Tell us about yourselves.
Alexandru: We are brothers and sister and we’re from Romania.
Alexandru, you were on TV in Romania, weren’t you?
A: I was on X Factor in Romania. I did very well. Two of the judges wanted me to go through to the next round, but one judge told me that I should come back next year and try again. One judge, Delia [Matache], who is very famous in Romania, really loved my singing, especially because I sang one of her songs. I hope to go back in 2017.
Where do you all live?
Costica: We live together in a house in Liverpool.
Iulica: We live there with my husband. We have four children but they do not live with us. They live in Romania with my parents. We make money selling the magazine and then send it to them.
A: I do not have a wife or a girlfriend. I have my music. Music is my love.
Why do you sell the magazine?
A: I sell the magazine to make money and I use some of this to help with making CDs and videos in Romania, which is very expensive.
C: In Romania we had jobs working in restaurants but the wages there are very small. We would earn £100 a month. It is hard to make any money in Romania and life is very hard.
What does singing mean to you, Alexandru?
A: I like to sing very much. It makes me feel happy. I have a guitar but I’m not great at playing it, and it’s in Romania.
C: When we come home at night after selling the magazine, we close the front door and Alexandru starts to sing.
Do you also sing, Costica?
C: Yes, but I am not as good as Alexandru.
A: He is my backing singer.
I: I do not sing but in the evening I cook for them. I like to cook. I cook all kinds of Romanian food like Slanina. The men do help with the cleaning.
Do you like selling the magazine?
A: I like selling it but I do not like it when people just give me money and do not take the magazine. Sometimes people give me a pound and walk away, but I am not begging. I am working. I want to earn money in a job.
C: I also like it. But last week, I was selling the magazine and someone came up to me and asked how much it is. I told him and then he turned around and hit me. There were two boys. They ran away but I have told the police. I was scared after this. At night I would wake up thinking about it.
I: The people in the Big Issue North office are very good. They help us and are like family.
What are your hopes for the future?
I: I would like to have a house in Romania and be there with my family.
A: I want to earn money singing. I would like to be famous across Europe, so I would like my English to be better, so that I can sing in English.
C: I would like a car. I have a driving licence but no car. And I would like to help my brother to get his dream.
Alexandru on Romanian X Factor
Interview: Christian Lisseman