Alexandra Imelda Cecelia Ewen Burke (born 25 August 1988) is an English singer and songwriter. Burke was exposed to music from an early age, with her mother, Melissa Bell, being the lead singer of Soul II Soul. Burke rose to fame after winning the fifth series of British television series The X Factor in 2008, becoming the first of two winners to be mentored by Cheryl Cole and also, the second of two people in the girls category to win the series, the first being Leona Lewis in 2006.
Burke currently stands as one of the most successful winners of The X Factor. She was previously signed to three record labels: Epic Records, RCA Records and Syco Music, until she departed in June 2013 due to creative differences. Burke's net worth is $8,000,000, making her the second highest-earning X Factor winner, behind Leona Lewis.
After winning The X Factor, Burke released the winner's single "Hallelujah", which became the European record holder for single sales over a period of 24 hours, selling 105,000 in one day until it was overtaken by her X Factor mentor Cheryl Cole with her debut solo single "Fight for This Love". The song also became the top-selling single of 2008 in the UK and the UK's Christmas 2008 number one. By January 2009, the single had sold over 1 million copies in the UK alone, a first for a British female soloist. In 2009, Burke released her debut album, Overcome, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spawned four number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart--"Hallelujah", "Bad Boys", selling over 780,000 copies in the UK and becoming a Platinum selling single, "All Night Long" and "Start Without You"--and the album became one of the most successful albums of that year in the UK, the singles released from the album earned her three BRIT Award nominations. The album also saw the release of UK top 10 hit, "Broken Heels" and "The Silence". In late 2010, Burke released a deluxe version of Overcome. Overcome and the six singles released from the album have sold over four million record in the UK alone. "Elephant" was released as Burke's comeback single in February 2012, which became a hit single, with a peak position of number three in the UK. "Let It Go" served as the second single and Burke's second album, Heartbreak on Hold, was released in June 2012.
Burke is heavily involved with charities and is a known supporter for No Child Born to Die, Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion and has been involved in two number-one charity singles on the UK and Irish Singles Charts, this includes "Hero" (2008) with her fellow X Factor Finalists and then again as part of a celebrity super group, Helping Haiti and released "Everybody Hurts" (2010), Burke thought that she was not doing enough for the Haitian people and travelled to Haiti to give them clothes and food. She has endorsed brands including, Sure Women, Nintendo DS and signed a major six-figure contract to endorse Dolce & Gabbana and in 2010, Burke also signed a contract with IMG Models as a Model. In early 2011, Burke began her solo tour, All Night Long Tour and she was also invited to perform on Beyoncé's I Am... Tour. Burke was the first and only X Factor contestant to have a judging role, when she became a guest judge on BBC's So You Think You Can Dance UK. She later became the first contestant of The X Factor to return to the show as a judge, when she joined the show as a guest judge during the live shows of the eighth series.
In June 2014, Burke replaced Beverley Knight in the lead role of Rachel Marron in the West End musical The Bodyguard, until its closure on August 29, 2014. On 17 October 2014 it was announced Alexandra will again star as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard musical, in the UK nationwide tour starting 12 February 2015 in Southampton, through to 2016 concluding in Manchester
Life and career:
Early life and career beginnings:
Burke was born in Islington, London, England on 25 August 1988, and is the daughter of Melissa Bell. Her mother was a soul and R&B singer, and was a member of band Soul II Soul, who enjoyed success with several number-one singles and albums. She is of African, Dougla, Jamaican, and Irish descent. Although her mother was in a band, she was under investigation of suspicion benefit fraud. Her mother said that she has not done a professional gig for years, and has never claimed benefits when she did. Burke has three other siblings, Sheneice, David, and Aaron. Burke attracted the names Cecelia Ewen as they are also her mothers middle names, her sister, Sheneice also shares these names. Burke said that she had to grow up very fast, at a very young age as her mother was always touring with her band and that she had to look after her young brother, which included taking him and picking him up from school. Burke's parents broke up in 1992, while she was still young, but the pair remain close friends for their children.
