‘X Factor’ Runner-Up Rebecca Ferguson Details Her ‘Abusive’ Experience in The Music Industry
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The soulful pop singer who finished as runner-up on the 2010 season of Simon Cowell’s UK singing competition The X Factor, Rebecca Ferguson is opening up about the “abusive” treatment she says she endured during her subsequent music career. In a new interview, the now 37-year-old Ferguson describes facing years of psychological abuse, manipulative behavior, and restrictive contracts after her rise to fame on the show.
Rebecca Ferguson Says She’s a “Victim of Abuse”
Ferguson first shot to fame on the singing competition show over a decade ago, quickly signing record deals and releasing her debut album Heaven in 2011. However, behind the scenes, the now 36-year-old says she endured psychological abuse and controlling behavior from unnamed figures in the industry.
“I would say that I was most certainly a victim of abuse, it really makes me sad that I had to endure that,” Ferguson said. “It was a bit normalized. It almost felt like this is part of the package, which is so toxic not just for me, but for many women working in the creative industry.”
She describes that unnamed figures forced her into contracts, assigned minders to report on her activities, and made her participate in tabloid stories against her will – threatening that if she refused they would not allow her to continue working in the industry.
After years away from the industry, Ferguson is now releasing a new album titled Heaven Part II independently, crediting the freedom to work outside the major label system with allowing her to stay in music.
While Ferguson does not harbor hatred towards Cowell, who created The X Factor, she says he bears responsibility and wishes he would have publicly confirmed and apologized for her experiences. The two privately met a few years ago, where Cowell did personally apologize but declined to do so publicly.
Ferguson Sympathizes With Britney Spears’ Own Abuse
Reading about Britney Spears’ horrific conservatorship ordeal struck a chord with Ferguson, who endured years of psychological abuse herself behind the scenes of the entertainment industry.
“It was fascinating to read Britney’s story because I did see some similarities. I was shocked and it made me go ‘Wow.’ She’s a superstar and that was happening to her and we didn’t know,” Ferguson said.
Both stories highlight the sly but toxic ways female artists in particular can be restricted, manipulated, silenced, and controlled by the machinery of the music business. For Ferguson, Spears’ case reinforces the pervasive, systemic nature of these issues.
“It made me realize just how many women in music are secretly…” Ferguson trailed off. “It is a very real experience for a lot of [female] artists.”