- Before I started singing I loved playing football & all I wanted to become was a professional footballer. I had played with my local football team, Wishaw Wycombe, since I was 5 and loved football that much and that was all I ever wanted to do. When I was 8, I had an accident when playing football; an accident that would change my life forever!
- I was just about to start a game and had got warmed up & was all ready to go. We were all set & I passed the ball then fell to the ground. I didn’t remember a thing after that moment. I woke up to find myself on a trolley, covered in blood, and I didn’t know what had happened. All I knew was that I wanted to get back up and onto the park to play. I got rushed to hospital and I found out later that I had suffered a cardiac arrest; I died on the football pitch. After loads of tests, I was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome.At such a young age, I didn’t understand what all of this meant but my parents did. My Mum & Dad and the rest of my family were totally heartbroken and did not know what to do. They were happy that I was still there and living but they just could not get their head around why this had happened to their son.
The doctors told me I would need to take it easy for a while. I had to take time off school to recover, I couldn’t do PE at school, I couldn’t go running around on my bike, I couldn’t stay over at my friends and…NO FOOTBALL! I didn’t get why they were telling me this and I was heartbroken. I then had to quit football for a year or so. It was so hard to do but I kept getting told it was for the better.
2 years on, I was feeling much better but still wasn’t playing football. My Mum asked me to sing at my little sisters birthday party. I never really sang a lot before; it was only when my Mum made me and when I was getting some money for it! So at my little sisters party, the whole family were round and my Mum made me sing in front of them all. It was the hardest thing ever because they had never heard me sing before. I sang “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion – it was the only song that I knew at the time because that’s all my Mum played around the house! When I finished singing my family were shocked as they couldn’t believe I could sing. My Mum said “I always knew my Nicholas could sing. He always used to sing his heart out in the back of the car in his baby seat!”
My brother Kevin had recorded me singing and Mum showed it to the primary school teachers. Around this time I was just about to leave primary school and move into high school. My primary school were having a leaving party and asked me to sing at it. At first I said no but after a while I was made to it….singing in front of your school mates is never cool!!! It was so hard but after I sang all my friends said I was so good and should go & audition for Britain’s Got Talent.
One morning, a couple of months later, my Mum came into my room and told me I had an audition for Britain’s Got Talent in 2 weeks time. I didn’t have a clue what she was on about because I didn’t sign myself up for it! I later found out it was my head teacher at my primary school – I still haven’t forgiven her to this day haha!! 2 weeks passed & I went into the SECC for this audition thinking that I wouldn’t even get through the first round.
Well surprise surprise, I made it all the way down to the live shows in London but didn’t get through but Simon Cowell said to me “Nicholas, come back in 2 years time and you could win this show”. After I left the show I thought to myself “Well I must be an OK singer if Simon said that.”
My Mum started getting me singing lessons; at first I wasn’t 100% about it but after a while it started to pay off. My Mum & Dad bought me loads of singing equipment to start doing gigs around my local area. I got my 1st gig in Dalziel Park; I was so scared because this was my first time singing on my own in front of people I didn’t know. The gig went well though and the owner asked me to come back. After a while people started hearing me and were booking me for loads of different things like weddings / pubs etc. I really enjoyed doing these gigs but I felt like no one was really listening to me.
After 2 years of gigging in these pubs I started to not enjoy it because I was 16 and at the weekends all my friends would be going out partying and having a good time whereas I would be singing in a pub full of drunken men & women. After a while I did get sick of it and was thinking about giving up singing and getting a normal job. I thought about it so much because I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with my singing.
- One night I was in my bed about 2 in the morning and I was on my laptop watching videos because I was bored and I thought to myself “Why don’t I sign up for X Factor?”. I had always been a massive fan of the show and my family & I loved sitting in on a Saturday night watching it. It was always the highlight of the week and something to look forward to. I never heard anything from X Factor for a while then one day I got an email saying I had an audition at the SECC in Glasgow. I was really, REALLY nervous and didn’t know what to expect!The day of the audition came and I was sooo nervous it was unreal!! I had my family and friends with me to support me; they’ve always supported me, but this was the biggest day yet! I was sitting in the main hall of the SECC with thousands of people wanting to do well in the show. I looked around and thought to myself “I’ve no chance.” As always my family & friends were believing in me & kept telling me that I was going to do well. I got through the 1st mini audition but the bigger ones had yet to come…..
- Room Audition: You Raise Me Up
- Before you know it, my 1st live audition in front of the judges came. This time, everything got real. From watching it on a Saturday night to actually being on the show itself, it was so weird. There I was standing in front of the judges! I got through the first round but only got 3 yes’s as Gary said I was too young and was not ready for it. In the next round I wanted to show Gary I was MORE than ready for it and show him how much I wanted it! A couple of months later I travelled down to London on a bus with my family and friends. I was scared in case I went all the way down there with them & I never got through. Thank goodness I did and Gary changed his mind and told me that I could do really well on the show. That gave me so much more confidence to do better for the next round.
