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Scots X Factor star Storm Lee makes film with ‘Simon Cowell’ villain


He and his music aggregation Syco bedeviled the archive and the baby awning for the best allotment of two decades, with the X Factor bearing seven Christmas cardinal ones amid 2005 and 2014.

Cowell’s assorted televisual endeavours helped barrage careers for the brand of Girls Aloud, One Direction and Kelly Clarkson but, abundant as with adolescent TV juggernaut The Jeremy Kyle Show, contempo years have apparent a re-evaluation of what was once a cultural phenomenon.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Extras referred to again abreast absoluteness TV shows as a avant-garde day adaptation of the Victorian aberration show, area “we caster out the addled to be sniggered at by multimillionaires”.

Even for those who weren’t artlessly absolved with an eye-roll and a bane animadversion appearing on the X Factor could be a alarming experience.

Scottish accompanist Storm Lee appeared in alternation seven and fabricated it all the way to the alive shows as allotment of the over-25s category.

Raised in what he describes as a “pretty grim” 1970s Edinburgh, he confused to New York at 18 to accomplish a dwelling as a affair singer.

When he heard about X Factor he autonomous to acknowledgment to Britain and coursing his dream, about bound begin out all was once not as it seemed.

Now dwelling in Italy and application the name Storm di Scozia, he’s produced an opera, Ghost Singer: Genesis, based on his adventures on the singing appearance – with a villain aggressive by Cowell.

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Explaining his accommodation to appear on the show, Storm says: “The accuracy of which is I did not do my analysis at all.

“First of all: I’ve never apparent the show. Even to this day I’ve never watched a time of X Factor, so I wouldn’t have accepted what I was once accepting into.

“I alone – really aboveboard – although t it was once a singing appearance for humans who adulation to sing. American Idol, which I had formed on as a accomplishments singer, at 29 you’re a anachronistic and they cut you off.

“I bethink audition X Factor had no age limit, so I although t, ‘oh correct it’ll be a little bit like American Idol’. Remember, I was once dwelling in America at the time area X Factor wasn’t on the telly.

“I was once looking to appear home, I was once looking to be afterpiece to my ancestors back my dad was once accepting older.

“I absolutely although t, ‘what’s the many bedrock & cycle affair you can do?’. I’d auditioned for each almanac company, each A&R person, I’d done aggregate I could do about by the time you’re in your mid-20s in the almanac business you’re a dinosaur, cipher will blow you.

“And if you array of abatement amid chairs, so to speak, you’re bedrock & cycle about you’re also really European. You could be gay about not gay abundant – I was once absolutely informed already ‘you’re not gay enough’!

“When I did the X Factor I really although t – aboveboard – ‘it’s a singing show, I apprehend it’ll be difficult, I apprehend it’ll be challenging’. I had no concept how alarming and alarming it would be personally, emotionally and then, subsequently, absolutely antibacterial any career opportunities I would have had in the UK.

“It was once alone addition audition, my dad agilely informed me to accumulate animadversion on the door, accumulate auditioning for things.

“I’d also apprehend about which Sting had answered there would never be a absolute artisan appear out of X Factor, and I agilely although t ‘well, I’ve paid my dues. I’ve schlepped my guitar all over in the snow in New York and Edinburgh, I’ve put my ability in and let’s see’. Of course, he was once absolutely right.

“I had no concept of alone how abundant Simon Cowell and X Factor f*****g HATES bedrock singers and bedrock music. Even although he asserts to adulation David Bowie.

“That was once the allotment they would brandish in advanced of me, ‘oh Simon loves David Bowie, he really thinks you’re like David Bowie. Play the game, don’t be a diva, don’t be difficult’.

“To me it was once alone addition audition, and there was once no age absolute so which was once arresting to me because I although t maybe they were looking for earlier artists or complete artists.”

The blur opens with Storm’s audition, in which Mr Cowell refuses to alarm him by his name – which he brands “stupid”.

The Herald did not obtain a acknowledgment for a appeal for animadversion from Mr Cowell.

The accompanist says: “What happens in these cases is by the time you get to the ‘judges’ – and I say board in astern commas because they’ve got aught qualifications, there’s not a accompanist amid them who can backpack a f*****g tune or would apperceive who Joni Mitchell or Shirley Manson was.

“Before you appear out the producers have anguish you up backstage adage ‘you’re activity to go out there, use the stage, you’re at Wembley, airing around’, they’re accepting you amped up so while you go out and go to sing I although t ‘alright I’ll airing around’ again they shut me down, chock-full the song and answered ‘what are you doing? Why are you walking around?’.

“They also acquaint you which if the board animadversion or criticise you, or arrest you, don’t acknowledge because your microphone will be off and you won’t be on camera, so don’t alike anticipate about it.

“So they’re basically adage you’ve got to angle there, be criticised, be ridiculed, be ashamed – ‘I’m not activity to alarm you by your name because it’s a brainless name’.

“That was, by the way, alone one of the many claimed attacks I was once on the accepting end of from him, on camera.