Burke began dance classes at a very early age, and began singing when she was as young as five years old. She went onto to sing on stage at the Bahrain when she was only nine years old, where she sang with her mother, who was still in band Soul II Soul. When she was aged twelve, Burke entered the television talent show, Star for a Night she became the youngest person in the competition. Throughout the competition, she was the runner-up after she was beaten for the winners title by Joss Stone. Still at the age of twelve, her mother put her in contact with Stevie Wonder who rang Burke and she sang down the phone to him. Her mother, Bell, also asked her to sing to Jean Carne who was said to be very impressed by Burke's vocals that she asked her to perform with her at one of her shows the next night. Burke attended Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington, Angel where she worked for her GCSEs, once she achieved her GCSEs Burke left school to pursue a career in the music industry. Before Burke was successful on The X Factor she had been working as a singer, gigging at weekends in popular night clubs. She also went on tour with "Young Voices", a charity that raises money for children with leukemia, where she performed at large venues such as the Royal Albert Hall.
2005-09:The X Factor era:
Burke auditioned for the second series of The X Factor in 2005 (which was eventually won by Shayne Ward). She made it through to the final seven in Louis Walsh's 16-24 category, effectively the top 21 of the competition; however, Walsh did not choose her for his final four as he felt that she was too young for the competition. Burke however did not give up and went on to seek professional singing lessons over the next three years, proving her dedication and commitment to becoming a popstar. Burke's second bid to win The X Factor came in 2008. Falling into the "Girls" category, she was mentored by Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole who selected her for the finals--a series of ten weekly live shows in which contestants are progressively eliminated by public vote. On the first live show, Burke performed Whitney Houston's classic "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". For the second live show she covered "I'll Be There" by The Jackson 5. In week three, big band week, Burke performed Christina Aguilera's "Candyman" and received her first standing ovation. For the disco-themed fourth live show, Burke performed Donna Summer's "On the Radio". During Mariah Carey week on 8 November, Burke and the other finalists met Carey for individual masterclasses, with Carey complimenting Burke on her voice. Burke performed "Without You" and received a standing ovation from the judges who all gave her positive comments. Cowell commented that "by any standard, that was just outstanding". Following the show Burke's performance was also praised by Carey who called her rendition of the song "absolutely amazing". In weeks 6 and 7, Burke received positive comments from the judging panel for her performances of "You are so Beautiful" and Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire" (the popularity of which in the UK is mostly a result of Take That's 1993 revival thereof). Week 8 saw her replace Diana Vickers as the bookies' favourite after performing Britney Spears' "Toxic" and Beyoncé' "Listen", for which she received yet another standing ovation. In week 9, Burke performed Rihanna's hit song "Don't Stop the Music" and again received positive comments, with Louis calling her "the British Beyoncé" and Simon commenting "...We may be seeing the birth of a star here ... you've got it all, that was a terrific performance".
Burke was joined in the grand final by Irish teenager Eoghan Quigg and boyband JLS. The three finalists were required to sing three songs - a Christmas song, a duet with an established music artist, and the song from their favourite performance of the series. Her Christmas song was an adaptation of "Silent Night". She then sang "Listen" as a duet with Beyoncé (who later performed her UK number-one single "If I Were a Boy"), and after performing with the American singer she proclaimed: "I have achieved a dream". Her final song before the first-round voting result was "You Are So Beautiful". After the elimination of Quigg she sang what was to become her debut single, a 1984 song by Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, for the first time. Finally, with over eight million votes cast in total, Burke was revealed as the winner with 58% of the final vote. She performed the single again being joined by the other X Factor contestants, and at parts she was too moved to sing. The single went on to become the Christmas number one of 2008, holding the top spot for three weeks and selling one million copies. There was also a campaign to take Jeff Buckley's cover of Hallelujah to the top of the Christmas chart to deny Burke the top spot. The campaign was fuelled by Jeff Buckley fans' dislike of The X Factor's commercialism and the song's arrangement, as well as a desire by this contingent to introduce younger music fans to Buckley's version. Burke herself was not enamoured of the choice of song, and dismissed the original by remarking "It just didn't do anything for me". As winner, Burke received a recording contract with record label, Syco, which is co-owned by Sony Music Entertainment. The contract had a stated value of £1 million, of which £150,000 was a cash advance and the remainder allocated to recording and marketing costs.
