Alexandra Burke opens up about honouring late mum’s legacy with The Spring Ball

Virgin Radio

15 May 2024, 12:08

Alexandra Burke and mum Melissa Bell

Credit: Instagram (@Alexandraburke)

Singer Alexandra Burke has spoken out about the way she continues her late mum’s hard work with her upcoming Spring Ball. 

The X Factor winner’s mother, Melissa Bell, was a singer in her own right, performing with Soul II Soul and working with some of the biggest names in music, including Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. 

Melissa sadly passed away in 2017 after suffering from a series of strokes, and in a bid to keep her memory going, Alexandra started the Melissa Bell Foundation



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The charity aims to provide young people with opportunities to enter the creative arts via scholarships at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

The Spring Ball, taking place tonight (15th May) will feature plenty of famous faces including Ronan Keating and Denise Van Outen performing live sets, all to raise money for the Melissa Bell Foundation. 

Speaking exclusively to, Alexandra explained how the Spring Ball came around and why it’s still so important to continue raising awareness in her mum’s name. 

She explained: “I do the Spring Ball with my really good friend Nick Ede, and we came together because both of our mums sadly passed away because of strokes.

“I think it's really important to keep it up because it's something that's not really spoken about, and my mum, in terms of her foundation, Melissa Bell Foundation, we try to give underprivileged kids a chance to go to Sylvia Young [Theatre School] and give them a summer scholarship and in the hope that they can take that further. 

She added: “My mum started like just in our garage with kids to help them with performing arts and getting them going and we wanted to keep that up as a family. That springboard really helps have their dreams stay alive.”

Adding that mum Melissa “couldn’t afford” to send her to attend Sylvia Young herself, she wanted to make sure other kids had an “opportunity that they can take to the next level”.

The Hallelujah singer also confessed about the moment mum Melissa stopped her from turning down her West End career

2024 marks 10 years since Alexandra first stepped foot on a West End stage, making her debut as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard in 2014, and it turns out her big theatrical moment only came after a stern-talking to by her beloved mum.

Alexandra explained: “I got offered The Bodyguard when I was 23. I turned it down because I didn't think I was good enough to do it and I didn't think I could do Whitney justice. Then I got asked to do it again at 26. 

“I was living in New York and my mum… she'd come to visit and I had the call. I said, ‘Oh my god mum. I was offered three months at the Adelphi Theatre to do Bodyguard!’, and she went, ‘You better get your backside on that plane or I'm doing it for you!’” 

Having her mum’s approval was all Alexandra needed to say yes to her first big stage role, and it was even more precious to her given her mum’s history with Whitney. 

She continued: “I thought to myself, my mum is approving of me singing Whitney, a woman that she'd done backing vocals for, a woman that my mum and I absolutely adored. We loved her. The fact that my mum thought that I could do Whitney justice, I hold my mum's opinion really high. 

“The fact that she thought I could do it meant the world to me. Even if I’d just done one show, the fact that my mum believed in me is the biggest highlight of my entire theatre career.”

Alexandra Burke will be at the Dominion Theatre, London, for Sister Act from 10th June to 31st August.