Interview: Daniel DeBourg

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X FACTOR'S Daniel DeBourg will headline the performances in Peterborough city centre on Saturday, and spoke exclusively to The Guide about his appearance, his hopes for the future and the whirlwind experience of the primetime show.

X FACTOR'S Daniel DeBourg will headline the performances in Peterborough city centre on Saturday, and spoke exclusively to The Guide about his appearance, his hopes for the future and the whirlwind experience of the primetime show. X Factor's Daniel DeBourg will headline the performances in Peterborough city centre on Saturday, and spoke exclusively to The Guide about his appearance, his hopes for the future and the whirlwind experience of the primetime show.

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The 31-year-old dance teacher won the hearts of thousands on the X-Factor for his sterling vocal performances, but Daniel's professional career began as a dancer, before an injury prompted a shift into songwriting.

"I was having a good career I was in one of the top dance companies but I tore some cartilage in my knee - I was only 21 years old at the time. It takes a lot out of you, dancing, because it's not very paid and it's very demanding...music had always been there and so I wanted to continue it."

A songwriting career got off to a flying start when one of his songs Money was picked up by Jamelia, who made it her breakthrough hit. His success led to a relocation to the USA, where he was signed by recording giant Dreamworks.

"After Money, I signed a deal in the states, but nothing was ever released. I was very lucky and I did a song with R Kelly, but getting a deal is only the start of it - 90 per cent never sees the light of day and that's the sad truth of the industry.

"What could've been a wonderful opportunity turned into a dead end, and because I was under contract, they owned me for nearly four years."

How much did this experience affect the way Daniel approached the X-Factor?

"I think I realised how important it is to be noticed - you need the exposure and there's perhaps no better place than on Saturday night on that show. To be honest, I wanted to get down to the finals, but I never thought I was going to win it."

As a songwriter, did he find the covers format of the show restrictive?

"It wasn't so much singing other people's songs, it was more the way they wanted me to sing them, I feel that I'm more of a soul singer and I wanted to put my own spin on it.

Daniel recalled being asked to sing the Bryan Adams version of Heaven when he'd requested the more soulful DJ Sammy reading, but was rebuffed by the show's musical director and Simon Cowell, who insisted on the Adams original.

"I knew when I went out and sung it Simon was going to say I'm not a rock singer, but he was asking me to do the rock version of the song behind the scenes.

"It was a very controlled situation, but I miss everyone on the show, even Simon, bless him - at the end of the day, I got what I needed from it."

With so many hopefuls so desperate to succeed in the competition, was there tension between the contestants?

"With my hand on my heart, there was a wonderful atmosphere, there wasn't much bickering. To get to the finals was a tough thing to do, and to go to boot camp and then the judges' houses was a very strange experience...it creates a kind of bond."

He said he's still in regular contact with his fellow contestants, particularly Futureproof and Hope, and believes the latter group could be the ones to walk away the winners of the competition.

"I think either Hope or Rhydian will win," he said.

"Simon's gearing up for Hope to win it."

Under the terms of the show, Daniel is still under contract to Simon Cowell, and may head out on the road with the other contestants next year on the annual X-Factor tour, but he hopes to develop a career independent of the programme.

"Let's see what happens," he said.

"I'll be doing some appearances like this one to and some gigs to raise my profile, but I think next year will be the big one.

"I've been given the platform and I've been noticed, and I think it's worked in my favour going out when I did because I think I'm less likely to be tarred with the X Factor brush."

He said of Saturday's city date: I'm really looking forward to it...I can't wait - I was in Barnsley doing the same thing and people are so nice to me...I think I went out with my head held high."

Daniel DeBourg will perform from 5.10pm.