2009-10: Overcome, international breakthrough and All Night Long tour:
On 13 February 2009 it was reported that Burke signed a £3.5 million, five-album US record deal with Epic Records. Burke's first album was originally scheduled for March 2009, however, Simon Cowell confirmed that her album was scheduled for release later in the year to allow Burke to polish her skills and find the right songs for the album, so that it would not be rushed. The album was released on 19 October 2009 in the UK, titled Overcome. Burke's first commercial single from her debut album is titled "Bad Boys", which features Flo Rida. The single premiered in the UK on The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1 on 25 August 2009. On 18 October 2009, Bad Boys topped the UK Singles Chart. After visiting Burke in the studio, Beyoncé spoke of possibly recording a duet with her and also asked for Burke to join her for Beyoncé's second European leg of her I Am... Tour.Bad Boys was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry on 7 January 2010. The single went onto be a big successful single in international territory.
A lot of people were comparing and still do compare Burke to the boy band JLS who finished second behind her in The X Factor. Statistically, Burke is more successful than they are, but JLS are more popular with younger generation girls whilst Burke's fan base ranges from young to old. American rapper 50 Cent has expressed an interest in Burke, correctly predicting that she would win The X Factor and invited her to appear in an upcoming music video of his, most likely for a song from his upcoming album Before I Self Destruct. On 19 July 2009, Burke confirmed that she had signed a six figure contract with Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana, to become the face of a new fashion line. She will also model their clothes and accessories in her music videos. Burke performed on the Royal Variety Show on 7 December 2009.
It was confirmed by Burke on 17 November 2009, that "Broken Heels" would be the second commercial single, (third overall), from Overcome. She also confirmed via her Official Twitter page that the video was shot in Los Angeles on 22 and 23 November 2009. On 18 January 2010, Burke began her European Promo Tour in Brussels, Belgium. On 12 March 2010, Burke confirmed on Twitter that "All Night Long" will be her new single, featuring Pitbull. She appeared on Dancing on Ice during the semi-final to perform All Night Long. On 29 April 2010, Burke entered FHM's poll for the world's top 100 sexiest women 2010 at number 75. This is her first appearance on the poll since she rose to fame in 2008. It has been since confirmed that Burke's next single will be a completely new song, "Start Without You", which is set to be released on 5 September 2010. The video for "Start Without You" debuted on 19 August through VEVO on later premiered on The BOX. The song was performed at T4 On The Beach on 4 July 2010, and later released internationally.
Additionally, Burke was announced as the first ever brand ambassador for Sure Women, for which she starred in a television advert. Burke gained her fifth consecutive top ten hit, and her third number one single, after "Start Without You" stormed to the top of the charts, beating Katy Perry to the top spot. The re-packaged edition of Overcome is to be released of 29 November 2010.Music Week reports that the deluxe makeover includes three brand new tracks; "Perfect", "Before the Rain" and "What Happens On the Dancefloor" featuring Cobra Starship; as well as three number one and two Top 10 singles (including "Start Without You"). A DVD accompanies the release featuring seven videos, including an exclusive promo for the track "The Silence". The magazine also confirmed that Burke will promote the record with a performance on The X Factor. A new track on the album was said to be a duet with "an amazing group", the group was later announced as Cobra Starship. On 25 October, Burke announced via her Twitter that a new version of "The Silence" will be the album's fifth commercial single being released in early December. The official music video for "The Silence" was released on 27 October 2010, via MSN Videos UK. It was confirmed that there would be no further singles from the album after "The Silence".
2010-12: New record deal and Heartbreak on Hold:
"It's got to be sexy. So I'm going to get a lot fiercer and sexier. We're just getting down and dirty with the next album. I'm going to take a lot more risks and it's going to be insane." She also hinted at any collaborations on the LP, "I can't say too much because my management will kill me if I let loose. But I have a special duet planned. I have the ideas, the collaborations in my mind - it's all locked up in my head."