- Arena Audition: A Thousand Years
- Boot camp came and that year they changed it a little – they stuck 6 seats on the stage and each act that did well got one but at any time an act could get kicked off the seat and replaced with someone else. Before I went on, all 6 seats were taken and I was the last boy to sing. I wanted to do so well but being the last person to sing and having to do it in front of 5000 people and 4 massive judges; safe to say I was bricking it LOL!! I stepped onto the stage & everyone went mad and I started singing “I Won’t Give Up.” Halfway through the song I threw my mic stand to the ground (I don’t know why LOL) but I just wanted to show everyone how much I wanted this and how much it meant to me. When I finished singing Louis said I did really well and that was the best he had ever heard me sing. I was so happy that he said that but in the back of my mind I knew that all the seats were taken up. Louis said “Nicholas, you have a seat.” I was so happy and started crying with happiness. I got a seat and could not believe it! I was actually going to judges houses!
- Bootcamp Audition: I Won’t Give Up
- A few months later the other 5 acts & I met up at Gatwick Airport. There was me, Sam, Luke, Paul, Ryan & Giles. We didn’t know where we were going or what we were doing! The producers told us that we would find out where we were going…..we were off to St Tropez in France. I had never been there there before in my life but I was so excited to go and hopefully get through to the next round. We landed in St Tropez; the sun was splitting the trees and everyone was buzzing! When we arrived at our hotel it was stunning. We went down to the beach for a bit to do some filming and after that we went to the house to start singing for Louis and the other judges. I was 3rd to go up and sing & was sooo nervous! I was singing “If You’re Not The One”. I started singing and I just wanted to let everything free and just let go for those couple of minutes, forget about everything and sing my heart out and show them how much I wanted it.
- I finished singing and starting crying (a lot LOL!!) I think the reason for that was because I had a moment when I thought to myself about where I was, what I was doing and it was a little too much for me to take it in and everything got too overwhelming. When I finished Nicole & Sinitta came up & gave me a massive hug and told me that I did really well and that they knew how much it meant to me. I had gotten this far and really didn’t want to go home; the thought of going home killed me as I wanted it so much! Louis told us that he would tell us his decision the next day.Me & the other boys left the house and went back to the hotel. Heading back on the bus I was thinking about how far I had come on the show; how one minute I was watching it with friends & family and now being on it! It was mind blowing! That night I couldn’t sleep at all just thinking I could be going home with a NO. The next day we were up very early and I was very tired because I never slept the full night. The build up to the decision was so intense and everyone was feeling the pressure. All of us boys wanted to do well but there was only 3 people going through to the live shows. All the other boys & I got sat in a room together and were told that we would be called one by one to find out our fate. Everyone was feeling it at this point; we were sitting there for about 2 hours but it felt like 10! You felt every second. Every minute. Every hour. It was my time to be taken; my nerves were sky high! I didn’t know what to think. I had gotten this far and didn’t want to go home with a no. Louis looked at me, said “Nicholas, sit down” and then asked how I was feeling today and I said that the show meant the world to me and I wanted it so much. He said that he didn’t know if I had the showmanship for the show or the confidence. I then started crying (AGAIN!!!) and he asked me if I was ready for the show and I told him that I was more than ready. He said “Nicholas, I have made my decision”. There was a long pause that felt like a lifetime. I had waited and waited for this moment for years. He then stood up and said “Sorry, but you’re going through to the live shows!” My legs turned to jelly and I fell back onto the seat. I could not believe it! I made the live shows!! I was just completely overwhelmed by everything! Off camera, Louis said that he wanted me to come out of my shell more and show more of me.On the flight home, I was just thinking about everything; I couldn’t get my head around it. The producers told me when I got on the flight that my Mum & Dad were waiting in arrivals but they didn’t know if I had gotten through or not and I had to tell them. I was walking through arrivals and I looked up and saw my Mum & Dad and I just shook my head and told them I didn’t get through. 2 seconds later I put my head back up and I shouted out “I got through!!” The two of them ran towards me & gave me a massive hug; they just could not believe it…..they were so proud of me!
- Judges Houses: If You’re Not The One
- Time flew by and before you knew it, I was moving into the house with the rest of the acts. It was my 1st time away from home away from my parents. It was so weird but I was so excited to continue this amazing journey! The 1st week came and I was singing a song called “True” by Spandau Ballet. I didn’t know who this band was was; I thought they were called Spandex Belly! I had never heard the song before but I was ready for a challenge! The 1st week went past and I got through to the next week. Before you knew it, I was all the way up to week 8! I could not believe people were actually picking up the phone and voting for me! For week 8, the public had to pick the song I sang. It was between “Just The Way You Are”, “The Prayer” & “Amazed” and everyone picked “Just The Way You Are”. I was so happy that they had picked this song because it was my little sisters favourite song.
