Reviews Zone

Rebecca Ferguson, Heaven Part II (Minerva Oto Ltd) 5th December 2023 


* Music Republic Magazine: 2023 Album of The Year *


5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



There is a flipping good reason why this album has been chosen as Music Republic Magazine’s 2023 Album Of The Year: Rebecca Ferguson has offered us a brown envelope stuffed full of cash! [That was a joke by the way, before her lawyers leap into action!]

The truth is; the seven-year gap since her last album “Superwoman”, was well worth the wait. “Heaven Part II” is stunning. The vocals, the songs, the production. The whole kaboodle is fabulous. The 23-year-old shy Liverpool gal we all fell in love with as runner up on The X Factor in 2010, still very much has it.

This 10-track album is a follow up to Rebecca’s original “Heaven” debut album, which went double-platinum, released exactly 12 years ago to the day this new one dropped.

The new songs are a reflection of Rebecca’s past seven years, exploring love, family, joy, liberation and Rebecca’s journey to happiness. She got married a year ago to sports agent Jonny Hughes and the happy couple welcomed a baby boy to the family 10 months ago. Rebecca already had three children.

“Heaven Part II” documents Rebecca’s move for inner peace and creative freedom – it explores the lessons she learned in the transition from her 20s to 30s – she is now 37 – and the peace that came after finding her voice, and speaking up for women in the creative industries. It’s about overcoming obstacles and empowerment.

As well as working with some new contributors, Rebecca connected with some of the original “Heaven” writers and producers in the creation of “Heaven Part II,” including Eg White, who has worked with Adele, Will Young, Kylie, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and many more stars. Eg co-wrote and produced four tracks on “Heaven Part II”.

Rebecca said: “This new album is my first independent album – I have put everything into it. I’ve pushed myself creatively and my heart and soul has gone into this. I haven’t released an album since 2016, so this is a long time coming.

“I’m proud of the work, the direction of the music and the people I have collaborated with. I hope people can connect with the music.” She celebrated the release of the album with a sold-out homecoming show at Liverpool Philharmonic in November.

Rebecca has now co-written five solo albums and has shared the stage with legends such as Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, Nile Rodgers and the late Burt Bacharach.

Her first album, “Heaven”, released in 2011, sold more 130,000 copies in its first week, making it the fastest-selling debut album by a solo artist that decade, between 2007 – 2017. It has sold in excess of one million copies and reached # 3 in the UK chart, also charting in the US.

With hit singles such as “Glitter & Gold”, “I Hope”, and “Nothing’s Real but Love”, she has been widely praised by critics, with The Telegraph declaring her as in “The same league as Aretha Franklin”, and The Guardian stating that “Her talent is undeniable”; while Rebecca has also been nominated for MOBO and MTV Europe Music Awards. As well as writing and performing her own material, Rebecca regularly writes for other artists.

After declining major record labels’ offers for the new album, and deciding to work as an independent artist – with hubbie Jonny sharing management duties with his wife – Rebecca tells us: “So far everyone’s been so supportive, and I am working hard and trying my best. I really do think that the music matters.

“Jonny said, what are we going to do if it doesn’t go well and I said, what, if the music isn’t good enough? He said no, no, it’s not that; sometimes it’s promo. I said no Jonny, if a song is good enough, it will carry its weight. So, let’s just hope the music carries its weight, that’s all I hope.” Well for me, all 10 songs in this set carry their weight. The breathtaking vocal performances most definitely do.

My favourites of the 10 are, “I’m Going To Love You”, “From ‘Now On”, the commercially appealing pop cut “Diamonds In Her Shoes” that’s surely a shoo-in for a single, and the utterly spine-tingling “Found My Voice” and her defiant message: “I won’t stay silent.”

“Shallow Breathing” sounds like a hot radio single to me. Quirky r&b cut “Run Rebecca” features Parker. “Hollywood” warns about the dark side of chasing fame.

But the winner for me is the closing track, “You Don’t Have To Leave”, penned with Eg White. Rebecca reveals this one is also her favourite, and says it is about an ex-fella and his womanising ways.

“He thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and would use women and really take advantage of them. We had so much fun with that song, because we name some of the women that he just completely screwed over. Katie, Becky, Chloe, Abbey, Rachael, Jade…It was a very fun track to make. It is light-hearted, there is no bitterness to it. More of a sadness really, as I wrote it years ago.

“Me and Eg listened back to it, as I had actually recorded it twice. I did two versions; first one I was very sad, I was in the in middle of It [the relationship with this wrong un], and then I thought, that is a bit too sad, let’s re-record it.

“Then it was, which version do we use on the album, the sad one or the vocal when I had my shit together. That was the vocal that ended up on the album. We just had fun with that breakdown bit; ‘I don’t need you, looks like I’ll be seeing you’…I could picture people at a festival into that song.”

2011 debut album

Rebecca has been through a heck of a lot in her life and career, and before this gem of an album was released, she announced it would be her final album, and she’d be retiring from the music business.

In her recent brutally honest, bare-all exclusive interview with me/Music Republic Magazine, Rebecca lifts the lid on why she fell out of love with the music business and reveals some of the hellish treatment she has endured. It really is eye-watering stuff.

If this is to be her swansong album, these superb songs and her flawless vocals are a fitting tribute to a totally unique artist. “Heaven Part II:” A Top 20 UK album chart entry after a seven-year hiatus. Bravo Ms Ferguson aka Mrs Hughes. Bravo. [See full track listing, below.]


Review by Steve Best



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’



“Heaven Part II” Track List


1. Digging For Gold

2. I’m Going To Love You

3. From Now On

4. Shallow Breathing

5. I Have A Dream

6. Diamonds In Her Shoes

7. Found My Voice

8. Hollywood

9. Run Rebecca (Feat. Parker)

10. You Don’t Have To Leave



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