Burke stated that her next album would get "down, raunchy and dirty", promising the record would take risks. Burke took a break from recording so that she could embark on her first headline concert tour, the All Night Long Tour and said she would continue recording two days after the tour ends. She worked with RedOne for a lot of the album, but also reunited with Bruno Mars, StarGate, Rico Love, Autumn Rowe and Ne-Yo, among others. Burke stated that she had recorded a duet, with an "amazing" artist. She said, she was working in the studio with songwriter, Autumn Rowe, and met him through Rowe and the duet just sort of "happened". Burke featured on Swizz Beatz new album, Haute Living on track "Show Off". In June it was reported that Burke had signed a record deal with RCA Records and the album will be jointly handled by the Syco and RCA Records. The album will be released in the United States after she signed a £3 million record deal with Epic Records. It was thought that Burke's album would be released just under RCA; however, she said that the album would be jointly handled by RCA and SyCo. Burke said that she went to "writing camp" while she was in Los Angeles. She said that it is when lots of songwriters and music producers flew in to work with her. She also said that she wrote two or three songs a day for a couple of weeks. After writing camp, "the elephant in the room" was one of the phrases which she came up with, which a lot of Americans say, she explained: "It's about not discussing something you know needs to be discussed whether it's in a relationship or with friends or family," she said of the song. Burke got the idea of using the saying from when she was in writing camp with a lot of Americans.
Since April 2011, Burke has supported T4's Battlefront show, helping young campaigners Hope and Abby raise awareness about the organ donor register for their Sign Up, Speak Up, Save Lives project. In October 2011, Burke joined Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos on the judging panel as a guest judge during the fourth week of the live shows of series 8 when Kelly Rowland had a throat infection. Burke's lead single from the album titled "Elephant", which is produced by Erick Morillo, was released on 11 March 2012. It debuted and peaked at number-three on the UK Singles Chart. The second single from the album, "Let it Go", premièred on Kiss Radio on 13 April 2012. She announced in mid-April 2012 that her second studio album's title would be Heartbreak on Hold which was released on 4 June 2012. On 18 April 2012, she was confirmed for T4 On The Beach 2012. In February 2012, it was reported that Burke had left the Syco label to join RCA Records. In June 2012, Burke parted company with her management company.
2012-present: Third studio album, U.S. launch and other projects:
In September 2012, it was revealed that Burke would take part in Les Misérables for Children in Need. Burke later announced that she was working on an album for a US release. Again in October 2012, Burke revealed that she was working on a follow-up album to Heartbreak on Hold, which would be released in 2013. In November 3, she performed "All The Lights" at MAMA Awards with Zico, leader of the k-pop group Block B, as part of a special stage from H-Artistry in Malaysia . Burke said she wanted to go back to her original sound which was featured on her debut album, Overcome. She told fans to expect "R&B bangers" on her third album. She revealed that she will make fans "proud".Simon Cowell asked Burke to record a version of "Live and Let Die" in order to use throughout the live shows of The X Factor USA, when the judges are announced and walk out. In December 2012, Burke released her first holiday extended play, Christmas Gift, which consisted a cover of "Silent Night" and a new track titled "Christmas Time".
On 10 February 2013, it was revealed that Burke was recording two new songs a night for her third album and aimed to have around 60 in total to choose from. She also revealed that she was recording the album in the United States and at her home studio; "I've actually built a studio in my house, downstairs, I'm literally in it every day, recording, I'm flying to the states a lot, I've been in Los Angeles and New York a lot, and if the producers cant' fly to me I fly to them." On 13 February, she explained that her third album would focus on live instruments and would channel Soul music. On the same day, she revealed that she was taking acting classes and had hopes to purse a career in films, musicals, theater. On 25 March 2013, it was announced that Burke would perform a concert version of Lady Sings the Blues at the Royal Albert Hall between 4 and 8 June in the venue's Elgar Room but the shows were postponed. The concerts sold out in under a week. In May 2013, it was reported that Burke signed a deal with a US management company after impressing former Def Jam president Kevin Liles during a meeting with him in New York. In June 2013, Burke parted ways with her record label, RCA, over "differing views" between herself and the label regarding her third studio album.
Burke made her U.S. performance debut at Apollo Theater on 10 June 2013 as part of the line-up for The Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame 2013, honouring the induction of Chaka Khan. Burke shared the stage with other artists including Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, and Jennifer Holliday. On 30 August, Burke released her second EP, #NewRules. The EP contains 6 tracks, including a cover of Coldplay's "Fix You". On 20 November, Burke revealed that the lead single from her upcoming third record had been decided and a video was to be shot in the coming weeks. She previewed two new songs on her Facebook page on Christmas.
