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Working Holiday; X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson has recorded a musical tribute to one of her heroes in LA, but as the busy working mum told Marion McMullen, there was little time for sightseeing while in the US.

Byline: Marion McMullen

MOTHER'S Day will be just that little bit more special for singer Rebecca Ferguson next month.

She gave birth to her third child, Arabella, in November, and was eight months pregnant when she recorded an album of classic tracks by one of her musical heroes, Billie Holiday in Los Angeles. She has called it Lady Sings The Blues as a tribute to one of the jazz legend's most famous LPs.

The allure of Tinseltown had to go on the back-burner as Rebecca concentrated on working hard and recording classic tracks like Summertime, Stormy Weather, Blue Moon and That Ole Devil Called Love.

"I also wanted Get Happy on there as well," she smiles, "that was my personal choice."

The 28-year-old certainly has a lot to be happy about these days and her new approach to life has a lot to do with the arrival of little Arabella.

"She comes with me wherever I go," says the proud mum, "she's normally up at 3am, but it was 7am today so I had a bit of a sleep-in.

"I'm going to China "I'm going to China next month and that's too long a flight for her so I'll be away from her for three days. It's going to be hard, but I've got really good people around me."

Rebecca split ebecca split with Arabella'ss father when she wafather when she was pregnant and also has children Lily May and Karl from her previous relationship with ex-partner Karl Dures.

She says she wishes she could claim to be more organised when it comes to juggling family life and work, but laughs: "I wing life daily, but as I said, I do have a good team around me and that's a big help."

She reveals with a chuckle: "When I first started singing to Arabella she didn't like it. She used to cry and her little lip would start to quiver, but I think she's now started to enjoy it. She doesn't cry any more."

The Liverpool lass now calls London home, but says her children have not started answering her back with a Cockney accent yet. "I wouldn't mind if they picked up a bit of a posh Southern accent, but they still sound so Scouse," she jokes.

Rebecca was almost painfully shy and nervous when she first appeared on The X Factor back in 2010 alongside the likes of Cher Lloyd, One Direction and the eventual winner Matt Cardle, but her smoky, sensual vocals won over Simon Cowell and co. as well as viewers.

"I was shocked at the level of attention after The X Factor," admits the stylish singer, "it took me some time to deal with it all. I feel I've now grown up a lot and I'm more confident. I've discovered I like to work and keep busy. I'm always looking for something to do, but my attitude has changed and I'm more confident and my family has a lot to do with that."

Lady Sings The Blues is her third album and comes out 100 years after the birth of legendary performer Billie Holiday.

It follows Rebecca's debut, Heaven, which topped a million sales and led to comparisons with her heroines Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield and Macy Gray.

Plaudits also followed from Adele and Rebecca became the first X Factor singer to appear on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Her second album Freedom also attracted critical acclaim, but she says with Lady Sings The Blues she feels she has found her rightful place.

"Singing these classics from Billie Holiday is quite a big ask, but I tried to make them my own and do them my way. Billie herself once said: "I want to sing songs my own way."

" Many of the tracks on the new album were recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, where Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald also recorded and Rebecca's producer was Troy Miller, who has previously worked with Amy Winehouse, Rumer, Laura Mvula, Midnight Runners and Chaka Khan.

Mvula, Dexys Midnight Runners and Chaka Khan.

with my brother, but didn't really go anywhere," says Rebecca. "I was there to work and record. I was eight months pregnant so I got "I went to LA with my brother, but didn't really go anywhere," says Rebecca. "I was there to work and record. I was eight months pregnant so I got tired easily.

"We did go to Sunset Boulevard one day to see the shops there, but we went into this tiny jewellery store and I started to feel a bit dizzy and we had to leave, so I didn't really get to see many of the sights."

All the hard work though has paid off and Get Happy, the first single from the album will be available to download from March 2. Rebecca will also be performing the new album in its entirely at St James Theatre in London later this month and is lining up a series of intimate shows.

However, one thing Rebecca is determined she won't be doing any time soon is caving into pressure and starving herself on silly, fad diets to shed any pounds gained during pregancy.

"The weight went on over several months and I reckon it's going to take 10 months to lose it in a healthy way," she says.

"I'm quite stubborn and when you have a baby you should look after your baby. If you are healthy then your baby is happy. If you are starving yourself you can't be happy.

"You do feel under pressure to lose weight and one time I went on a big fast and was a size six ... and I looked terrible.

"You see celebrities who have just had a baby sporting six pack abs and it's not fair to put that kind of pressure on women. I refuse to be someone like that. I'm going to do it gradually and healthily ... and enjoy being with my baby."

GO | to www.rebeccaofficial.

com for the latest album and concert details.

CAPTION(S):

Jazz | icon Billie Holiday, who popularised classics sucha Get Happy and Stormy Weather

| Rebecca Ferguson's |new album offers her take on some of Billie Holiday's greatest hits | Rebecca Ferguson's Holiday's greatest hits
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2015
Words:1045
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