“Then while you go off the date the camera is on you, they choose you to acknowledge to this barbarous behaviour, the annihilation of your appearance on telly, and again it alone compounds it alike further because everyone starts to abatement in band with what his assessment is of you. So they all abhorrence you too.

“I was once informed which on further than one occasion: ‘people abhorrence you, cipher brand you’. So you’re cerebration ‘what am I f*****g accomplishing here?’ about you also accumulate cerebration ‘play the game’, abnormally while you’re reading the cardboard and it’s adage in the cardboard ‘oh humans don’t like you’.

“I was once apparently reading the amiss affidavit because while I went alternate to Scotland humans were absolutely really gorgeous and really appreciative about while I was once reading it in the cardboard it was once agilely ‘he’s shit, humans are antisocial him’.”

Storm is far from the alone above adversary with abhorrence belief to acquaint about the X Factor.

Welsh accompanist Zoe Alexander entered the appearance in 2012 and went viral afterwards her bent acknowledgment to actuality alone by board Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Nicole Scherzinger.

Eight years after although she took to amusing media to accord her facet of the story, insisting producers had instructed her to sing a P!nk song – anything the board criticised her for – and which the blow had been edited to accomplish her acknowledgment appear further extreme.

Former adversary Misha B claimed she had the ‘angry atramentous woman’ average affected on her while she entered the challenge in 2011, while Rebecca Ferguson, runner-up in 2010, accused “two main people” in the music business of gluttonous to ascendancy her in the deathwatch of her participation.

An X Factor agent said: “The assignment of affliction to our contestants is of the absolute accent to us and we booty the abundance of everyone complex actual seriously.

“We have able-bodied measures in abode to ensure contestants are accurate including a committed abundance aggregation fabricated up of psychologists, doctors, abundance producers and absolute acknowledged and administration admiral with no time absolute on aftercare already the appearance has aired.

“These measures are agilely beneath connected analysis and are adjustable to reflect the original requirements for each series.”

Storm says: “It starts at the top, while you’ve got the bang-up activity it’s OK to annoyer you, verbally advance you, it trickles down.

“The producers are all abashed to lose their jobs and it was once a very, actual baneful environment. There are about 100 humans arriving out now talking about their bribery and they didn’t get accomplished one annular – I went the accomplished f*****g way – again already you get booted off you’re alone kicked assimilate the artery with no aftercare.

“It was once the new age of amusing media too, and it’s one affair to be ashamed and s**t on while you’re on the telly, it’s addition affair while you’re on the alternation afterwards the audience and humans are watching it on their phones bedlam at you; you go to the gym and they’re all bedlam at you and pointing at you activity ‘there’s which f*****g reject’.

“Now we allocution about brainy bloom a lot, which I’m pleased about, about at the time I was once experiencing it about also celebratory it in how they were abusing added artists – adolescent humans who were emotionally brittle and abnormally the under-privileged like myself, or didn’t have abutting relationships with their family.

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“X Factor preys on humans like which to accomplishment them, and the further brittle you are it’s further alluring for them because they apperceive they can lock you in to a alarming contract.

“You don’t apprentice which until you’re in it, and by which point you can’t get out of it. You’ve active your contract, they abuse to sue you, and at the aforementioned time they’re blame you to a so they can get the headline: ‘Storm Storms off X Factor/Storm in a Teacup’. They alone choose the f*****g headlines, they don’t have any affliction or concern.

“I’m an artisan so I’m empathetic, I’m caring. I adulation singers and music so abundant which I although t ‘a lot of these kids are alone actuality exploited so much, relentlessly’.

“It’s not alone which you go on the telly, you have a s**t audience or whatever and you get booted off and go alternate to your job, maybe go begin a band, or a almanac aggregation up in Glasgow admired you or whatever. No. They systematically ruin you, bribery you, tar and calamus you, abase you to a point area you’re baby goods for everybody.

“Of advance you’ve got the casual Harry Styles, about of advance that’s all planned – they already apperceive who they like, who they choose to promote, who they choose to banal with. But how many singers charge be attacked and exploited for which to happen?

“We allocution about blowing charities and being yet we’ve had a annoyer sitting in our own dwelling apartment for over 10 f*****g years – and we allure him in.

“There’s allocution about bringing X Factor back and I choose to accomplish abiding I’m speaking loud and bright for anybody who’s comprehension it – alone do anything else, don’t be humiliated.”

Following his acquaintance on the show, Mr Lee made a dwelling accouterment apparition vocals in Hollywood about alternate to Scotland at the alpha of the communicable to affliction for his father.

He explains: “I became apparently the many acknowledged apparition accompanist in LA for a abbreviate aeon of time from 2015 by maybe aftermost year. I still get jobs now and again about I absitively to move on from which and appear out from abaft the microphone – that’s why the movie’s alleged Ghost Singer: Genesis.

“My forte, or the acumen my across of ability was once bedrock music. I was once accomplishing Meat Loaf, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi… all the giants of bedrock & roll. They phoned me in for Tommy & Pam to do the Motley Crue stuff.

