WILL YOUNG © Joseph Sinclair 2022
WILL YOUNG © Joseph Sinclair 2022

Will Young interview

By Angela Elliot 

With extra dates added and many shows already sold out, Will Young is out on the road to celebrate 20 years since he wowed the nation on Pop Idol.

Since winning the show’s first series in 2002, he’s gone on to become the most successful contestant to ever appear on the show, with over 10 million records sold, 8 UK Top 3 albums including his recent 2021 album Crying On The Bathroom Floor, and the No. 1 best-selling single of the noughties, Evergreen/Anything Is Possible

Pop Idol was broadcast to as many as 10 million viewers when it originally aired, shooting Will to fame and rewarding him with a record deal to release his beloved UK No.1 debut album From Now On after receiving a massive 4.6 million votes from the public. The singing competition was one of the first of its kind and, with just two series, it cemented its legacy in British pop culture as well as becoming an international TV franchise.

Ahead of his show at the Brighton Centre, we caught up with the British pop superstar for a quick chat about music, touring and his brand-new charity, Wellstock…

WILL YOUNG © Joseph Sinclair 2022

Your 20 Years tour starts in a few weeks – what can fans expect at the shows?

We are going to be doing what it says on the tin. I released a Greatest Hits album this year and I’m going to be performing all of my singles – possibly even in order of their release. It will be a true musical voyage through time. I also will have a request section where people in the audience can message in to hear any song from my back catalogue – which is rather daunting as there’s about 140 to choose from.
 

How is the request section of the show going to work?

I tried this a couple of years ago, but as more of a Q&A. I had a website where people could message in and ask questions and I would read them out live on stage from my iPad. This year I thought why not change it to requests for any song from my catalogue.  I think it gives fans the opportunity to hear that one song they’ve maybe never heard me sing live before.

What is life on the road like for you, do you have a specific routine?

It’s very much about routine, especially the nearer to stage time I get. I always like to exercise and I make sure I do a lot of stretching. Then I have a routine of always showering before and after and I do my vocal warm-up – and then I get dressed and ready for the show!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Not really any true rituals apart from vocal warm-ups, but I always try to remember my mantra which is that this is all about having fun.

What’s on your rider, any extravagant demands?

Gnomes!

Has touring changed for you since you won Pop Idol 20 years ago?

The main thing I have changed is that I don’t have any electronic programming in my show anymore, so everything you hear is being played live as you hear it. 

We hear you are also fronting a brand new charity initiative called Wellstock and had a certain Ed Sheeran doing something a bit special for you in London last month – can you tell us all about it?

Yes, it is very exciting. Wellstock is about bringing attention and information about mental health and it is just in its infancy at present. I have partnered with the charity called SHOUT and an initiative called One Night Only to provide one-off unique events where people can donate £10 for a pair of tickets and they are chosen at random. It is a wonderful new democratic way of raising money, allowing artists to do special one-off things and raising funds for much needed causes. SHOUT is a text message service predominantly used by people under 25 who help people in crisis or who just need to talk to someone knowing they are being heard and validated. Most calls are to do with anxiety, depression and often suicidal ideations. 

What’s next for you in terms of music, writing and podcasting? 

Next is a new studio album I’ve been working on for about a year now, on and off. I’m still very much enjoying doing a lot of talks and writing on mental health, so definitely more of that. I tend to be drawn to telling people’s stories who perhaps don’t have a voice themselves, so I am hoping to do more documentaries on various topics that interest me.

Will Young plays the Brighton Centre on Sat 5 Nov

www.willyoung.co.uk

www.brightoncentre.co.uk

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