Following on from her awesome set at the Eastbourne MiniFest we wanted to make Amelia Lily an honorary member of Humans of ESC.
Shortly after she got off stage we were lucky enough to grab 15 minutes with the chart-topping singer.
So how was it performing at MiniFest in Eastbourne?
I loved it! I didn't know what to expect here in Eastbourne, but it was fantastic. The kids were on top form - even with the older music. That was great fun.
Your version of Acicii’s ‘Wake me up’ was awesome, have you been performing that very long?
I've only recently added it to my set list. My brother's friend committed suicide last year and it was his favourite song. I got asked to sing it at a charity gala recently. Everyone was crying but it was an upbeat song and it went down so well. Every time I've done that song since that charity do, it's just worked and it's like a special thing for me and my family.
Has singing always been a passion of yours?
Yeah - I knew from such a young age what I wanted to do. I wasn't the brightest at school. I was good at the creative subjects - Art, Music, Drama, English - I absolutely smashed all of those in my GCSEs, but Maths and Science weren't great for me. I failed miserably in Chemistry. They tried to make me re-sit the exam six times and then they gave up on me as they knew I was going to be a performer. I did like school but I feel like I'm enjoying my life more as I'm getting older.
You touched on it briefly, but what was your time in education like?
I didn’t actually go to college because X Factor happened, but I went to a private all-girls school, where I was so well looked after. My parents sent me there was because I'm a Type 1 Diabetic," she says, pointing to the sensor she's wearing that checks her blood sugars. "The local schools had thousands of kids and my parents were worried that I wasn't going to get the help that I needed. There were 28 of us in my year, that's how small it was. But actually I'm a bit of a laddie girl, I get on better with lads, so I found it quite difficult. The good thing for me was I had so many hobbies outside of school which let me interact with people from all different backgrounds. It's kept me grounded.”
So you finished school and went straight into the X Factor auditions?
Yes, but I didn't get through the stadium auditions initially. I got shot down, I was told no. It was pretty much my last chance but sent an online clip of myself to the X Factor website. My brother, Lewis, sat me down in his flat in London and he was like, 'right, sit up straight, you're going by Amelia Lily.' I sang 'Price Tag' by Jessie J and Lewis said that was the one we needed to send in.
He sent it off and I got a call! My video was shortlisted out of 400 and I was asked to go to London in two days. I put the phone down and my mum went, 'It's your prom on Wednesday'. I'd bought my prom dress, booked hair appointments and everything. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity so my dad drove me four and a half hours to London at 4am. I went to TalkTalk studios, went in, did my first round with the producers, got through to the director's round,and then they said they'd be in touch in three weeks. They were great, they put me to the front of all the queues, and then my dad whizzed me back home. I shoved my frock on, did my hair and make-up myself and rocked up an hour late to prom.
Who would you say inspires you musically?
I'm a massive band t-shirt freak. There's an HMV near to where I live and I go in all the time and ask if they can you let me know if they’re ever going to shut down because I’ll take every single t-shirt they’ve got! I go in there every few months and buy three or four. I am a massive fan of old skool music; you don't get music like that anymore. You look at bands like Metallica, Guns n Roses and Queen... they created songs that will last a lifetime. Nothing seems original anymore.
What do you think you’d be doing now if you weren’t a pop star?
If I hadn't done what I'm doing now, I'd still be doing something creative. I love make-up and hair so I probably would have gone down the beauty route." Amelia pauses as a memory surfaces that makes her smile. "I loved the idea of storm chasing in Tennessee! I loved tornadoes when I was young! I took Geography just out of interest and loved the film Twister. I'm fascinated by all that, but that never took off. Maybe later in life.
Before the tornado chasing, do you have any plans or goals?
I've got loads of gigs on over the summer and have panto coming up in Bournemouth this December. I've got a few little holidays too, as I don't normally have time to get away as I'm usually in a theatre contract. This year I can have some time away. Before the next MiniFest in Lewes, I’m actually going to LA for a few days!
Can you think of a time where you’ve had to be fearless?
Lots of times! My whole life, really. I live with a life-threatening illness. Every day I have to be fearless and prove a point to people that just because I have the condition that I have, it doesn't stop me doing anything. I have my good days and my bad days as well. Sometimes it's all right to have a little cry about it; nobody's perfect. But that's my biggest challenge every day: making sure my blood sugars are ok and looking after myself. I have been a little poorly this week and it does affect my blood sugars. That plays a big factor in my life so I have to keep on top of it. I am really good with my diabetes considering my lifestyle, where I'm here, there and everywhere, but my diabetes is definitely something that I have to be fearless with.
I've been able to help so many people with the profile that I have. I've received letters from fans and parents saying thank you. Every year I do panto and I visit children's wards in the hospital dressed as my character. I go to the children's diabetic outpatients and I see the newly diagnosed. This Christmas just gone there was a dad in there and his son had just got diabetes. I don't think the son understood but the dad looked absolutely drained with completely no life in him. I sat him down, with me in my panto outfit, and I sat there and I told him, 'look at me, I know I'm dressed as a unicorn fairy, I'm not saying your son's gonna do that [laughs] but it's ok. You live with it, you control it, it doesn't control you. I think that's so important with diabetes as well. I've tried to raise awareness about it, because it's so much more common now. 150,000 are getting diagnosed each year and I think a lot of people don't realise how serious it is. In terms of fearless, I think you've got to believe in yourself. Don't get me wrong, I doubt myself so much, especially when I go in to auditions. I think why am I here? Then I have to think, actually, I bring something else to the table that no one else brings. That makes me fight more and makes me more driven. Every knock-back I've had I've come back from even stronger.