REBECCA Ferguson could face a lengthy guestlist for her Sheffield City Hall debut this month.
“My family are from Tinsley. Me dad and all my aunties and grandad,” reveals the 2010 X Factor runner-up.
“Dad moved from Jamaica when he was really young to Sheffield because my grandad was working on the steel. That was where he was brought up.”
That makes February 25 almost a hometown show for the Liverpool-born lass, who faced a juggle with work and kids this half term like most parents. Final rehearsals for her 22-date tour, which starts tomorrow, began just as her two youngsters broke-up from school.
“Normally on the road you’d stay in hotels with the band and the crew but I’m not. I’m driving back most days to be with the children. And then I’ll be driving up to the venues.
“It’s gonna be challenging but I’m going to make sure it works. I’ve been really vocal how my diary is set to make sure there’s time with my children. And they’ll get to come to a few shows.”
Then, as anyone who saw Rebecca journey from shy wannabe to second place in the final behind Matt Cardle, will confirm, this is a young woman devoted to daughter Lillie May, now seven, and Karl, just four when she auditioned.
The show gave viewers a heart-warming glimpse of a young mum striving for her dream.
Perhaps sensing a future star, producers even ensured she could get back to her family where possible.
“That’s part of the charm of the X Factor. We like watching it because we see normal people become something and you don’t normally see that with the making of an artist.
“People like watching that journey, people achieving their dreams. You’re rooting for them and if you relate to them you’re rooting even more. I had a lot of support from people and I felt really grateful.”
Of course, doing the most rooting were Rebecca’s kids.
“It must have been quite strange for them. Every now and again I got to come home, mainly weekends, but it was quite hard and intense; throughout the week you’ve got rehearsals.
“I didn’t get to see the children as much as I’d have liked and even after the show they were still asking ‘Mummy, are you going to X Factor?’ It was very surreal.”
Then they were also the motivation for Rebecca pursing the X Factor, and a qualification as a legal secretary before that.
Where some mums might settle for their lot, Rebecca has proved it’s never too late to reach for the stars.
“Anything’s possible. I always think life is like a playing field and anything you want you can get if you put your mind to it – with the right support. It’s sad that a lot of people think after they’ve had children they can’t achieve what they want.
“If anything children actually give you more of a reason to fight for what you want. They make you more focused in work because you’re not in there for you, you’re working every day for someone else.
“If this all falls tomorrow it’s going to fall on my children – it’s the lifestyle they’re now living I’ll lose. I think people forget that; if you fail you’re failing your children.
“Before I had my children I’d go to college and mess around but I had Lillie and I left with distinctions because every day I was focused.
“I was thinking ‘I’ve got to leave with something because I have to become someone for my kids’.
“That made me work even harder, more determined.”
And that includes a tour where you’ll hear Rebecca’s new single Too Good To Lose and other highlights from debut album Heaven.
“The show is just going to be really fun and I’m going to explain to fans about the songs – more in depth what they’re about,” she says.
“It’ll be the first time I’ll be properly meeting the people who have bought the album, spent the money. It’ll be lovely.”