X FACTOR star Michael Rice is taking time out from recording new music in Los Angeles to be in Southampton for Music in the City this weekend.

Rosalind Fountain, who curates The Marlands where Michael is set to appear at around 1pm, spoke to him ahead of the date.

(Q) After appearing in X Factor 2014 your career really took off. Tell us about that journey.

(A) I’ve always loved performing. In 2013 I entered Teenstar competition and progressed through to the Grand Final at the O2 in London, where I was runner-up. Then in 2014 I auditioned for the X Factor and was thrilled when the judges gave me a standing ovation. I had the opportunity to sing at Wembley Arena, which was a huge thrill.Later I was invited to perform at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle in front of 15,000 people, on the same bill as Jess Glynne, Ed Sheeran, Ella Eyre and Nicole Scherzinger. I had the time of my life performing in such a massive venue with such talented stars.

(Q) How would you describe your style of music?

(A) My songs are a mix of R&B, soul, dance pop and mainstream. I’ve been influenced by singers such as Beyoncé, Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera, and I like to write meaningful songs that tell stories which people can relate to.

(Q) What are you doing at the moment?

(A) I’ve been flying back and forth to L.A. where I’m writing and recording. This year my single was released by Warner USA, and I’m hoping to write more songs as soon as I’m back there. I’ve been performing around the U.K. and looking forward to coming to Southampton.

(Q) Which brings us to Music in the City festival on October 7th. What attracted you to it?

(A) Over the past few years I’ve heard a lot about this festival. It’s a great opportunity for singers and unsigned artists to showcase their talent and meet other acts. It has become a well known, prestigious festival and performers from around the country want to be involved. So I’m thrilled to have been invited and really excited to be part of it.

See Friday's Daily Echo for the full Music in the City line-up