THE music industry can be hard to crack, but singer Andy Abraham refuses to be beaten just yet. After narrowly missing out on winning The X Factor four years ago and failing to succeed at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, the likeable performer is back with a vengeance.

He has just released a new album, Even If, and embarked on a UK-wide tour which stops off in Radlett this weekend.

And despite suffering a few knocks, Andy remains upbeat as ever.

“They do say life begins at 40 and it really has for me,” the soul musician enthuses. “These days I get to perform to an audience that has come specifically to see me, and that’s something I can only treasure.”

Focusing on the positives, Andy tells me he’s “immensely” proud of his success to date, which includes his 2006 debut album, The Impossible Dream, selling 176,000 copies in its first week and reaching platinum status. He also performed to a sell-out audience later that year at the Royal Albert Hall.

“It’s certainly something I didn’t see coming,” admits Andy, who before The X Factor, worked as a bus driver and refuse collector in London.

It was his wife, Denise, who encouraged him to apply for the reality television show and pursue his dream of becoming a singer.

“She’s always had this very strong belief in me,” he says of his wife of seven years, who now works alongside Andy as his manager.

Looking back at his time on The X Factor, Andy tells me he still has “many fond memories” from the show.

He remembers: “Having Sharon Osbourne as my mentor was brilliant and of course I was really proud to be in the final with Shayne Ward. I felt I did great and it could’ve gone either way, it was that close.”

He also built up a rapport with the other 11 finalists and still keeps in touch with Chico Slimani, who now lives nearby to Andy, Denise and their two children, in Cheshunt, east Hertfordshire.

Building on his rising popularity and success from The X Factor days, Andy threw his hat in the ring last year to represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest with his self-penned Even If. But the song failed to impress, and he finished last out of 25 entries.

Andy believes an unfair voting system contributed to the disappointing result.

“The experience was more sweet than bitter, but what can you do about political voting?” reflects the 44-year-old singer. “You’d think we all had a fair crack at the whip, but it was ridiculous. The voting fiasco let us down.”

So does Andy believe the UK will fare any better this Saturday, when Jade Ewan sings a song written by Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Andy tells me: “Personally I think we haven’t got a chance, which is a shame. The competition shouldn’t be about people liking us as a country, it should be about the quality of the song, but it just doesn’t work like that.”

Eurovision woes aside, Andy has moved on and is now focusing on singing to his loyal legion of fans around the country.

“I’m feeling really good and looking forward to the next gig,” enthuses Andy. “People can expect a lot of energy, a lot of emotion and plenty of feel-good music.”

Andy Abraham arrives on Sunday, May 17, 7.30pm, at The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue. Details: 01923 859291 or