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Growing up in South Australia,
e X Factor contestant Hayley Teal called
an apple orchard home -- a fairly inauspi-
cious place to start a singing career. Nonethe-
less, Teal recalls many a night sitting around
with her family jamming, and the singer wrote
her first song at the age of nine. By eleven, she
and a girlfriend had embraced girl power to
the full to start their own band and, well, Teal
hasn't really looked back since.
After playing round the traps in Adelaide for
a number of years, Teal even managed to secure
a distribution deal and release an album on
her own, Parkway Road, but it wasn't until this
year, at the urging of her partner Izzy, that she
decided to take a crack at world domination by
auditioning for The X Factor.
After travelling all the way from Adelaide to
Brisbane for her audition, Teal blew away the
judges with her rendition of Alicia Keys' 'How
Come You Don't Call Me' scoring herself a fast
track to the next round and also surprising a
few of the punters and Judge Kyle Sandilands
along the way... by coming out about her rela-
tionship with a girl...
"It's not like I went on the show to make
some kind of statement," says Teal. "It was just
that he asked me did 'I have a boyfriend?' and I
just corrected him...
"I didn't want to be dishonest. I just want to
be open and honest about who I am and my re-
lationship is very important to me and I wasn't
going to deny it..."
Fortunately for the singer there has been
no backlash from the general public about her
sexual preferences -- in fact she says it's been
the opposite - calling it "a positive experience"
saying that "most people's reactions have been
Still, Teal hopes people will focus on her
singing rather than her sexuality -- The X Factor
is a singing competition after all; but she does
confess to missing her girlfriend, and is fortu-
nate in that her galpal is so dedicated to the
singer that she makes the trip up to show her
support each weekend.
"She comes to the shows every week -- she's
really supportive -- she's got tee shirts and
Meanwhile Teal is coming to terms with the
pressure of putting on a live show each week.
The most challenging aspect? Learning the
songs. Like most of the contestants, Hayley has
a good grounding in music having learned pi-
ano as a kid "but my theory isn't all that good
these days." So learning a new song if it's unfa-
miliar can get a little hairy... "When we go into
production on Tuesday and talk with Nat and
work out the arrangements, you really have to
make sure you get it right because after that it's
too late to make changes..."
She describes working with mentor Natalie
Imbruglia as "great". "She's on the phone with
us every day. She's very focused and driven. We
think she's the most competitive of all the judg-
es -- which is good, because I think it makes us
all feel like she really cares about how we do
every week and she really wants us to win."
As for her own singing style, Teal admits a
fondness for RnB and cites Alicia Keys, Key-
shia Cole and Tina Arena amongst her favour-
ites although she realises The X Factor is more
about showing how versatile they can be as art-
ists than their musical preferences. "We don't
get to choose the songs -- so it can be hard -- but
I know the kind of direction I want to take as
Nonetheless Teal appreciates the big career boost
she is getting from appearing on the TV screens of
millions of Australians each week... "I'm just really
focused on getting as much as I can out of this and
when I get eliminated I want to know I've done my
best and taken it as far as I can."
So what has been the most challenging aspect of
doing the show?
"Being away from my family and my girlfriend,"
says Hayley. "And living in a house with so many
people. You can imagine, at the beginning 17 musi-
cians all together in one house... so many dramatic
personalities in one place..."
At the time of writing, Hayley was in the
remaining top seven contestants of The X Factor.
If she's still in the comp when you read this, do
the girl a favour; pick up the phone and vote!
X marks the spot
The X Factor's it girl, Hayley Teal talks, music, life and love...
The X Factor contestant Hayley Teal thinks a roadcase makes the perfect resting place.
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