Burke was exposed to music from an early age, with her mother, Melissa Bell, being the lead singer of Soul II Soul.
After winning The X Factor, Burke released the winner's single "Hallelujah", which became the European record holder for single sales over a period of 24 hours, selling 105,000 in one day until it was overtaken by her X Factor mentor Cheryl Cole with her debut solo single "Fight for This Love".
The song also became the top-selling single of 2008 in the UK and the UK's Christmas 2008 number one.
By January 2009, the single had sold over 1 million copies in the UK alone, a first for a British female soloist.
In 2009, Burke released her debut album, Overcome, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spawned four number-one singles on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart—"Hallelujah", "Bad Boys", selling over 780,000 copies in the UK and becoming a Platinum selling single, "All Night Long" and "Start Without You"—and the album became one of the most successful albums of that year in the UK, the singles released from the album earned her three BRIT Award nominations.
The album also saw the release of UK top 10 hit, "Broken Heels" and "The Silence".
In late 2010, Burke released a deluxe version of Overcome.
Overcome and the six singles released from the album have sold over four million record in the UK alone.
"Elephant" was released as Burke's comeback single in February 2012, which became a hit single, with a peak position of number three in the UK.
"Let It Go" served as the second single and Burke's second album, Heartbreak on Hold, was released in June 2012.