Singer Rebecca Ferguson and her daughter Lillie May Dures are full of festive cheer as they look forward to a happy family Christmas and exciting new chapters in their lives.
Joining HELLO! for this exclusive interview and photoshoot, The X Factor star tells us of her joy at becoming a new mum again, and reveals she has mixed feelings about Lillie, 19, following in her musical footsteps.
“I wasn’t thrilled when Lillie said she wanted to be in music,” she admits. “But she has the most beautiful voice and I’ve learned that there is a way to operate in music independently, with good people around you. She’s also got me to protect her, and I will never allow her to come to any harm. You can't stop someone's dream; they've got to go on their own path and their own journey. All you can do is look after your kids, encourage them and keep them as safe as possible.”
Rebecca, whose new album Heaven Part 11 is released on 5 December, has been outspoken about some of her experiences in the music industry, saying she had little control over her own life, was told who she could date and was not shown enough care when she was struggling. Recently, she has been in talks with MPs about what she regards as exploitation of young women in the industry, as well as about raising standards for the duty of care towards contestants on reality shows.
Rebecca, 37, was still a teenager herself when Lillie was born and she can hardly believe that her daughter is now older than she was when she became a mother.
“I do look at Lillie and I think God, she’s a baby to me,” she says. “Looking back, I don’t know how I did it but I’m really proud of my kids and grateful for them and I’m proud of myself for raising them. Lillie and I are really close and I adore her. She’s the most beautiful person and her beauty shines from within. I feel very blessed to have her as a daughter.”
Already mum to Karl, 17, and Arabella, nine, Rebecca and her sports agent husband Jonny Hughes became parents to a baby boy nine months ago.
“I'm spinning a million plates, juggling a baby and album, but as a family we have such a nice cosy life. My family and our home means everything to me,” she says. “Being a new mum is different this time around. I'm a lot older, I've got a career now and things aren't as tough - but I’m also 100 percent more tired.”
Heaven Part 11 is released on the 12th anniversary of Rebecca’s debut album, Heaven, and has finally given her the autonomy and artistic freedom she has craved.
“I own all the songs, which is new for me,” she says. “When I released Heaven, I was very innocent, at the beginning of my career and hadn’t quite figured it all out. Britney Spears has opened the public’s eyes to what goes on behind the scenes in the music industry, but her story isn’t uncommon at all. I’ve had therapy, which was massively helpful, and the campaign was also healing because I channelled negative energy into something positive. I’m glad that I’m now in full control of my career.”
Lillie, who has a diploma in music production and has sung backing vocals for her mum, says: “I’ve always had a passion for music and seeing my mum on The X Factor doing what she loved inspired me to do the same. Like my mum, I have quite a distinctive soul jazz voice but I also enjoy singing R&B and pop. When I was younger, we used to sing together to Disney movies in front of the telly, and we still sing together for fun, but it would be nice to collaborate with her.
“We have a great relationship and I feel like I can talk to her about anything. She’s always supported me without being pushy and she has taught me to be resilient and not to let people step all over me. She lets me get on with my work while she’s the cheerleader in the background, cheering me on.”
Rebecca Ferguson’s new album Heaven Part 11 is on sale and available to stream from 5 December, including signed copies on Amazon.com
For the full interview and more exclusive photos see this week’s Hello! Magazine.