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Louisa Johnson: Beyond 'The X Factor'

Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, January 30, 2018  /  08:57 am
Louisa Johnson: Beyond 'The X Factor'

Louisa Johnson rocketed to pop music stardom in 2015 after conquering The X Factor UK. (Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jakarta/File)

Louisa Johnson rocketed to pop music stardom in 2015 after conquering The X Factor UK. Now, as she matures as a person and an artist, she aims to take 2018 by storm, relying only on her sense of honesty and self-integrity.

The 19-year-old singer, whose dream collaborations involve working with Beyonce and Eminem, became the youngest ever winner of the British edition of The X Factor when she won the 12th series of the televised vocal talent contest in 2015.

Johnson recalled struggling as a singer in her early days, when she auditioned for numerous television talent shows but never got anywhere far — until she finally auditioned for The X Factor and nailed her rendition of a Jackson 5 song.

Singing was always somewhat of a calling for the Essex native, as aside from a hobby riding horses, she always felt that music was the only thing she could do or was ever really interested in.

“I auditioned for a lot of shows but never got anywhere and I was just, like, thinking, when was my time going to come? Then I got an amazing response from my X Factor audition and there you have it. Not bad, really,” the singer said during a recent visit to Jakarta for a gig at the Hotel Mulia Senayan.

After winning The X Factor and becoming a national sensation, Johnson felt the immense change that instant fame could bring to a person.

Her day-to-day life, she admitted, had changed in that she would always be noticed by fans, even as she went about her normal day along the streets of London.

The fame has also caused her to become more aware of her actions in public and interactions with her fans, as well as recognizing that beneath the superstar image was a normal human being.

Two years after winning the talent show, Johnson feels she is now able to break free from the televised standards of The X Factor and become her own artist.

Her upcoming material and the material that she has released since her 2015 win she describes as being more personal, as she wants to project her own true image in the public eye through making honest music.

“On X Factor, the focus is more towards showing off your voice. So you have to try and sing big songs, or songs that you don’t necessarily want to or are used to singing. The point has always been showing the range of our voices so that people can see that,” she explained.

“But now, as I am developing more and more on my own, my stuff is more personal and I am just being myself when I make music.”

Since winning the competition, she has released several singles such as 2016’s “So Good,” and “Best Behaviour” and “Unpredictable” in 2017, which features British singer and former X Factor contestant Olly Murs. Her vocal talents have also been featured in “Tears” by United Kingdom pop band Clean Bandit.

Her debut album, which has been delayed since 2016, is expected to feature some of her most mature material yet, mainly on her life beyond the juvenile crowds and system of The X Factor.

She stresses that everything that she writes now is “incredibly different” from anything she has written before, because of her development both as a person and as an artist. Johnson also admits that a certain degree of artistic perfectionism led her to continually delay her debut full-length album.

“The one thing that [X Factor mentor] Rita Ora said to me is to never let anybody tell me how to be myself. I guess her words rung true with me, because that’s what I’m doing: I don’t want to put out the album until I am very sure that it is fully myself,” she said with passion.

The completion of the album is one of her main priorities for 2018, as well as maintaining her rising stardom to inspire her listeners and others about the importance of staying true to oneself, no matter what one does.

“I want people to look up to me,” she said. “Not in a role model kind of way, but in the way that I want people to feel okay being themselves, because sometimes it is hard. A lot of people will try to persuade you to become something else. At least, if I can become an example, then others can be inspired too!”.