"X Factor" winner Melanie Amaro has completed four or five songs for her debut album, a mixture of ballads and upbeat pop songs.
"Before 'X Factor,' I wasn't recording, just singing in church and at small events. So being in the studio is a brand new world for me," Amaro told Billboard.com about her Syco/Epic release.
Amaro has been working with "X Factor" judge and Epic Records chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid and Epic A&R chief C. "Tricky" Stewart, who has produced several of the tracks. Amaro would not divulge the names of songwriters who contributed material -- she does not write -- saying only "I want to keep it a surprise." Not surprising, though, is that she is recording material from established songwriters.
"I look for songs that are connected to real life scenarios -- love songs, breakups, getting hurt, finding the strength to keep on pushing in life," she explained.
Amaro, 19, was crowned champion of the first season of the U.S. version of "X Factor" in late December. Part of her prize package, which included $5 million, was a spot in a Pepsi ad that premiered during the Super Bowl in February.
Sony Music's labels have gone on a signing spree of "X Factor" contestants, with Epic tapping Chris Rene, Astro and Marcus Canty, and Columbia inking Rachel Crow.
Runner-up Josh Krajcik has tweeted that he is working with songwriter-producers Steve Kipner, Julian Bunetta and Andrew Frampton, but has not announced a deal with a label. "X Factor" boss Simon Cowell has said he would wind up at a Sony label.
Amaro says she is not on any deadline to finish the album and during the "X Factor's" fall run, Cowell said that who ever won the contest should expect to spend more than half the year working on their album, which could then be launched during the show's second season.
"There might be a single," Amaro says, unsure of any timeline for any releases. "I like to keep it all a surprise."