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Life according to… Singer, Will Young

© SYSTEMWill Young.
Will Young.

The singer chats about his two decades in the spotlight, returning to the stage, exchanging letters with his favourite singers, and being green-fingered.


You’ve just announced the 20 Years Tour for next year, celebrating 20 years since winning Pop Idol. How does it feel looking back?

I love the phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” and the last 20 years have been more fun than I could ever have imagined. I’ll never forget how people took the time to pick up the phone and vote for me – it’s kept me humble and grateful.

Would you have become a pop star without the show?

I don’t think so because I don’t think anyone would’ve signed me, an openly gay politics student.

Can you remember how it felt receiving so many public votes?

It was such a new experience – not just for me, but for everyone involved in the TV show. No one knew it was going to become such a huge success, to the point where it was even debated in Parliament. The whole thing was a rollercoaster of fun and laughs.

Tell us what to expect?

I’m going to be playing most of the singles from the last 20 years, possibly in chronological order. I’m also going to have a request section

Your latest album consists of covers of your favourite female pop artists and you wrote to each of them to explain why you were recording their song. What was the nicest response?

All were lovely, but I was particularly moved by Clare Maguire’s response. Her single Elizabeth Taylor is such a special song and she’s such a kind person. I was so pleased that she was really thrilled with my version.

Did your love of dogs and gardening – you even appeared on Gardeners’ World – help you adjust during lockdown?

Animals are a huge passion of mine. Having rescue dogs to look after kept me focused. One of my concerns is how dogs such as beagles are tested on in laboratories when they don’t need to be.

If I can shine a light on animal cruelty I will. When it comes to gardening, I get so much satisfaction out of it. I loved appearing on Gardeners’ World – it’s one of my favourite TV shows.

You were nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for your work on Cabaret. Do you have plans to act again?

I’m very excited as I’ve just signed up with a brilliant acting agent and I have plans in place for next year.

As well as preparing for the tour, what else have you been doing ?

I just managed to have a lovely two-week break in Greece. I studied ancient history and was overwhelmed at finally being able to visit the Acropolis, the birthplace of democracy.

Will’s 20 Years Tour, SEC Armadillo, Glasgow, Edinburgh Usher Hall, Oct 12 and 16. Tickets on sale now