On 5 January 2015, Burke announced that she would be releasing an EP in March called Renegade. She said "This EP is extremely close to my heart. It marks what is set to be a new chapter for me both personally and artistically. I have worked extremely hard on this, there has been laughter, tears and sweat. Renegade touches upon themes and experiences that I have never spoken out about before. Since the last album, a lot has changed in my life, but most importantly I have changed. I'm in a great place, healthier and stronger than ever. I feel as an artist its important for one's music to grow with them. I'm now twenty-six and having taken time out of the musical ring, I now have the gloves firmly back on."
Music and voice:
Burke's music is contemporary R&B, however her music has a feature of soul and pop in her some of her songs. Burke's vocal range has been compared to Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston and Beyoncé.
Since winning The X Factor and signing a record deal with Syco Music and recording her debut album Overcome, Burke has been heavily involved in what type of music she records and releases. She said about being involved with the album's music: "I said to my manager I want my music to be fun, to be uplifting and to be bold. I want it to reflect my personality. I want it to be in your face, I want it to be a beast. I want it to be energetic and fun. When I record the ballads I want to cry. And if I go through a roller coaster recording this album then I want the listener to go through a roller coaster when they hear it." During her first studio album, the genre ranged from heavy R&B songs to dance-pop tracks, after she collaborated with dance production team RedOne, as well as working with Stargate and Ne-Yo. Burke labelled her first album as "very Americanised".
"The Silence", Burke's sixth single from Overcome was a strong R&B ballad, and the song was inspired by her aunt's relationship with her boyfriend. She said: "My auntie was going through that situation and she came over to Los Angeles to spend some time with me and get away from her fella etc. And she was telling me about her situation and ... why does he let the silence do the talking? Why doesn't he let you know how he feels? And then this song came about". Burke said that her first album's music was pop and R&B and she decided to do this type of music because "everyone expected her to do the opposite." She said that her voice will give the tracks soul, but the music is pop and R&B. Although Burke did not have any writing credits on her first album, during the production of her second studio album, Heartbreak on Hold she went to writing camp with many Americans. Burke has received co-writing credits on a number of songs on her second album. She said that she was going to get "down and dirty", "sexier", and a lot "fiercer". Burke also announced she wanted to take more risks on the second LP and that she was going to go "insane" on Heartbreak on Hold. On her second album, Burke's album features electropop, R&B and electro house. She is the executive producer on her second album and she said what "she says, goes" but she will still take advice from her management.
Whitney Houston (left) and Beyoncé (right) are two of Burke's biggest influences in music.
Burke's known influences in music include Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Kelly Rowland, and Whitney Houston. Burke has also listed Alicia Keys, John Legend and Mary J. Blige as an inspiration in music. Burke performed with Beyoncé during The X Factor (UK) 2008 final. When Burke welcomed Beyoncé to the stage she said "I cannot believe I am about to introduce this person, my hero, Beyoncé." Beyoncé later described Burke as a "superstar" and Burke has a "beautiful voice" as well as being a "beautiful young lady" and that Beyoncé was proud to sing with Burke. Burke later said that performing with Beyoncé made her "dreams come true". Beyoncé later announced her tour, I Am... Tour and that she hoped to see Burke again. Beyoncé later invited Burke to perform on her tour in May 2009, and she did.Simon Cowell dubbed the duet as "one of the most memorable moments in the history of The X Factor. Burke later said that she took influence and inspiration on her debut tour, All Night Long Tour from Beyoncé and Jackson. Beyoncé and Burke remain close friends and after Beyoncé visited Burke in the studio, she spoke of possibly recording a duet with her. In February 2011, Burke said that she took inspiration and influence from Robin S., Donna Summer and her mother's band, Soul II Soul on her second LP. American rapper, 50 Cent is a known supporter and fan of Burke's predicting that she would win The X Factor, he also asked her to feature a cameo in one of his upcoming music videos, as well as perform on a track from his Before I Self Destruct.Swizz Beatz is a known fan of Burke's music, he invited Burke to perform on a track from his second studio album, Haute Living which the pair collaborated on track, "Show Off".
"Basically I've been into designing and fashion since before The X Factor and I put the word out there to my manager that I wanted to do my own fashion range one day. JLS wanted to do the same! Now we both own this company called 2KX - I've done the women's range and they've done the men's. It's out next year, it's a lot of fun and I'm happy that I'm doing it with them. It all came together quite quickly in the end but we've been planning it for nine months."
