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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 09:35 GMT
Talking Shop: Leon Jackson
Scottish singer Leon Jackson was the surprise winner of this year's X Factor competition.

The 18-year-old had been working in a clothes shop before scooping the 1m recording contract prize.

His first single, a re-written version of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's When You Believe, is tipped to be this year's Christmas number one.


Leon Jackson
Leon only started singing this year

What's it been like since your win?

Very surreal. It's been fantastic, busy and I'm on the go constantly. I've had a photo shoot, done radio interviews and made a couple of TV appearances. I only saw my mum for about an hour afterwards and then I was away. I also had a meeting today to discuss the direction for the album.

Is it going to be a swing album?

No, it's going to be an original album. I didn't get to show off the other stuff I could do on X Factor because it wasn't right for the show, so I'm going to be me.

How did you feel going into the competition - were you confident you were going to win?

No, I felt I was on the back foot before I started. I knew I had to go out and really raise my game and have loads of fun and keep smiling. I had nothing to lose as it was the final and I wasn't going to get another opportunity to sing on stage so I just went for it.

You sang with Kylie Minogue on the show. Do you think you had an advantage because you had the biggest star to duet with?

No, I don't think that at all. Jason Donovan is really big and so is Katherine Jenkins. I had the most fun with that performance and the harmonies were really tight and we just gelled. She told me to just be myself and enjoy it.

My friends are jealous and saying I'm lucky to have been with both Kylie and Dannii and would like their phone numbers - I have Dannii's phone number.

X Factor finalists
Leon beat Same Difference and Rhydian Roberts to the title

You must have seen in the papers stories about complaints viewers could not ring in to vote for Rhydian - do you feel this has tarnished your win at all?

On Saturday I went and gave my best performance. You never know how the public is voting and that aspect of things is out of your hands.

I just feel it's extra pressure now because I'll be under a lot of scrutiny and there's extra pressure for me to do well and produce really good stuff.

You only started singing this year didn't you?

Yes, this January. I knew I could sing at the tail end of last year but I was too shy to do anything about it. I was just finding what genre suited me the most and this January I started going to local karaoke in pubs. I've never had a singing lesson.

What do you think of your first single When You Believe?

It's definitely out of my repertoire and it's a hard song to sing but I think the lyrics are beautiful and really tie in with my whole journey. I hope I've done the best I could with it.

It's a tradition that X Factor winners get the Christmas number one. How will you celebrate if you get it?

I'm not taking that aspect for granted but I would love for it to happen. There'll probably be champagne.

Are you prepared for groupies and how will you handle all the female attention?

It's something I've never been used to so I need to come to terms with it. But I'm going to concentrate on the music as it's the foundations of my career and I need to work hard and stay focused.

Leon Jackson
Leon hopes he can be as successful as past X Factor winners

Did you really have a self-imposed sex ban during the competition?

I think the sex ban has been exaggerated - I was concentrating on the show and I moved down to London. It would be nice to have somebody special to share it with but I've got no time for anything at the moment.

How do you think you will cope with all the media attention?

I don't think I would ever change because of the way I've been brought up and my background. I don't think I would ever let it get to me and if I did I've got good people around me who would just kick me back down to Earth - especially my mum.

What do you think the difference is between X Factor winners like Shayne Ward and Leona Lewis compared to Steve Brookstein?

The first series of X Factor was a learning curve for everybody, production and contestant wise. They produced an album quite quickly whereas they took time with the others and I think they realised you've got to spend more time to produce better stuff.

Luck's involved as well to a certain extent, I hope I can continue the trend of the last few years and be successful and give back the public what they deserve as they put me in this position.

Your hometown of Whitburn, Scotland, is arranging a civic reception in the New Year to recognise your win and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has praised you. How does it feel being a hero?

I didn't know that! Was it meant to be a surprise? That's brilliant - it's very flattering and I'm glad that I've made my country and my hometown proud.

Where do you hope you'll be in a year's time?

I just hope I'm still with a label producing good music and keep doing what I love and be respected for it.

Leon Jackson was talking to BBC News entertainment reporter Genevieve Hassan. When You Believe is out now.



SEE ALSO
Leon Jackson takes X Factor crown
16 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Kylie and Jason sing on X Factor
12 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Talking Shop: Sophie Okonedo
18 Dec 07 |  Entertainment

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