How To Fail With Elizabeth Day

S10, Ep3 How to Fail: Alexandra Burke

February 17, 2021

Alexandra Burke shot to fame as the 2008 winner of The X Factor. She became the first British female solo artist to have a million-selling single and went on to have a successful career as both a recording artist and a performer: her lead roles in the stage adaptations of The Bodyguard and Sister Act met with rave reviews.

But behind the public profile were private battles: her beloved mother was dying, she was subjected to racism in the music industry and her story was frequently misreported in the media. Alexandra joins me to talk about managing this difficult duality and what it taught her about her own strength and resilience. She tells me about never thinking she's good enough, learning how to set boundaries, losing herself in relationships, failing to put herself first and the grief of losing her mum. We also talk about how, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, she chose to speak out about the racism she endured and the impact this had on her.

I'm not sure I've ever connected with someone as instantly as I did with Alexandra! She's an amazing, vibrant, warm-hearted soul who understands that being open about her failures is actually the key to self-growth. This is one of the most emotional episodes I've ever recorded. I'm so grateful to Alex for the beautiful gift of her vulnerability. Listen to be moved (and perhaps have some tissues nearby).


Failosophy: A Handbook for when Things Go Wrong is out now and available to buy here.


How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is hosted by Elizabeth Day, produced by Naomi Mantin and Chris Sharp. We love hearing from you! To contact us, email


Social Media:

Elizabeth Day @elizabday

How To Fail @howtofailpod 

Alexandra Burke @alexandraburke


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