X Factor finalist and former warehouse worker Grace Davies tells MARION McMULLEN how her music dream is finally coming true
ED SHEERAN is a fan, she’s just signed a major record deal and Grace Davies is about to pack her bags to take part in the X Factor Live tour. The future is looking bright for the talented singer-songwriter who has been knocking at the doors of the music industry for several years.
“It’s all very busy, very exciting and a bit overwhelming,” the 20-year-old admits, “but I’ve been working towards this for about four or five years. I would sing for anyone that would have me when I was starting out and I brought out an EP by myself when I was 17 and put it up in iTunes.
“Even when I was in college I wanted to be a full-time musician and rock star.
“When they asked me about careers and I said I want to be a singer or a pop star they would just go ‘Yeah, and the rest of the world.’
“I could understand that, but I knew it was what I wanted to do.
“I had friends who went off to university while I was singing in bars, but now all this is happening and, on the plus side, I don’t have any student loans.”
The Blackburn lass headed off to the X
Factor auditions to further her music dreams and explains: “I wasn’t going anywhere. I had been doing the same thing day in and day out for five years and it wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to go.
“I needed a bigger platform and the X Factor gave me that.”
Grace made her mark from the very start when she left X Factor judges Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne in tears at boot camp with her emotional rendition of her own song Don’t Go, about getting her heart broken.
“That was mad,” exclaims Grace. “I don’t really know how that happened.
“I just wanted to tell my story interpreted in my own way.
“Nicole and Sharon hear so many different songs on X Factor and to start crying listening to my song... well, it meant a lot. It meant that it got through to them.”
Grace was pipped at the post in the final of the ITV contest by boy band Rak-Su, but she saw her song Too Young go to number two on iTunes and has signed a record deal with Simon Cowell’s record company Syco.
“I never expected to get through to the live final, I honestly didn’t,” she chuckles
“I was just doing my own thing. I was so nervous my first audition. It passed in a blur.”
Getting a vote of confidence from award-winning singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran though was certainly one of the highlights of the show for Grace.
“Ed was just amazing and so nice backstage.
“He told me ‘your songs are great’ and, when I got on my battle bus for X Factor, he was there waving at me as it started driving off into the night.
“This big bus with my face plastered all over it, and there was Ed Sheeran waving,” she remembers with a laugh.
“I think Ed is one of the best songwriters and I’ve really loved his work for a long time.
“For him to say ‘your songs are really good’ was a massive confidence boost.
“In fact, I think this whole process has made me more confident about what I have and what I want.
“I Just thought ‘Alright, maybe I’m doing a good thing.’ Now there is this record deal, but I’m not standing in a room going ‘Phew, look at me, I’ve got a record deal.’
“I know it’s just a start. I’ve got to work harder than ever before.
“I was hoping for a record deal, but I didn’t expect it at all.
It’s amazing and a real chance to prove myself.
“I’ll just be writing music all year round. I’d like to get my music out there as quickly as possible – I’ve got a lot of tunes.”
Grace is also looking forward to moving into her own place in London.
“It’s my 21st birthday present to myself,” she says happily.
“I’ve lived down south in Hertfordshire for about a year, but that was flat sharing.
“I’m now moving into my first London flat, my own space, so I can write songs and stuff like that. I feel very grown up having my own place.”
Grace will have little time to make herself at home as she will be heading off on the X Factor Live tour. She will be playing arenas around the country along with Rak-Su, Sean and Conor Price, Kevin Davy White, Lloyd Macey, The Cutkelvins and Matt Linnen.
“I’m just going to enjoy it,” smiles Grace. “It’s going to be great to sing in front of big audiences and not have to worry about being voted off or sent home.
“Will I be travelling light for the tour? Well, I went into the X Factor house with three big suitcases. I bring my entire life with me. I’m not a light packer.”
■ The X Factor Live tour begins on February 16 including dates in Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. See gigs andtours.com or ticket master.co.uk for ticket details.
Grace Davies, left, has landed a record deal after her X Factor exploits
Big fan: Ed Sheeran