- Live Shows Week 1: True
- The weeks were flying past and I couldn’t believe how far I had come. I was so thankful for everyone supporting me. It came down to the final 3 people; Me, Luke & Sam and I was going to be singing in the Wembley arena! It was a dream come true! The build up to the final came & I could not believe that out of 95 thousand boys who auditioned, I was down to the final 2 boys; it was such a massive achievement! The Saturday night came and Sam got through first and it was down to Luke & I. I really did think that Luke would get through. When Dermot called my name, I couldn’t believe it! I was actually going into the X Factor FINAL!
- Live Shows Week 2: She’s The One
- On the way home from the arena I took a moment and had a little think to myself and how far I had come on my journey. From doing gigs in bars & pubs to singing in Wembley and in front of 10 thousand people and over 10 million watching at home – it was just too much to take in. If it was not for my family and friends supporting me so much I would not have made it; I could never pay them back for everything they have done for me. That night, I could not get to sleep. My phone was going crazy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everyone texting me saying well done. The support was overwhelming.
- Live Shows Week 3: Angel
- Live Shows Week 4: Rock With You
- Live Shows Week 5: Dream A Little Dream
- Live Shows Week 6: Someone Like You
- Live Shows Week 7: The Climb
- Live Shows Week 8: Just The Way You Are
- Live Shows Week 8: Greatest Day
- Live Shows Week 9: Halo
- Live Shows Week 9: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
- Sunday came and we were up very early getting ready for the big final. We arrived at the arena and we were doing loads of filming, phone interviews & running over the songs & outfits etc. It took me so long to get ready with hair, make up and getting my clothes ready & everything. The first song I sang was “Candy”. I felt like a big kid in a toy store LOL! It was so weird because when I came off stage I was bumping into the One Direction boys & Katy Perry and stuff! It was all just utter craziness! The next song I was going to sing was “Flying Without Wings” and that was a duet with Shane Filan. I loved singing this song and was so excited to sing it with him. At the end of the song, I took out my ear pieces and heard the roar from the crowd! It gave me goosebumps! It was another dream come true singing with Shane.
- Live Shows Week 10: Candy
- When I came off the stage after singing I went into the green room to chill for a while. Someone knocked on the door and said to me that Sir Elton John wanted to meet me. At first I thought it was Xtra Factor winding me up & taking the mick! But it wasn’t; he actually wanted to meet me! I could not believe it! When I was walking round to meet him, I couldn’t think straight. I didn’t know what to say to him or ask him or anything! I walked into his dressing room and could not believe my eyes; there he was just chilling on his seat chatting away to friends. He said “Nicholas, you have done so well in this show. Thank you so much for singing my song, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, on the show. You were amazing at it and made me very proud.” I didn’t know what to say to him; I was starstruck for once! After a while I got used to it and we were just chatting away about music & stuff. He said to me, “Nicholas, one day I would love to work with you.” What he said to me will stay with me forever.
- Live Shows Week 10: Flying Without Wings
- I had one more song to sing and it was my winners song “Superman”. This was my last chance to prove myself to everyone. The time finally came for the winner to be announced. Sam, Sharon, Louis & I were standing behind the door; we were all VERY nervous! We walked out together holding hands; we didn’t know who would win. Dermot O’Leary said “The public have voted and the winner of the X Factor 2013 is………SAM!” I was sooo happy for Sam but at the same time I was gutted. But I just thought to myself out of 95 thousand boys who went onto the show, I got down to the last one and for that couple of minutes I felt proud of myself.
- Live Shows Week 10: Superman
- The whole X Factor was a crazy rollercoaster with all the ups & the downs of the shows. I went from being a nobody to singing in front of 10 million people. My life completely changed. And changed for the better! I am so blessed and thankful for everything that X Factor has given me and for all the support that my friends & family have given.To everyone reading this, thank you, because you are the people who picked up the phone and voted for me. If it was not for you guys, I would not have got that far in the show. I can’t thank you guys enough; you all mean the world to me.Straight after the show I got a record deal with RCA and brought out my 1st album on 17th March. My album went to number 6 in the UK charts and to number 1 in the Scottish charts. Yet again, another dream come true! And it’s all down to you, my Nicksters! Since then, I’ve been gigging all over the country, making TV appearances and I am now an ambassador for 3 major charity’s, raising money & awareness for them.
And now I am in the studio working on my second album and new single. It’s all for you guys, my fans. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me since the show and followed me since day one; you guys mean so much to me.
One final, special thank you to all my Nicksters for believing in me.
Dream. Believe. Achieve.