The X Factor Live Tour 2018 kicks off in mid-February.
At the start of December 2017, Grace Davies was declared the runner up of the fourteenth series of X Factor just behind winning group Rak-Su, and as the longest surviving contestant in the girls category. Mentored by Sharon Osbourne, Davies continually delighted the judges and fans with her original songs, from her first audition performing Roots through to a show-stopping performance of the same track in the final joined by Paloma Faith, alongside Live and Let Die by Wings. Performances of original tracks such as Too Young, Wolves, and Hesitate have amassed millions of views across YouTube, propelling Grace Davies further into the mainstream.
As news emerges that Davies will be working with Simon Cowell’s Syco label on her debut album release, and with the X Factor Live Tour set to kick off in February in which she’ll be joined by fellow live show contestants, we caught up with Grace to look back on an incredible year, and towards the live shows.
What led you to apply for the X Factor?
I’d been writing music and performing here, there, and absolutely everywhere, for five years, and I was getting a bit itchy as to whether I’d done the right thing by ditching university and a real job to go into music. Five years down the line, when you’ve been doing it day-in-day-out, you think that it isn’t going quite how you thought it would.
I just wanted to get my music out there, and see what would happen on such an amazing platform. So I applied… and it went well.
You focussed on your original tracks throughout the series. Was that important to you?
Song writing for me is important. I wanted to go on there and show them I knew who I was as an artist, and knew what kind of artist I wanted to be. It was really important that I went in with my own songs.
I didn’t tell anyone I was auditioning because I thought it’s not really been done before. We’d seen Lucy Spraggan sing a couple of originals, but other than that it’s not been done. I thought I’d just not tell anyone and save myself the embarrassment if it went really badly. But original songs are very important to me, as I want to sing my own songs as a profession.
How did you find the X Factor experience in general?
Insane. I think that’s the best word to describe it. It was so amazing, and doing the live shows in front of millions of people and being able to do my own songs, and have all that production and work with some of the best producers in the world… it’s so, so good. You’re surrounded by people who know what they are doing. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
It was stressful, and difficult, and I would never deny that. I had many a breakdown, but it was fun all in all and the greatest opportunity.
What’s the main thing you’ve taken away from that?
To stay true to who I am. That really came across when I did Wolves in the semi-final. Sometimes you go in and they tell you the staging, and how your track is going to sound. With Wolves, it was one of my favourite original songs that I did so I decided I wanted to make it look like a Grace Davies concert. I wanted to have input in what it looks like, so I asked.
That was the week when Simon said to me that I looked like a returning artist with her new single rather than a contestant. I realised that me doing what I thought would look alright in my head worked. That was so amazing; to stay true to the artist I wanted to be.
Will you be taking that attitude through into the live tour?
Absolutely, into the tour and into my album as well.
Was there anything that surprised you about the show?
Absolutely. The filming side of it is so draining. What you don’t see at home is that minute and a half VT before we come on and sing is actually made from eight or nine hours of filming. I didn’t expect that. I knew it was going to be hard, and there would be rough days, but crikey… but it was definitely still fun.
And your videos from the show have been watched millions of times.
Roots is a song that I wrote in my bedroom by myself, and then on Facebook it has over 20 million views from my first audition. I can’t quite get my head around that. It’s definitely a bit scary… in a good way.
How do you think you’ve changed since the start of the series?
I’ve grown in confidence. I went into that first audition not being sure that this was the right thing to be doing, and not sure of my potential. I thought I could write alright songs, and I thought I could sing, but I never thought I’d get that far. It made me believe in myself more.
The competition also made me a hell of a lot stronger. I had to face some horrible stuff in the press and online, and I took it on the chin and dealt with it. It’s made me a stronger person.
What are you most looking forward to about getting out there on the X Factor Live Tour?
Just seeing the people that voted. We don’t get to see them when we are on the telly, but they get to see us all the time. It’s going to be nice to see the people who actually picked up the phone, and the people who have downloaded my music. It’s going to be amazing to see those faces.
What can people expect from your live performances?
Without giving too much away, they will see the stuff that they love, the things that they voted for. The original music and me performing. It’s the same for everybody on the tour.
Are you looking forward to seeing everyone again?
Absolutely. I’ve been having withdrawal symptoms from that house. I adored being surrounded by everyone who share the same passions as you do. It’s just going to be so cool.
Is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing perform every night?
Kevin Davy White is insanely good. He’s the nicest person. When he gets on a stage he becomes this massive rock star. He’s great.
There’s a whole range of different musical styles on the tour then?
Especially this year. We’ve probably got a bit of everything. I don’t think there’s anybody that got through to the live shows this year that was similar. It’s amazing.
So what’s next for you as an artist?
I’m writing the album at the moment. I started just after Christmas. I’ll be cracking on with that. I’d like to get it out this year, but I can’t promise anything. It depends how long it takes, but it’s going to be really cool.
Catch Grace Davies on the The X Factor Live Tour 2018 on the following dates:
16 February 2018 – The SSE Arena, Belfast
17 February 2018 – 3Arena, Dublin
19 February 2018 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
20 February 2018 – Manchester Arena, Manchester
22 February 2018 – Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
23 February 2018 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
24 February 2018 – The SSE Arena, London (matinee & evening shows)
25 February 2018 – Genting Arena, Birmingham (matinee only)
27 February 2018 – Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth
28 February 2018 – Echo Arena, Liverpool
1 March 2018 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
2 March 2018 – FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
3 March 2018 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
4 March 2018 – Brighton Centre, Brighton
Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.