Walk The Line winner Nadiah Adu-Gyiamfi has admitted the rumours that she was an ‘industry plant’ really ‘got under her skin’ as she’s had to work hard to get to where she is.
The 30-year-old wowed viewers when she competed on Simon Cowell’s new ITV series last month, which is hosted by Maya Jama and features Dawn French, Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon and Craig David as judges.
Nadiah faced strong competition from fellow contestant Ella Rothwell but managed to push through to the next rounds, eventually being declared the winner and scooping the £500,000 prize money.
Can we talk about those powerhouse vocals?
As typical of the social media age, some just had to rain on Nadiah’s parade and were convinced she was an ‘industry plant’, an already established artist with a £7million contract. It also came amid criticism of the format of Walk The Line, which some viewers branded ‘confusing’.
Addressing the rumours, Nadiah told Metro.co.uk: ‘When people were saying that I was worth £7million and I was basically an industry plant, that got under my skin because I’ve had to really grind to be in that position to be on telly. That was the thing that was frustrating, when people make these assumptions about people.
‘Even Ella had to experience people saying, “Oh, she must be an industry plant”. I didn’t appreciate that but I understood people may not get it straight away, but the more you watch it you get it, I think.’
She said of the claims that the show was a fix: ‘If anything it was coming down to people’s own ignorance and impatience and I feel like the people who did get into it and understand it really enjoyed it. When you’re so used to another format, naturally you’re going to pick at a format you’re not used to.’
Nadiah is certainly having the last laugh as, not only does she boast a healthy bank balance, but she has none other than TV mogul Simon in her corner.
Recalling their first conversation on the phone after she won Walk The Line, Nadiah said: ‘It was really surreal because I’m in my house with my mum wearing some sweats and I get a call from Simon Cowell. He is so lovely, he was so excited for the next steps of the career, he said he is here to help my career.’
She then revealed: ‘He is very obsessed with my mum and said he really wants her to come to his house, I said I’m sure she would love to. She was loving it!
‘He was really supportive and constructive, he was like this is what the money’s for, just do it, I believe in you, you’ve got this. It was nice to hear him say that to me, I feel like it reaffirmed everything that I’m ready to show people.’
Nadiah described her time on the singing competition as ‘terrifying’ and ‘intense’ having to perform in front of the live audience and the famous judges.
‘I was really overwhelmed,’ she admitted.
‘I feel like when Gary said I feel like we’re in the presence of a pop star, I thought wow coming from someone like him who came through in the 90s scene of music. To me, it meant a lot. Craig was also constructive as well… so when they said things to me, it really struck a chord and I believed them. I really felt like there was a genuine off and on screen support from them.
‘Obviously, I love Dawn as well, she’s my sister now.’
Nadiah has performed in the past with friend and musician Luke under the band name Nula, delivering soulful R&B. While she plans on recording her own solo music going forward, she will still team up with Luke occasionally and says he is ‘more than willing to support [her] in this new transition’.
As for the prize money, Nadiah is yet to spend it yet as she’s in the process of buying her mum a new house, before using some of it to fund her music career.
She said: ‘This is a dream come true, I can do this everyday of my life now whereas before I had to hustle to make ends meet.
‘It’s a crazy amount of money to have but what I love about it is ITV have given me the freedom to do with it what I want. It’s tax-free. It’s genuinely what it says on the programme and I’m really quite excited.’
Walk The Line is available to watch on ITV Hub.