In 2010, it was said that Burke and JLS who came second to Burke during The X Factor were in talks to release a clothing line together. JLS and Burke said that they have wanted to release a clothing line since before they were famous. The pair have been getting together and using ideas and inspiration which they have collected together over the years. It was later revealed that the company would be called 2KX and the company would sell a range of men and women's clothing which could be worn casually during the day or for a dressed up night out. With the clothing range being sold exclusively at branches of USC around the United Kingdom and Ireland.2KX was released in Spring 2011 during a heat wave in the United Kingdom which raised sales of the company. In order to promote the company, both artists began wearing the clothing at gigs performances, music videos as well as Facebook page opening for the company, an official website launch and YouTube adds. JLS wore the clothes in their music video for "Love You More". Burke later signed a contract with IMG Models as a Model. Burke and JLS later completed a photoshoot wearing the clothing to promote the clothing range. In one of the images, the pair show their figures while they pose in their range of underwear. Another image shows the pair in clothing ranges which will be included in the Spring Collection. The company will accommodate for men and women, with JLS designing for the men and Burke designing for the women. The company will reflect their personal styles and their love for fashion. In January 2011, an interview with Burke she said; "We are eagerly waiting for the first stocks of the ultra-hyped men's and women's underwear range, due very soon." It was revealed that the Underwear Collection would launch in March 2011, and their Clothing Collection would be released in April 2011. The underwear which went on sale in March 2011, price ranged between £15 - £19 Burke said that they wanted to give the range a "reasonable price" which people would be able to afford. The dresses which Burke created were praised saying that she has marked her stylish fashion on the fashion range. Burke and JLS decided to release a t-shirt from the company, almost five month before the company was due to launch, however they were releasing the t-shirt for Charity in aid of Capital FM's Help a Capital Child The business' target aims was to raise £10,000 for charity by 1 January 2011. The t-shirts price were £15 with £1.50 from each sold t-shirt would go to the charity. The company did reach their target aims. The title of the company, 2KX came about as the name stands for "2010" which was when the company was founded by Burke and JLS, and when the label was officially launched. 2K is the abbreviation for the year "2000" and "X" is the Roman numeral for 10. The company is based London, United Kingdom.
Burke first appeared on reality television when she took part in Star for a Night; she became the youngest person who was competing within the competition. Burke became the runner-up of the show and was beaten to the winner's title by Joss Stone. She later went on to audition for the second series of The X Factor where she made it through all the way to the judges houses stage before mentor, Louis Walsh decided she was too young to continue in the competition. She later returned in series five, was assigned Cheryl Cole as her mentor, and went onto win the competition, with 58% of the views votes. Burke returned to reality television on BBC when she assigned as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance UK, a first for any The X Factor contestant as she was the first to have a judging role. Burke featured as a guest judge throughout a number of the Auditions and Choreography camp stages. It was revealed that BBC producers decided to cast Burke in as she had a big fanbase and the show's rating's were poor, in order to gain more views they asked Burke to become a guest judge. She later returned to The X Factor as a judge during series eight live finals. She took the place on the seat alongside, Burke's former series two mentor Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. Burke was said to be really looking forward to be seeing what it's like to be on the otherside of the show, meaning what it will be like as a judge and not a contestant.
From a young age Burke has supported a number of charities around the United Kingdom. Before Burke went onto audition for The X Factor and achieved a successful music career, Burke went on tour with band, Young Voices. Young Voice's was a band which goes on tour in order to help charity raise money for children with leukemia. Burke performed in large audience venues, such as the Royal Albert Hall before she made fame. Burke went on tour with her mothers band, Soul II Soul where Burke sang to raise money for charity. Burke's mother, Melissa Bell who got accused of benefit fraud, said that herself and Burke only do professional gigs together for charity. In 2008, while Burke was a contestant on The X Factor she and her fellow series five contestants released a cover of Mariah Carey's "Hero" for the Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion charities. The release was backed by, and originally suggested by, The Sun newspaper.