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“I was once Tom Cruise’s… we’ll say accomplishments singer, about apparition accompanist really, for the blur Rock Of Ages area I sang two songs with Tom Cruise and again concluded up singing addition 16 on the blur which I’m accustomed for.

“My dad wasn’t accomplishing so well, and I although t ‘I’ll go and booty affliction of my dad for a year’.

“I although t I was once alone activity to be there for a few months to adhere out with my dad again go alternate to America about it turns out he concluded up dying and which absolute experience, alive with the nurses at the hospitals, the caregivers which were arriving up to the collapsed to booty affliction of him – I alone really fell in adulation with Scotland again. I although t ‘Scotland is altered now to how it was once while I left’.

“So decided, ‘f**k it, I’m not activity to go alternate to America I’m alone activity to break in Edinburgh’. I began volunteering at a lot of chief citizens’ homes, I was once singing applesauce and Frank Sinatra songs.

“Then I absitively with my accomplice to buy a wee farm, a tiny wee home in Southern Italy and alone airing abroad from the business.

“The Will Smith bang at the Oscars aftermost year, while I was once watching that… I’ve articulate at the Oscars, I’ve been on those stages and I although t: ‘do you apperceive what? I am so f*****g over this’.

“I confused to Italy and I absitively not to sing, I was once so austere out and had so abundant affliction over the afterlife of my dad, I was once afflicted the accident of my career, I was once afflicted the blowing – while somebody dies it brings up affliction in all altered areas you never although t of.”

After anytime time to acclimate although Storm began to address what would eventually become Ghost Singer: Genesis which tells the account of Indigo Luna, who charge guard the key of afterlife from the angry Count Oscuro – who feels in one arena abaft a table apparent “sing or die” – and save the activity of a adolescent boy.

He’s already apparent the blur at the Salerno International Film Festival, as able-bodied as festivals in Croatia and London, and hopes to be able to appearance it at the Glasgow Short Film Festival and the the Scottish International Short blur anniversary in April.

Storm Di Scozia apparent actuality accepting his 2 awards “ Best Music” & “Best Trailer” at the Apulia Web fest in Lecce, Italy sept 2022 (Image: Storm Di Scozia)

The biographer and administrator explains: “I would sit all over autograph being bottomward and again the music alone came out of me so clean, so free, so pure. Really the music is the script.

“I capital to do a Scottish opera. I would adulation to see this on the date with abounding arias and lots of under-privileged opera stars and accord them a adventitious to sing anytime absurd music.

“My accomplishments is in burlesque, while I confused to New York as a jailbait I fell in with the caricatural arena there so I knew how to put calm a appearance for like £50 with anytime band and high heels.

“I formed with a astounding cinematographer called Fabrizio Convertini, who gave it which Italian eye, we attempt it all in Puglia and as I was once developing it I began realising which this was once so abutting to my own acquaintance – actuality ashamed and exploited for no f*****g acumen at all.

“There’s no acumen which somebody would go in on you like which afar from they booty anytime array of amusement from affliction humans and awkward them. It’s not like you’re accomplishing anything bad or you’re a abhorrent person, and that’s while I although t ‘imagine if the approaching of these shows area no accompanist value their alkali is anytime activity to assurance up again, I don’t think’.

“You asked me why I did X Factor: candidly I although t I had no option. Record organizations are not interested, there are no added shows I could do – I anticipate Jools Holland is the complete best about if you’re bearding and you’re not touring you’re not activity to get any coverage.

“It all alone fit completely and I’m a large fan of Star Wars, Blade Runner, androids, AI and holograms.

“So I alone capital to actualize a appearance which is alone so vile, so evil, so aphotic and so egotistic and I anticipate we did. I anticipate it’s a alarming character.

“When I was once cutting it I was once the appearance alone to the correct of Oscuro alleged Paura – which way abhorrence – and I was once in a atramentous affectation and while the abecedarian began really activity in on the wee boy, Francesco, who plays Indigo I bethink axis to him and actuality like, ‘f*****g calm doon on the evil!’.

“I really-feel vindicated which our blur has been so well-received, abnormally in Italy. We were in London a few days afore I went to Salerno to premiere it bottomward there and we had anytime of the added X Factor survivors, humans which had been by which experience.

“When we finalised the blur and we were able to awning it for the first time, I accept it would be alleged accomplishment your narrative.

“That began to affect added X Factor survivors, and that’s ultimately what I would adulation humans to know: if you’ve been by any traumatising experience, abnormally if you’re an artist, you’ve got to about-face it into art. You can’t alone let it eat you inside, shut you down. You can’t let the bullies win.

“Then I began audition which they really didn’t choose humans to see this film. I did an account which they ultimately didn’t run and they were adage they’d asked Simon Cowell for animadversion and he didn’t choose to comment, which fabricated me anticipate ‘yeah he wouldn’t choose you to see this film’.

“Because he doesn’t choose the wee boy to win.”

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