From the enduring pop star machine that is Simon Cowell's empire, Walthamstow, England's Fleur East was a competitor on season 11 of the U.K.
X Factor (coming in second to winner Ben Haenow
), performing a notable rendition of Mark Ronson
and Bruno Mars
' ubiquitous 2015 hit "Uptown Funk." She had previously starred on the show a decade earlier in 2005 as a part of the girl group Addictiv Ladies. In the time between appearances, she attended Queen Mary University in London, studying journalism and contemporary history. She signed with Strictly Rhythm in 2012 and released the She EP, which included covers of Frank Ocean
. After the 2014 season of The X Factor, she signed with Cowell's Syco Music
label and began recording her first full-length album. Late 2015 saw the release of the lead single "Sax," a horn-heavy throwback combination of peak-era Michael Jackson
and "Uptown" funk. Her debut, Love, Sax & Flashbacks, was released in December of that year. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi