Number of songs: 1 | Total weeks on charts: 89 Appearing in a total number of: 8 charts | Total period running: 145 days
Fleur East (born 29 October 1987), also known mononymously as Fleur, is a British recording artist. She competed on the second series of televised singing competition The X Factor in 2005 as a member of the girl group Addictiv Ladies. In 2012, she launched a solo career with the record label Strictly Rhythm and released songs with dance musicians including DJ Fresh and Drumsound & Bassline Smith.
East returned to The X Factor as a solo artist in 2014 for its eleventh series, where she placed runner-up. She became the show's first contestant to reach number one on the UK iTunes Store chart during the competition with her performance of "Uptown Funk" (originally by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars). In 2015, she signed to Syco Music and began work on a full-length album.
East was born to a Ghanaian mother and an English father and raised in Walthamstow. She has a younger sister named Keshia. She attended Holy Family Technology College in Walthamstow and Queen Mary University of London, where she studied journalism and contemporary history. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, East said she was the victim of racism in childhood, with one child asking her "Are you black or white?".
East was in the girl group Addictiv Ladies, who were on series 2 of The X Factor in 2005, mentored by Simon Cowell, but were eliminated in week 1 after ending up in the bottom two with Chico Slimani. She was introduced to drum-and-bass producer DJ Fresh through her manager in 2011, and Fresh subsequently hired her as a vocalist for a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge sessions of his on14 July 2011, where they covered Swedish House Mafia's song "Save the World". In 2012, she featured on Fresh's song "Turn It Up" from his album Nextlevelism and toured extensively with him in 2012, including performances at T4 on the Beach, V Festival and the iTunes Festival.
East signed to the record label Strictly Rhythm in January 2012 and released two singles as the lead artist (credited as Fleur): "Broken Mirror" with Cutline and "Turn the Lights On" (produced by Culture Shock). She also featured on "The One" by Horx and P3000. In 2013, she featured on Drumsound & Bassline Smith's "One in a Million", which entered the UK Singles Chart at number 53, and headlined the Miss Face of Africa EU ceremony in London. In December 2013, she self-released her debut EP She for free download. One of the EP tracks, "Super Rich Royals", is a mashup cover of "Super Rich Kids" by Frank Ocean and "Royals" by Lorde.
East worked as a waitress at the London nightclub Aura Mayfair to help support her music career, and was also a fitness model with the agency W Athletic, but struggled with her finances. She later said that by early 2014, she was "definitely depressed" and considering ending her music career, until her friends and relatives encouraged her to audition for The X Factor.
In June 2014, East auditioned for the eleventh series of The X Factor. She sang John Legend's "Ordinary People" in her room audition, where she received three "yes" votes and progressed through to the arena auditions. She sang Chris Brown's "Fine China" at the arena and progressed to the boot camp stage. East made it past the six chair challenge and through to the judges' houses stage in the "Over 25s" category, mentored by Simon Cowell once again, to whom she performed "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. Cowell chose East for the live shows, alongside Jay James and eventual winner Ben Haenow.
In week 9 of the live shows, East performed "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, a rendition The Guardian 's Stuart Heritage described as "truly astonishing... Fleur barged in and left the competition in ruins. It was two minutes and 53 seconds of all-out attack; possibly the biggest moment that any (Simon) Cowell show has produced since we first met Susan Boyle, only this was even more surprising because we already knew Fleur, and this far she’d merely been adequate." Popjustice declared it "the most exciting moment of the entire series [...] Whichever act wins The X Factor this coming weekend, Fleur’s now established herself as the one who deserves and will undoubtedly get The Full Ella (FKA The Full Leona) when it comes to career rollout." East's version went to number one on the UK iTunes Store, which led the original song to be released five weeks earlier than planned; it subsequently reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. In week 10, the show's final, East was announced as the runner-up in the competition, losing to fellow over-25 Ben Haenow with 34.3% of the votes to Haenow's 57.2%.
In January 2015, East announced that she had signed to Cowell's record label Syco Music. She has been recording her debut album with musicians including Wayne Hector, The Invisible Men, Jack Splash, and TMS. She announced in July 2015 that she had been working on her first fashion collection with women's fashion brand Lipsy London. "Sax", the lead single from her debut album, will be released in November 2015. Her debut album, titled Love, Sax and Flashbacks, is set to be released on 4 December.
East describes her music as "urban-inspired with a few twists" and lists Janet Jackson, Ciara, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Sade, Emeli Sandé, Jessie Ware, and Florence Welch among her inspirations. East's early solo work was heavily influenced by drum and bass artists including Netsky and Matrix & Futurebound.