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'X Factor painted me as vulnerable - that's not my reality!'

NO PUSHOVER: Former X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu

FORMER X FACTOR contestant Gamu Nhengu claims that the show's penchant to paint her as the "vulnerable one" couldn't be further from the truth.

The Zimbabwean singer, who was controversially axed from the popular show in 2010 amid claims that she didn't have the correct paperwork to progress further in series, says she is a lot stronger than picture painted of her.

"The thing is, when I was on the show, I felt that everyone had a character to play. For that particular series, I was the young, vulnerable one, but in reality I have been told that I have always been way more mature than my years," says the singer, now 21.

In reality, Gamu, who resides in Scotland with her mum - a nurse - and her two younger brothers had a lot of responsibility placed on her shoulders from a young age, which she says has fully equipped to deal with whatever life has to throw at her.

"Most of the time spent [in the UK]. Mum was here, but dad was at home [in Zimbabwe] so I helped out with the kids. I went to an all-girls Catholic boarding school, was made house captain and was a prefect. I was in charge of the choir etcetera, so had a lot of responsibility."

She says that even her close friends found her 'character' on the popular ITV1 series unrecognisable.

"I didn't want to be portrayed as that young, vulnerable girl. I remember my friends saying, 'Gamu, you don't really cry and you cried in front of millions of people on TV.' I was just so nervous and stressed. I was in the middle of my A-Levels too, which added to it."

Asked whether she remains in contact with her mentor and former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, she replied: "No, I don't think anyone expects the judges to reach out after the show unless you sign with Syco (the record label owned by X Factor boss Simon Cowell) or their management company. I think that once you're in the show and your propelled, if you're a good enough artist people will seek you out and you'll do fine."

But the singer, who is gearing up for the release of her sassy debut single Shake The Room on independent label GSound Records, says that despite all of the controversy on the show, the experience did strengthen her love of music.

"The X Factor taught me that I was in it for the music. That is one thing. When you're younger, you watch pop videos and you practice your interviews in front of the mirror and you imagine what it would be like if you were given a record deal. You want the glitz and glamour and you want the popularity."

She adds: "After appearing on The X Factor, I realised that I wanted to be in it for the music. When it comes down to it, I'm a very reserved person, which is why I think I found the show and the attention so stressful and overwhelming. If I could have it my way, I'd be very happy to write the music and have someone else sing it."

Read Gamu's full interview in The Voice out on Thursday (May 2)

Shake The Room is released through GSound Records on May 5. Her album A Love Like This will be released on July 15. Follow @GamuOfficial on Twitter

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