Alexandra Burke, the winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2008, has announced that she's expanding her career to become a life coach. In an interview on ITV chat show "Lorraine" on Jan. 28, 2014, Burke said: "I'm in a different space in my life at the moment and I'm actually currently training to be a life coach."
Burke continued, "I wanted some more balance in my life and it's definitely brought a different perspective. I'm definitely way more balanced than I ever was and I've been able to come out of my comfort zone, come out of my shell a little bit more."
Burke was on "Lorraine" to promote her guest appearance on a celebrity edition of ITV's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." She appeared on the game show to raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Care. Burke has been an ambassador for Breast Cancer Care since 2010.
In addition, Burke said in the interview that she plans for her third album to be released sometime in 2014. The album's title, songs and release date are to be announced. She commented on the album: "With this album I've really gone with my heart and soul, I can't even give it a genre. It's very voice-driven, it's all about the voice and it's all vocal led. There's big power ballads and it's something that's very close to me, so it's taken me a while to do it."
Burke did not mention which record company is releasing the album. She has been an unsigned artist since 2013, when Burke parted ways with RCA Records (which is owned by Sony Music) in the U.K. after her second album, 2012's "Heartbreak on Hold," was a flop. Burke is now trying to launch a career in America. She has signed with former Def Jam president Kevin Liles to help her get a new record deal, according to the Daily Mail.
A spokesperson for RCA told the Daily Mail in 2013: "We were in negotiations with Alexandra over continuing her relationship with RCA. However, the two sides had differing views over the best creative path for Alexandra to take. As a result, both sides have parted amicably."
As for Burke's career transition, before her record deal with Sony Music's RCA Records, Burke was signed to Syco Music, the record company co-owned by Cowell and Sony Music. Burke's first album, "Overcome" (on Syco Music), was released in 2009 and was a big hit in the U.K., where it debuted at No. 1 and went double platinum. The "Overcome" album featured six singles that were Top 40 U.K. hits, including three songs that went to No. 1. According to Sony Music, "Overcome" has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide. Burke's music has not been released in the U.S.
Burke joins the long list of former "X Factor" U.K. winners who have parted ways with Sony Music. Steve Brookstein (winner in 2004), Shayne Ward (winner in 2005), Leon Jackson (winner in 2007), Joe McElderry (winner in 2009) and Matt Cardle (winner in 2010) were all dumped by Sony after their album sales failed to meet expectations.
McElderry has since signed a deal with Universal Music's Decca Records, where he went on to better sales by releasing albums of cover versions. Brookstein, Ward and Jackson don't have record deals, while Cardle is now releasing his music independently on his own record label.
In 2011, Burke was a substitute judge on "The X Factor" U.K. when judge Kelly Rowland was absent due to "illness." In 2012, Burke expressed interest in becoming a permanent judge on "The X Factor" U.K., as a replacement for Rowland, whose contract with "The X Factor" U.K. was not renewed. But now, Burke said that she's no longer interested in being a judge on the show.
Burke explained in her "Lorraine" interview: "I enjoyed it when I replaced Kelly for one week. It was fun but I don't think it's something that I'll want to do full-time simply because my priority is music. I really want to make sure I get those goals on my checklist ticked off because there's so much more I want to do."
In 2013, Burke made an appearance on "The X Factor" U.K. as a guest mentor to contestant Hannah Barrett, who came in sixth place on the show.
"The X Factor" U.K. has at least two spots to fill on the judges' panel by May 2014, when auditions in front of the judges are expected to begin for the year. Gary Barlow and Sharon Osbourne announced that 2013 was their last year as judges on the show. Louis Walsh is expected to remain an "X Factor" U.K. judge, while it is unknown at this point if Nicole Scherzinger (who replaced Rowland in 2012) will continue to be a judge on the show in 2014.
It has been widely reported, but not officially announced yet, that Simon Cowell is going back to being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2014. He is expected to fill the spot vacated by Barlow, who had replaced Cowell on the show's judging panel in 2011.