Tufnell Park’s Sophie Habibis speaks about life a year on from X Factor

She’s hard at work on a new album and single

She was thrust into the public eye by The X Factor and performed before audiences of millions week after week, not to mention the show’s notorious judges.

Now, as the TV talent quest returns to the public’s screens, Tufnell Park-based finalist Sophie Habibis spoke to the Gazette about life after the show.

It has been 12 months since she was plucked from obscurity – and her bar job at the Whittington Stone pub in Archway – and taken under the wing of mentor and Destiny’s Child megastar Kelly Rowland.

While the whirlwind has inevitably settled somewhat, the talented 20-year-old is still pursuing her singing dream.

She is hard at work on her first album and releases a charity single in November to raise funds for children with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, a debilitating condition that causes muscle weakness in boys.

She says: “It’s a condition where young boys, from about the age of five, start losing the ability to walk. Hopefully we can raise a bit of money to help these boys and their families.

Most Read

“I still do quite a few gigs, anything from weddings to Bar Mitzvahs.

“I’m also focusing on making an album, which will come out next year. I think people will be a little bit surprised. It’s soul but poppy – I have a soul voice and that’s the music I love. I hope everyone keeps following and supporting.”

Reflecting on her time on The X Factor, Sophie is entirely positive about the experience.

“Of course it changed my life,” she says. “Everything started going up, I started getting recognised and stuff like that. It’s a lovely feeling – getting recognised for something positive.

“It boosted my confidence and my belief in myself. Things changed quite drastically – though they do go back to normality.

“I still live at home with my parents, I still spend time with my friends and I go to the same places.

“But I had a great experience, I made lots of wonderful friends and worked with amazing people I never thought I’d be able to meet.”

She says she keeps in closest contact with fellow contestant Craig Colton – but she hasn’t spoken to Rowland lately.

“We did have a fair few long chats and she was really nice,” she says.

“She did say if I need any help, to get in contact. But I always try to do everything myself, unless it’s absolutely necessary. Sometimes it’s my downfall.”

As for her old day job, though she visited the pub recently, she has no plans to get back behind the bar.

She said: “I did love it, it’s a social job and was great at the time. But now I have better options!”