Will Young, who became a star after beating Gareth Gates to win the first Pop Idol, has a new album, Echoes, out on Monday.
But it’s not what you’d expect. No big ballads, no glossy pop.
Instead, he’s gone for intimate, atmospheric electronics on an ambitious yet classy set of songs, opted to sing in a higher register than we’re used to and employed a tough new producer, Richard X.
‘The album was not easy to make. The first three days were terrible, and every song felt as if we were pulling teeth.
‘At one stage, I told a friend I couldn’t go on. But he reminded me that I just wanted a producer to flatter me by telling me that I was the male Nina Simone. I didn’t realise I had such an ego. After that, I knuckled down.’
Will couldn’t go on…what a joker. He gets payed a lot of money to mince around in the recording studios while most of us have to actually earn a crust. Unfortunatley, Will Young just doesn’t know when he’s got it good.
Well-mannered and acutely self-aware (he once described himself as ‘a gay, middle-class pop star with a politics degree’), things are changing in other ways, too. Having lived near Holland Park, West London, for seven years, Young, 32, is moving to the city’s East End next week. And, he says, he is entering ‘a new phase’ of his life.
Born in Hungerford, Berkshire, where his parents still run a local pub, Young went to Wellington College and the University Of Exeter before turning to music.
He announced he was gay shortly after winning Pop Idol and, while currently single, has hinted at romantic turmoil in the past, with 2008’s Let It Go album written in the aftermath of a two-year relationship with a dancer.
‘I’m ready for a new relationship, but it will happen when the time is right,’ he says, before adding he would love to become a father at some point.
‘I’m very broody and I really want kids, but I don’t think it will happen until I’m into my 40s and in a long-term relationship.
‘This job can make you very self-absorbed and I’d love to do something less selfish. I like the idea of doing the school run and then going home to write a song.’
Which is all amazing, to be honest. Because whenever there’s something to be promoted in the star-studded world of movies, autobiographies and music, these so-called stars always seem to come out with a bombshell.
On the release of his first album Will Young opened up to reveal he was gay, Michael Stipe came out with the same story, and that he has a partner on the day before an REM album was released…but there are many, many others.
In todays media driven, politically correct world, we don’t care if you’re gay, or if you’ve taken drugs, or if you slept with five blokes or five women last night. All we REALLY want to know is…is your album any good? Is your movie any good, is your book any good?
I couldn’t give a monkeys about all of that other bullshit. It’s got to be the product that you’d be interested in…surely.
When you buy a television from a retail shop, are you more interested if the girl that sells it to you slept with three men last night whilst snorting cocaine off of Jennifer Anistons tits…or do you actually want a television that works when you get home?
I rest my case.
And by the way…I will be releasing an autobiography of my life at the end of the year. When it’s released, it’ll be a good time to reveal that I’m a hopeless alcoholic that buys far too many drugs and have recently been having sex with the 70’s supergroup Abba whilst Bjorn shoves a double-ender up my arse.
by Wallace McTavish