Last week we had a chat with Andrea Faustini about his new album ‘Kelly’, not being able to understand X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and, of course, pugs. We also spoke very bad Italian to him, awks. Check out our chat right below.
We’re here to speak about your debut album ‘Kelly’ but before we get in to that, the burning question on everybody’s lips is do you have a pug yet?
There’s a sensible reason behind it. Since I’m here in London, I’m experiencing living alone for the first time. I’m getting my own place from August so I’ll be here on a regular basis and I think it’s sensible to learn how to look after myself first and then maybe get a pug. Because I don’t want him to die.
If you did have one, what do you think you would name it?
It’s a Italian name. I like to give dogs human names. I would call it Cesare.
Update: We had to change this part of the interview because Andrea actually tweeted us to correct us on how to spell Cesare. Awks.
Is there a song dedicated to pugs on the album? We have strong visions of a lost pug sitting on a boat for the music video for ‘The River’.
*Laughs* Well, that could be an option but there’s not a pug related song on the album, I’m afraid. But that’s not a bad idea.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, you have an album called ‘Kelly’ coming out on July 17. Do you feel like a proper popstar having your own album out?
No. I quite like not feeling like a popstar, like, I’m struggling doing these promo days. I’m very excited and I’m happy, I’m not stressed, I’m very happy. But I find it weird the idea that people would buy my album. To make an album successful, you need a lot of people and I just don’t see why people should buy my album. I’m not like ‘Oh my God, I won’t make it’, it’s just weird. Surreal.
Is it crazy to think that this time last year your X Factor audition hadn’t even aired yet and now you have your own album?
I mean, I was thinking about it two days ago. I was shooting my video for ‘Give a Little Love’ and it took the whole day. I started at 9 in the morning and finished at 9:30 at night. In the last hour I was very, very tired and there was one moment where I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I can’t take it’ but then I was like ‘Shut up. You’re very lucky. One year ago you were back home, studying for your exams and doing what every single other young person was doing’ I’m very lucky. I’ve actually realised that this is incredible. I’m very happy.
If you could only perform one song from ‘Kelly’ for the rest of your career, which would you choose and why?
This is such a good question! Oh my God. This is so hard. It’s probably… Oh my God. Well, now, like right now in this moment of my life, I would probably say ‘Give a Little Love’ because it’s my first single ever so I feel very close to the song because I think it’s going to be a very special memory for me in the future.
You’re the first act from your series of The X Factor to release an album. Does that make you feel a bit special?
Well, yeah, a little bit. But I’m very happy on the other side because I just don’t know what to expect, which is good. I don’t have big expectations, I don’t have low expectations, I don’t have any expectations at all. I’m just going with the flow.
A lot of song titles on the album reference water such as ‘It’ll All End In Tears’, ‘Evaporate’, ‘The River’, and ‘Back To The Sea’. Is there some massive secret about water that we need to know about or are we just looking into it a bit too much?
Not really, I mean, we are made 60% of water, so maybe it’s that? ‘The River’ was originally named ‘Back To The River’, but we already had ‘Back To The Sea’ so we just cut ‘Back To’.
There’s a track on the album named ‘What Would Dusty Do?’ and we’re dying to know what Dusty would do but can’t quite wait until the 17th. Can you give us any hints?
Well, what would Dusty do? I would like to know. Maybe ask Dusty, if that’s possible. That’s not possible. I quite like that song and it’s actually one of my favourite tracks on the album because it’s quite different to everything that’s on the album. I can imagine performing this track with just a few people, with just a few lights in the dark, it’s very chilled, I like it.
We can barely speak English let alone Italian so can you tell us what ‘Lascia Tutto Cosi’ (we pronounced it horrendously wrong) means because we’re very intrigued.
It means ‘Leave Everything So’. I don’t know what you’d say in English, maybe ‘Don’t Change Anything’?
There’s a cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength’ on the album which was maybe your most memorable performance from The X Factor. How did it feel recording such an iconic song for your own album?
I was so, so happy. I actually recorded it during The X Factor because it was supposed to be my winner’s single if I made the top two. It’s probably the song that took me the longest time to record because it’s a very hard song to sing. Apart from the vocals, it’s a very special meaning, it’s something very song so I remember being in the studio and struggling to find the right intention to say something. It’s been a lot of pressure, a big responsibility because it’s a Whitney song so I just wanted to do it justice. It’s on the album and I’m so, so happy and there’s a reason why it’s at the end because I just think it’s the final step of this incredible journey that started with that song so it has to be at the end.