On 30 October 2008 it was announced that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, would waive all tax on copies sold on the single. He said, "I support the efforts being made by the X Factor contestants and in recognition of that I'm proposing effectively to waive the VAT on the sale of these singles. We will do that by making a donation equivalent to the value of the VAT."Simon Cowell ordered the song to have a big "promotional push" in order for the song to top the UK Singles Chart, and the contestants performed the song live on The X Factor and again performed it with Carey herself. On 2 November 2008 it debuted atop of the UK Singles Chart, staying there for three consecutive weeks and becoming the fastest selling single of 2008. The song sold 100,000 copies in the first day of its release and 313,244 copies by the end of the week. It has sold over 770,000 copies and raised over one million pounds for Help For Heroes foundation. Many shops had to order urgent copies of the single due to high demand." It was listed as the second biggest single of 2008 and the nineteenth best selling single of the decade. The single sold 1.2 million copies within the UK getting certificated double platinum.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, many celebrities, including Burke, wanted to help the suffering people of the country. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked Simon Cowell to arrange a charity single for the money to be donated to the country. It was confirmed that Cowell had asked Burke to sing on the charity single due to her big voice and fanbase. It was revealed that the song would be a cover of R.E.M's "Everybody Hurts", which Cowell choose the song himself as he thought the song's title was most relevant. Brown agreed to waive VAT on the single and R.E.M. agreed to waive all royalties. The celebrities would form a Super group and release the song under the name of "Helping Haiti". Proceeds from the single were split between The Sun 's Helping Haiti fund and the Disasters Emergency Committee. The song was premiered on radio stations nationally on 2 February 2010. The single was released both physically and digitally on 7 February 2010, with the physical release being brought forward by one day due to demand. The single became the fastest-selling charity record of the 21st century in Britain, 205,000 copies in its first two days in the United Kingdom, and 453,000 in its first week. Burke spoke about the charity single saying: "I hope the single raises lots of money. It's great that we can come together and do this. It's a very special song." Soon after the single was released, Burke announced that she would, in fact, travel to Haiti so she can physically help the Haitian people. As she said that singing two lines on a single doesn't mean that she has "really helped" and that she wanted to go out physically and help the kids. "I'm not a doctor, but I can give clothes, food and love. At least I'll be able to make a couple of kids smile." Burke visited and helped in the week beginning 8 February 2010, and posted two video blogs about her visit on YouTube. She later returned six months later to check the progress of the country after being a huge part in the Save the Children charity campaign. Burke was confirmed to join various female celebrities to join the Peru Inca Trail Hike for Breast Cancer Care, along with Fearne Cotton, Denise Van Outen, and Holly Willoughby. In January 2011, Burke helped to launch Save the Children UK's No Child Born To Die campaign. The campaign aims to reduce child mortality over the next five years.
In October 2012, Alexandra performed at actor Samuel L. Jackson's launch of the charity Shooting Stars in London. Later that same month, Burke performed for the Great Ormond Street Hospital's Friendship Ball which was held in England. Also in the same month, Burke performed for "Breast Cancer Care" and was announced as the charities most recent celebrity supporter. Burke took part in the 2013 campaign for the charity with a new photoshoot in October 2013. In November 2012, Alexandra performed at the Royal Concert for Remembrance Day with Russell Watson. In February 2013, Alexandra Burke appeared on From The Heart on ITV. The television show was created to promote organ donation. Burke performed live with Jools Holland. Also in October 2013, Burke took part in a campaign for PETA in order to tackle the fur trade. Alexandra posed naked for the campaign with the slogan "I'd rather go naked than wear fur".
Burke first signed a merchandise contract when she agreed to become the face of company, Dolce & Gabbana in the United Kingdom and Ireland. After the end of Girls Aloud's contract as ambassadors for Nintendo DS, it was announced that Burke would become the new ambassador for the company; she was replaced by JLS when her contract finished. Then again, Burke recorded a television advertisement which featured Burke's music, "Bad Boys", "All Night Long", and "Start Without You", on this advert, it showed Burke performing in front of an audience and then finishing the performance and using deodorant, Sure Women in order to promote the product. Burke was also the first ever ambassador for the product.
In March 2012, Burke worked with MUA Cosmetics to launch her own range of lip-gloss named "Lip Boom". In 2013, Burke was revealed as the face of Mune Energy Drinks to coincide with the release of her EP. In September 2013, Burke was revealed as the face of Funkin' Cocktails. In October 2013, Alexandra Burke recorded a cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" for The Happy Egg Company in the United Kingdom.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license