Gravesend's Tamera Foster talks fame, shyness and her 'manic' X Factor life
PUBLISHED: 12:36 18 November 2013 | UPDATED: 14:49 18 November 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Belting out Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing in front of an arena full of expectant fans is a moment that will stick in the mind of Gravesend's Tamera Foster for long time.
It was the beginning of a whirlwind few months that have seen her catapulted into every tabloid and gossip magazine across the UK, and could end with her grabbing a Christmas number one.
The 16-year-old The X Factor star made it through to another week in the live finals on Saturday, despite forgetting the words to Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Forever.
Though the stage has become her home, Tamera is still getting used to the attention.
Speaking on her way to turn on the Bluewater Christmas lights last week, she said: “It’s really weird to see my name in the paper.
“I was reading Heat magazine recently and turned the page - there I was. It’s crazy.”
The former student at Northfleet School for Girls in Hall Road, Northfleet, recently told her X Factor mentor Nicole Scherzinger that she had been a “tricky teenager”.
When asked how she deals with the negative stories in the press, she spoke with the level headed attitude of someone twice her age.
“You just have to get used to it,” she said.
Her family might argue she was destined to sing, and the young star-in-the-making says her earliest memories are of dragging a toy karaoke machine around her family home.
“My mum bought me this karaoke machine and I would wheel it around everywhere singing to my family,” she remembered.
“But I don’t think I could really sing until I was about 11. I’ve never really sang seriously, but I was in a choir when I was in primary school. Even then I never really sang in front of a lot of people.”
Since signing up for the ITV talent show, Tamera has been described as having “star quality” by judge Louis Walsh, and as possessing “stratospheric” talent by Gary Barlow.
Having originally joined the show as part of a duo, Silver Rock, she has gone from strength to strength - remaining one of the favourites to take the crown, alongside ‘the one to beat’ Sam Bailey.
Her week in the X Factor house is “manic”, with little time to spare between rehearsals, choreography and vocal training - though she does find time to visit home.
“I go home every week,” she said. “It’s very weird to get people coming up to me and asking for pictures, or my autograph, because I don’t see myself as a celebrity.”
The confident performances we see each week are the result of constant practise - but the singer said it all comes together when she gets on stage.
She said: “In rehearsals I have to admit I am a bit shy to dance in front of everyone, but the atmosphere on a Saturday night changes everything.
“There’s more people in the crowd, but I know the importance of what this is going to do for me - so I give it my all.”
Tamera will appear on the X Factor’s 10th anniversary celebration show on Saturday night from 8pm. Visit our website for regular updates on how she gets on.