It’s easy to think you know someone when they’ve been in your living room every weekend for three months. But there’s far more to Louisa Johnson than met the eye when, at 17, she became The X Factor’s youngest-ever winner — and she’s recorded an album to prove it.
Louisa spent 2016 working with a dream cast of writers and producers on songs that capture her infectious spontaneity (she’s still only 18) while also doing justice to a decade’s worth of work and determination. Coming along for the ride are artists like Clean Bandit and other special guests, as well as tunesmiths like Ali Tamposi (Justin Bieber, Beyoncé), Chelcee Grimes (Olly Murs), Burns (Britney, Calvin Harris), Ed Drewett (One Direction, Little Mix), J Kash (Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor) and Steve Mac (Jess Glynne, Charli XCX, Selena Gomez). The results are as varied as Louisa’s own musical tastes. “I don't just like one style of music,” she reasons, “so I didn't want an album where every song sounded the same. I wanted to mix it up.”
After her X Factor win Louisa got to work. Her first post-X Factor release came a little earlier than expected, after Clean Bandit sent over a demo of a track they’d been working on. “Grace from the band said they’d first seen me when they were at a gig overseas watching The X Factor in the dressing room,” Louisa remembers, “and as soon as I heard ‘Tears’ it was an immediate yes.” One of that song’s first performances was at Wembley Stadium, in front of 80,000 people, on a bill that also included Ariana Grande and Little Mix. “That performance was a huge moment for me,” Louisa remembers. “I felt so lucky. But I also felt, for the first time, like this was actually IT.”
Louisa spent the rest of 2016 working on her debut album with a handpicked group of writers and producers. First song out of the gates was ‘So Good’, whose lyrics most of us recognise all too well: you’ve got to work the next day, but your friends convince you to stay out for just one drink. “Except it never ends up with one drink, does it?” Louisa laughs. “We'll always find somewhere that's open until 3am. And then of course the next day you're completely done.”
Flash forward to 2017 and Louisa’s only taking steps in the right direction, with the hits ‘Tears’ and ‘So Good’ laying solid foundations for a debut album set for release this year that fizzes with talent, ambition and massive tunes.