Obviously this year’s X Factor judging panel has had a major shake-up with us losing Louis Walsh and your mentor Mel B in favour of Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw. What are your thoughts on the new line-up?
I like it. I quite like Cheryl and Simon together and I’m pretty excited about seeing Nick and Rita. I think, I don’t know why, I just think Nick is going to be so cool and I think it’s going to be interesting to see.
If you were to audition this year, which new judge would you be most nervous about performing in front of, Rita or Nick?
Probably Nick, yeah.
If you could make your own ultimate X Factor judging panel, who would you have on it?
I would choose mine, last year’s ones. It’s such a good memory for me and the all were very, very nice. Even behind the camera. They all were very involved in the show, even if Simon is busy, he’s still so involved with the show. Mel was so involved, Cheryl, Louis, everyone was involved.
We loved seeing Mel and Cheryl together, we think they worked really well together.
They were so cute together. At the beginning, I was like ‘Hmm, I don’t know if they can work together, they’re so different’ but actually, after getting to know each other, they’re so similar to each other, which isn’t what I was expecting.
Would you ever have a go at judging?
I don’t really know. Right now, I don’t think I’d be ready. I wouldn’t be ready to say ‘no’ to someone or tell them they’re not right. Nobody can say ‘you’re not right’ or ‘what you’re doing is not good’, I mean it’s just not fair, I wouldn’t be able to do it now. Maybe in a few years, why not?
There’s new hosts on the show too this year. Do you feel privileged to be one of the last ever people to get an X Factor man hug from Dermot O Leary?
I think so. He’s so lovely, he’s probably one of the most loveliest and nicest people that I’ve met since the show began. He’s so cool so I’m glad that I actually got the chance to get to know him.
Is there anything magical about a Dermot O Leary hug or does it just feel a bit like a normal hug?
It’s a normal hug. My hugs are better.
We saw you at a couple of last year’s X Factor live shows and also caught you on the X Factor Tour and were absolutely blown away. Will there be a chance to see you perform your own show anytime soon?
I hope so. We don’t have anything planned yet because it’s early days, we just have to see what happens because it’s the first album so we’re just waiting but I’m looking forward to it because it’s probably the best part of this experience, actually singing to people and I love that energy and if I could choose I probably wouldn’t perform in big venues. I like to actually see people and their eyes and I think an intimate environment would suit me best.
Speaking of The X Factor Tour, which contestant was the most fun to be on the bus with?
Mikey from Only The Young, definitely.
Was travelling on the bus any different from living in the house together?
It was so, so different. It was beautiful. I think I’ve been very lucky this year, coming from a different country. In the beginning I wasn’t understand everything, all the different accents and most of the time I was like ‘yes, yes, amazing’ and I was literally not understanding a word they were saying but they were all still being so nice to me. I’ve never seen something mean from them, they were not like ‘oh, he can’t understand anyway’. We were so lucky this year to have such a nice group, and doing the tour we actually got very close to each other. It was even better being on the bus than being in the house. Doing the show, we were so busy and we were seeing each other once a week maybe, when we were all living in the same house.
Are you still in contact with the rest of the contestants?
Yeah! We all have a group chat on Whatsapp and we’re trying to keep in touch because we’re actually friends. We all hold such a special part of our lives together, like no-one will ever understand everything we’ve been through every weekend.
Which of the judges was the most difficult to understand?
Try to guess.
Yep. Oh my God, literally. I remember in the room auditions, obviously, there are some parts they cut from the show and she asked me… I don’t know… I just understood the word ‘romantic’. I was like ‘I can’t ask her to repeat, I was thinking don’t say no, don’t say yes’ so I just came out with “Maybe” and random answers. I still don’t know if she likes me. *Laughs*
Finally, we couldn’t leave without asking the one final question – Who is Kelly?
Well, Kelly is one of the tracks on the album. Her story is very, very different to mine. Kelly loves a boy that her family doesn’t like so she leaves home to follow this boy. But I find I’m Kelly’s sort of alter-ego because she is a very strong, brave person who is leaving her home to follow her dream so I feel like the story of Kelly sums up my last year so I just had to use it as the title of the album.
Andrea Faustini releases ‘Kelly’ on July 17.