X FACTOR sensation Jahmene Douglas wowed the judges again this week after he revealed the brutal upbringing that inspired him to be a singer.
The soul singer looked nervous on the ITV show following revelations about his family life in a national newspaper this weekend, but managed to hold back the tears until he had finished soul number Say A Little Prayer.
As mentor Nicole Scherzinger and the other judges heaped praise on him, he broke down The 21-year-old, who was working at Swindon’s Asda Walmart until July, told The Sun how he, his two brothers and sister lived in fear of their father Eustace, who was jailed for an attack involving a blowtorch on Jahmene’s mum Mandy in 2002.
The singer also revealed how his brother took his own life after the pressure of living in a climate of fear became too much.
Jahmene said: “Every day I thought, ‘I’m going to die today’. It was just torture. It would turn my stomach every time I saw my father. I was living in fear. “He would flip over anything – you didn’t lie, you didn’t swear, you didn’t put a foot out of place. But he’d always find something. “Then you’d never know what he would do. There was a spectrum of things: hitting you with a belt or a spatula, beating or strangling you.”
Describing the attack on his mum, Jahmene said: “It was one of the worst nights ever. I woke up thinking, ‘is she still alive?’ He used a blowtorch to brand her, used knives on her, dragged her through the hallway naked by her hair. He threatened to kill all of us in front of her.
“When the police came, I couldn’t even recognise her face. I was used to seeing her being beaten and having bruises, but this time she had hair missing, burn marks and her eyes were all puffed out, black and glazed over. “I just hugged her. I couldn’t say anything. I never did say anything in the house. “The thing that stays with you is hearing your mother scream and not being able to do anything.”
After serving five years in prison, Eustace was released and shortly afterwards Jahmene’s brother Daniel was found dead. Jahmene admits he had similar thoughts to his brother. He said: “I thought, ‘what else can you throw at me?’ Daniel had said it was like living in a box and we couldn’t get out. His death switched me off.
“I’m still quite switched off now. We were close. He wanted me to be a singer. I kept trying to talk to him to lighten him up. “I knew he was troubled but you take them for granted when you’re related to them. I was close to doing what he did but after that I never thought about it again.” Now Jahmene has set his heart on a music career but he is not motivated by fame.
“Music is my sanctuary,” he said on Saturday’s show. “It was the only place I had to go in that time where I felt safe. I used to listen to Whitney Houston and sing along.” Judge Louis Walsh described the former New College student as ‘world class’, while Nicole said he ‘had so much courage’.