Sunday, 2 May 2010

Mommie dearest

It's the ultimate test for any British recording artist - cracking the American market. Many of our biggest stars have crashed and burned trying to appeal to those notoriously fickle US audiences. Even the otherwise unbeatable Robbie Williams couldn't make it happen, eventually returning to the UK with Jonathan Wilkes' tail between his legs.

Leona Lewis, on the other hand, made it look easy. Although it helped that she had a fantastic single and the backing of Oprah Winfrey to kick-start her career in the land of the free. The jury's currently out as to whether or not Alexandra Burke has what it takes to follow in Leona's sandy footprints. But as she puts the finishing touches to the US version of her debut album, she can at least take comfort in the fact that her family will keep her feet on the ground.

Alexandra's mum Melissa Bell knows all about the fickle finger of fame, having spent time as the lead singer in Soul II Soul. And she seems dead set on making sure that her daughter remembers that fact. In an attempt to plug her forthcoming autobiography 'Heart and Soul' (form an orderly queue please), she's been speaking to The Mirror about her relationship with her pop-star progeny.

It's just a shame that she seems to be taking the tough love approach to parenting: "To be honest, I'm a better singer than she is. But she is thinner than me - maybe too thin. I was 18st in my heyday. But it's all about image these days, more than talent."

Perhaps Melissa wouldn't be so critical if Alexandra had been a little more generous with her winnings - "She's rich but we're poor. She hasn't given me a penny and I'm too proud to ask. But considering her win was a team effort, I certainly deserve some." Interestingly, she may be too proud to ask for money, but she has no shame when it comes to slagging off her daughter or trying to take the credit for her accomplishments.

Melissa even has some ironic words of wisdom for her daughter on how to deal with other people, "I've told her always to be nice to people on the way up because you'll see them again on the way down. I still give Alex advice. She's lucky to have a mum like me."

I'm sure Sue Katona tells Kerry the exact same thing.

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