SHE CAPTURED our hearts the minute she stepped on the X Factor stage and delivered one of the most memorable auditions the ITV1 show had ever seen.
Misha B, a petite, confident, yet coy, Mancunian, belted out a show-stopping rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect to celebrity judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Tulisa and Louis with the ease and grace of a pro. A star had been born, and we all knew it.
But her journey on the show wasn’t as smooth as we all thought it might be. She unfairly faced criticism from some judges who claimed that her ‘backstage antics’ could jeopardise her place in the show; a comment, which rocked the star, her subsequent performances and audience support.
Fast-forward 12 months and this public rigmarole seems like nothing but a distant memory.
The 20-year-old, who is now London-based, boasts a critically acclaimed mixtape, a top 20 single, a highly-anticipated debut album in the making and a best newcomer MOBO award nomination to boot.
She laughs modestly when I list her tremendous achievements thus far.
“My journey has been the best [since leaving the show],” the singer tells me.
“And I think that’s even an understatement. I can’t believe it. God is so good, I can’t complain. I’m now working on my album, I had a song that was in the top 20 and along with that, [my first single] Home Run is still being played in America on BET. It’s my dream to have anything on there.”
We catch up on the day the video for her second single, the emotionally charged ballad Do You Think of Me, is released. The mention of the video’s content, which follows the life of a father who falls into a life of alcoholism and his subsequent quest to rekindle a relationship with his estranged daughter, is a sobering one.
“It’s quite a personal video. At the time I was thinking, ‘how am I going to have a song that says what I want to say in the right way?’”
Misha was left in the care of her aunt and ‘biggest inspiration’ when she was a baby. Following the singer’s stint on the popular TV show, her estranged birth mother made contact with the press.
However, despite such parallels, Misha, who co-wrote the song, says it has more of a “general appeal that everyone can relate to.”
She says: “When I was thinking about the treatment, I wanted to put myself in everybody else’s shoes. Whenever anybody listens to that song, I get so many people say, ‘it reminds me of my grandma that passed away’ or ‘it reminds me of my ex.’ Now seeing the video it has so many different things that people can relate to. I really wanted to convey that with the video.”
She promises that her album will be a solid body of work encompassing a range of emotions, musical styles and personal experiences encountered throughout her journey.
It may also feature an appearance from hip-hop star Missy Elliott who has made no secret of her desire to work with the singer.
“Well, I can’t say much, but we’re hoping to get something done for the album,” this is all Misha will tell me about a possible collaboration with the US rapper many likened her to throughout her X Factor journey.
She is, however, more vocal about recent news that she will support Nicki Minaj in concert later this year.
“With the Nicki Minaj tour, I didn’t even know this was going to be an opportunity. I’m just very blessed and grateful right now. At first I thought my management were pulling my leg, but when I saw the email, it confirmed it. And then Nicki tweeted about it,” she explains.
Adding: “I’m ready to share the stage with her. I’m nervous because it’s an arena tour and Nicki’s one of the hottest stars in the world right now. I’m very excited.” And also well prepared.
The starlet reveals that she is receiving tips and pointers from her former X Factor mentor and singer, Kelly Rowland who remains in contact.
When talk moves to the future, she pauses: “You never know what God has in store or what is next. I’m just very blessed and grateful for right now.”
Do You Think of Me is released on Nov 4 through Relentless Records