Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 08:23 UK

Leon's quest for musical respect

By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

A fashionable bar in east London is transformed into a smoky 1930s-style drinking den for the making of a lavish pop video.

Leon Jackson
The singer has been given a new look for his full-scale launch

The set is adorned with stunningly attractive extras and a band which plays live with every painstaking take - but they are not the centre of attention.

Star of the show is X Factor winner Leon Jackson, who is returning almost a year after his unexpected triumph to launch a new single and debut album.

The mild-mannered 19-year-old singer says - in the middle of his own video set - he is just an ordinary guy.

"I just went for lunch and someone was holding an umbrella for me, and I said 'Don't be daft, I'll hold it myself. It's weird people doing stuff for you."

While Jackson secured last year's Christmas number one after winning The X Factor, he had to share the video shoot with three other finalists and admits to nerves at being the focus of attention.


After the frenzy of The X Factor died down, the Scot dipped out of sight to make the new album and be matured for stardom.

Jackson, serious and resolute beyond his years, insists that he has had a leading role in deciding his musical future.

"I've watched the songs grow, seen the first guitars strummed on them and chosen takes," he explains, adding he had a hand in choosing artwork and track listings.

Scenes from Leon Jackson's video shoot for Don't Call This Love

"I've been given the time to produce a quality record rather than a quickly put-together album," adds Jackson, who says he is "proud" with the results.

"My ultimate dream is to be a really credible, respected musician - a songwriter as well as a singer and performer," adds Jackson, from Whitburn, West Lothian.

Some of the teenager's predecessors in The X Factor winners' hall of fame withered on the vine after albums of questionable quality were rushed out.

But last year's victor, Leona Lewis, was also given a period out of the limelight while her success was plotted.

"She has shifted that whole stigma of winning The X Factor a wee bit," explains Jackson.

"Only a couple of winners like Leona and Shayne Ward have broken through, so hopefully I can take the same route."

Maternal feelings

But he admits that Lewis, with her success at home and in the US, is a "rare find" and an "inspiration".

"I don't compare myself to her because I'm totally different, in style, musical genre and backgrounds," says Jackson, pointing out that he entered The X Factor a musical beginner.

He returns to the stage of his triumph at the weekend, with an appearance on the new series of the programme.

Making the most of Jackson's inexorable X Factor link, his new song, Don't Call This Love, will be released digitally at midnight after Saturday's show.

Leon Jackson in 2007
My ultimate dream is to be a really credible, respected musician

Leon Jackson

The young singer, meanwhile, is concerned about his chance to advise a new crop of hopefuls.

"I'll tell them not to be afraid to show their emotions and wear your heart on your sleeve. Enjoy it and smile."

He brought judge and mentor Dannii Minogue success in her first season on the show, and there is still a bond between them.

"I speak to and text her regularly. She's very proud and said that it's the first time that she's ever felt maternal," he says.

"I'll always be eternally grateful to her. She gave me my break."

Jackson just has time to declare that The X Factor is the "best thing on the box" and has "years ahead of it", before returning to his video.

Back on the set of the hazy bar, Jackson works hard, but still has time to relax and chat with the extras between takes.

For a singer who is only just embarking on his quest for lasting stardom, he looks very comfortable at the centre of things.

Don't Call This Love by Leon Jackson is released on 13 October. His debut album, Right Now, follows a week later.

Talking Shop: Leon Jackson
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