Will Young, who became a star after beating Gareth Gates to win the first Pop Idol, has a new album, Echoes, out on Monday, in an interview with the Mail in the UK he tells of his new album and how he really wants to be a daddy!
The new album isn’t all plastic pop or sad ballads – 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,’ he tells me. ‘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.’
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.
New start: Will Young has said he has turned a corner in his life
‘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.’
Next Saturday he’ll be coming full circle, returning to our TV screens to look back on a decade of music making. A Night With Will Young will see the singer accompanied by a London gospel choir and a troupe of arty puppeteers.
‘This show makes me realise how far I’ve come,’ Will says. ‘Ten years ago, it was all about a talent competition. Now it’s me singing songs with real pedigree in a very theatrical setting. Everything has fallen into place.
‘I now feel accepted in a way I’d never have thought possible ten years ago.’