'X Factor' star Mary checks out of Tesco – and collects her P45
Published 04/01/2011 | 05:00
'X Factor' sensation Mary Byrne will this week return to the Tesco where she worked -- to ask for her P45.
After weeks of uncertainty the 51-year-old said she has decided over Christmas that she will finally say goodbye to her much-loved work colleagues and employer in Ballyfermot, west Dublin, to pursue her musical dream.
"I had to ring them over the weekend and arrange to pop in for my P45. I'm actually quite scared about it because Tesco has been my safety net during the past six months. No matter what happened on 'X Factor', I always knew Tesco would take me back," Mary revealed.
Not only did the supermarket chain continue to pay the Dublin woman's salary from her first audition for Simon Cowell, through to boot camp and the live shows; over Christmas they also supplied Mary and her daughter Deborah with a free turkey and ham.
"You couldn't ask for better employers. They were great here in Dublin and brilliant in the UK, asking all their staff to back me. I can't praise them enough," she added.
But her supermarket sabbatical must now come to an end as she will be touring the UK and Ireland from February to April while recording her debut album with Grammy-nominated UK producer Nigel Wright, who previously worked with Madonna and Barbra Streisand.
"Nigel's worked with Madonna on the film soundtrack for 'Evita'. He's done all the soundtrack albums for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals. But what most impressed me was he's recorded Shirley Bassey who is my all-time hero," Mary said.
Mary plans to cover two of Bassey's songs on her debut album, along with tracks by Dusty Springfield and her 'X Factor' showstopper 'It's A Man World' -- made famous by James Brown.
But despite her new connection with Wright, Mary insisted Louis Walsh will be the only one choosing the songs for her as yet untitled long-player.
"Louis has a great track record on picking songs, he will have the final word. I'll be starting the album this month in a recording studio in Battersea, south London," she added.
The first chance Irish fans will get to hear the singer will be when the 'X Factor' Tour visits Dublin's O2 arena from February 22 to 24, which, including matinees, will consist of five shows.
The 'Dublin Diva' also confirmed that she is giving up cigarettes.
"Will I keep off the fags? I made it through to the finals of 'X Factor' at age 51. Giving up fags can't be any harder, can it?" she joked.