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Gifty Louise: Life after The X-Factor

IN THE ZONE: Gifty Louise says that leaving The X Factor earlier than she wanted to has worked in her favour

IT'S BEEN two years since Gifty Louise appeared on The X Factor. Her vocals impressed the judges and the viewers, but she was eliminated in a shock result.

Gifty believes her exit from the show was premature, and considering her talent and who she lost out to, it’s hard to disagree. But Gifty has no regrets.

“Honestly, I feel like me coming off the show at that point was the best decision ever.


And I say that because I feel like, you know they say this thing about the winner’s curse of The X Factor – those who win or those who come second that they don’t really do as well as the other people – and I feel like me coming off the show at that time just gave me a lot more time than the others to kind of just work more,” she tells The Voice.

When asked if she still watches the show, Gifty quickly answers ‘no’, which is immediately followed by a hearty laugh. “No, I don’t watch the show. I think this year, I only watched it for like one episode because my brother was on it,” she says.

Her brother, Armstrong Martins, made it through to the live shows but was eliminated in the first round. Gifty describes it as another shock exit and says she has a lot of thoughts about it – but stops herself from talking about it further.

Like many black female contestants on reality shows, she was branded with the negative stereotype of the ‘angry black woman’ – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In fact, similarly to many black women who get unfairly associated with the trope, Gifty is strong, passionate and confident. What’s more, she’s unapologetic and thick-skinned – all qualities which rile haters and trolls.

She says: “I feel like in this industry, or just in life in general as a black female, you can’t really express how you feel. You can only express when you’re happy, but the moment there’s an opposite, it’s kind of perceived as, ‘Oh, you’re being aggressive; don’t attack me; you’re attacking, oh, just keep your voice down’.

The 22-year-old describes herself as a fun, confident character and those attributes definitely exude from her in person. But she’s aware her personal- ity traits can be misinterpreted.

“I feel like sometimes my confidence is perceived as arrogance, sometimes, and like, ‘Oh, she’s just so full of herself’. But one thing I always let people know is that I am very confident in my craft.”

While she may demand the room’s attention now, she reveals that wasn’t always the case. Losing her mum in a car accident at a young age unsurprisingly had a profound impact on her.

“Growing up I was actually not like this. I was silent. I was an emotional wreck. Let’s just say that, because after losing my mum I just went off the rails. I was just like a completely different person,” she says.

Many young women will find Gifty inspirational for having overcome so much, so young and for now refusing to dim her light. Her faith, a central part of her life, has helped her deal with it all. But that doesn’t mean you should expect to hear any Gospel songs on her new EP, Have It All.

The singer’s approach to creating music that’s compatible with her faith hasn’t tied her down to manifesting her musicality with a genre that’s an obvious choice or openly references her religious beliefs.

And there’s one person at her church whose opinion has been particularly helpful.


“My pastor’s very supportive of my career. He’s very, very supportive,” she says. “He’s heard the whole EP – he loves it.”

She adds: “In every single decision that I make in terms of like music and my career and stuff like that, I always ask for his feedback.”

Her hiatus has had people constantly questioning when she will release new music and now the time has come. “In the past two years I have literally just been in the studio working on my EP just making sure everything is perfect, finding me, finding my sound, finding what kind of artist I want to be and just perfecting that,” she says.

Her sound, which she describes as commercial, likening herself mostly to Not3s and Kojo Funds, can be heard clearly in her debut.
She says it’s taken so long to release new music because it’s a such difficult process.

“You’re baring your soul, literally, into this music that you’re making. You’re being vulnerable. You’re showing people a different side to you and it can be very difficult.”

Have It All is out now

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