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Why I Finally Feel I've Beaten My Demons in 2011

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It is at this point hurtling towards Christmas that many of us look back over the year with nostalgia, and with a new year just around the corner we start planning our New Year's resolutions and how to improve our lives.

2011, has in many respects, been one of the best years of my life so far. And what a year it's been.

The highlights are endless, too many to mention. It's not just performing in countries round the world that is exhilarating, it's also the many things that happen behind closed doors when I return home to Blackburn, Scotland.

This year I have been lucky enough to visit China and perform on China's Got Talent, to a stadium of 60,000. Words will never fully describe the bursting pride you feel and excitement when 60,000 people are cheering and clapping. It hooks you and leaves you wanting more live performances.

The documentary was a risk, having cameras there following every moment of your life, even the most mundane. A risk because once at home I enjoy my privacy, the moments I can reflect and where I can really be myself. I have to say cleaning my house and making cups of tea I felt would send viewers into a deep sleep but I trusted Osca, and that is what drove me through the process.

This year I have also done a lot more interviews with the press. I have always been very nervous of speaking with journalists. In 2009, through the whirlwind of Britain's Got Talent, suddenly being under a spotlight and analysed, I became afraid. However, I put that fear to one side and decided to sit down with journalists and open up. It was hard, unearthing deep wounds of my childhood, but much like the documentary, if people knew me and had a better insight, then hopefully that would bring understanding and acceptance.

I have actually enjoyed interviews this year and although it is still a nerve wracking process having to bear your soul to those you have only just met, in many ways it has been cathartic. I never realised I had so much I wanted to say and my fear had only led to frustration as I hadn't voiced my opinions.

America, one of my most favourite places to visit, felt like I was returning home. The beautiful Los Angeles, where I returned to perform on shows that I had done in previous years and New York, with all it's hustle, bustle and noise - it truly is the city that never sleeps. Returning back to the familiar surroundings of the hotels and the familiar faces of the crew on the shows is great. Although I will always suffer from nerves pre-performance having the familiar around helps ease the adrenaline.

I managed to visit Australia. I have always wanted to visit but never ever thought for a second I would make it there in my lifetime. It was a spectacular place and spending five days in Sydney was great to promote my album Someone To Watch Over Me. The bridge, the opera house, sailing round the harbour with fans, performing on Australian X Factor and talking to different journalists was truly great. In a short space of time, we packed so much in and it was fantastic - it was a country I could happily move to a buy a new holiday home - my retirement plan.

I've spent a lot more time in the community at home in Blackburn, opening Gala Day and visiting schools to watch performances and shows. I'm being invited to so many different things at home now that I have a proper social life.

I think this leads to a place where I finally feel accepted. Accepted by my fans, accepted by the press who have mostly stopped with the constant barrage and negative stories, accepted by my friends, family and neighbours. In truth I feel I now belong.

It is this acceptance and the feeling of belonging that has helped me lay my demons to rest.

This is really the first time that I feel confident and blessed. It's taken a while to learn how to be happy and enjoy what I am doing. I was so scared it would all come to an abrupt ending that I stopped looking at the positives and enjoying the moments and focused too much on the negatives.

My insecurities were building day by day in a vice-like grip, but after a good talking to I'm learning to be happy, learning to accept what my life has become, learning to control my temper and above all enjoying the moments I am experiencing now.

Meeting so many different people from all walks of life has had a profound effect on me and experiencing the genuine support and love means more to me than counting the number of records sold. It is their happiness and positivity that drives me forward. I want to continue making albums and performing for them.

As for what 2012 will hold, well apart from a musical and a new album, the rest is unknown and now for me the unknown is intoxicating. I am capable of so much more and if I keep pushing my own boundaries and strive for my dreams then hopefully I will be able to continue in the profession that I love.

To all of you, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let's all of us be determined to make 2012 a wonderful time despite all that is going on in the world.

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