'. We'll go on YouTube and she flicks through all the performances I did on the X Factor and she'll go 'mummy singing, mummy go work'. She's desperate to come with me, she's like 'mummy can I go work, I want go singing'. She understands.'
Sam surprised a few people by announcing she was pregnant a couple of months after winning the hit ITV show. One of three children herself, she remembers discussing having another with Craig way before the X Factor; especially as she lost her son's twin while pregnant.
'He was like 'we can't, we haven't got the room' and I was like 'we can put bunk beds in that room'... I went with the idea that was it but I always had it in the back of my mind... It wasn't a planned thing, Miley was an absolute surprise if I'm honest.
'Obviously I'm in a better position so when I found out I was pregnant I thought I don't really care what anyone thinks. Women get pregnant all the time and have a right to have a child so for me it wasn't an issue.
'If the record company had turned round to me and said 'we're not going to do anything with you because'... I reckon there was things I couldn't do because I was pregnant, they didn't send me into other countries; that didn't bother me. They [the X Factor team] were really supportive and the press loved it.'
The tour, which sees her sharing stories and anecdotes, is named after her second album which she's released through her own label.
'I funded it myself and all the songs are written by myself and good friend and record producer Ben Adams, who's from the pop group A1. I did this all myself and the album managed to get to 21 in the UK charts. I'm really proud of that.'
The X Factor is a notoriously large machine. She must enjoy being free of all that?
'I have [more freedom] but X Factor were great; never bite the hand that feeds you. That show gave me something very, very special and I'll always be grateful for that. Simon was great when I had my record deal, really supportive; my album went to number one. I don't think they anticipated me selling as many albums because the supermarkets ran out of stock and I was told if they had been in I would've been number one for a second, which I will take to my grave. I'm quite happy with that.
'It changes people's lives, no one can take that away. When you win a show like that you get given this precious thing in your hands and it's how you mould it to you.'
Sam's quite happy where she sits in the market and loves what she does.
'Yes, I get recognised and people ask for pictures but I like I can dip in and out of the world of celebrity whenever I want. I can still go shopping with my kids, walk down the street with my dog and have some fun somewhere, but at the same time I do get stopped by a hell of a lot of people who just want to come up and go 'I loved you on the show and voted for you'. It's just really nice.'
Sam has great memories of her two seasons as a bluecoat at Pontins in Pakefield when she was 20. Some of the guests she used to take on rambles might not remember her for good reason. 'We walked down that little lane by the side of the little McDonald's and down to the beach. Then we'd go into the pub and by the time we got back everyone was absolutely paralytic,' she laughs. 'Some of the best years of my life were doing that job. I loved Lowestoft, I used to go into town all the time. I'd buy a pair of trainers every week,' she laughs. 'My old boss, the wonderful Graham Henry, I owe a lot to him. He gave me a chance, that's where my career started, that was my first professional job as an entertainer. 'He helped charge my career because he knew I could sing and kept giving me the opportunity to go and do my own little shows on the main stage. It was incredible. I was so grateful.' She used to visit Hopton Holiday Village as a kid and still has family in the area including an aunt in Corton. Her late nan, who died while Sam fought her way through the X Factor's bootcamp rounds, lived there too. 'My family are big supporters of mine, they come to a lot of my shows and it'll be really nice to see 'em all,' adds Sam, who had to pull out of her Warners' gig at Gunton Hall when she heard her father-in-law had died.
• Sam visits Lowestoft's Marina Theatre on Sunday, May 14 and Southend's Cliffs Pavilion May 20.