Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 08:30 UK

Will Young: 'Fame's a bit stupid'

By Fiona Pryor
BBC News entertainment reporter

Will Young
Will Young has had four number ones since he started recording
"Fame is weird and a bit stupid and can be quite funny," says Will Young sitting in the back room of a west London bar.

It is now six years since the 29-year-old first hit the limelight, beating Gareth Gates to win the first series of TV talent show Pop Idol.

He admits he used to watch re-runs of his TV win as he "could not believe he had a record deal".

But despite becoming one of the UK's most popular recording artists - Young is now on his fourth album - he admits fame still baffles him.

"It's nice to be known for, hopefully, being good at something, but people taking pictures of you and being in magazines is all a bit silly, really," he says.

'Free drinks'

"There are some amazing things you can do with fame, like charity work," he adds.

"I think, 'Brilliant - I'm going to use my fame to help people'.

"Things like 'Will's wearing the wrong shoes', and 'Will's wearing the right shoes' is not so amazing, though.

"I've had best dressed and worst dressed written next to the same picture."

Despite that, Young admits he "loves the parties and the free drinks" that come with fame.

Will Young
The star has revealed he would love to perform on The X Factor

Not that he lets it go to his head. The Berkshire boy is one of the few chart-topping pop stars who would start an interview by offering to buy drinks for his inquisitor.

Young insists that keeping his feet firmly on the ground is the sensible thing to do.

"Otherwise you're living this surreal, residual life that isn't you," he says.

"To have people commenting on your life is so weird. The commentary can do your head in a bit. That's why people go potty.

"Luckily I haven't because I've got a good therapist who has sorted my head out," he laughs.

In an era when TV shows churn out winners to varying degrees of success, it's intriguing to find out what has kept one of the original reality stars in demand.

"I just think it's about choices that you make," he says.

"A lot of it is luck - but I do think you can make your own luck. It's just the decisions that you make."

Creative differences

With the fifth series of The X Factor currently on ITV1 - another brainchild of record executive Simon Cowell - fans are eager to know whether Young will appear on the show.

"Everyone's asking me this question," he notes. "Has this been in the press?"

Simon Cowell
I think he's fabulous, he's like a dark knight. I really do think he's hysterical
Will Young on Simon Cowell (pictured)

"I don't think I'm big enough to be a mentor but I would like to perform on it," he says, then reconsiders.

"I'd give my right arm to perform on it, actually.

"There's not much choice to perform to a big audience on TV any more."

Young and Cowell famously did not see eye-to-eye during Pop Idol. The singer stood up to the music mogul when an early performance was dismissed as "distinctly average".

"You have projected insults throughout this show and it's been terrible to watch you," Young scolded politely. "You are entitled to your opinion - but I think I did very well."

These days, however, Young admits he is a big fan of the music impresario.

"I think he's fabulous, he's like a dark knight. I really do think he's hysterical.

"I'm obsessed with the show - it makes me cry when they have their stories. I get completely suckered in."

And if Young had not found fame in 2002, he admits X Factor fans would definitely have seen him appear in the series.

Stage stint

"If there wasn't anything else, then yes I would apply," he says.

Having established himself firmly in the music industry, Young is now working on breaking further into the acting world.

Will Young
Young beat Gareth Gates in the 2002 Pop Idol final

He appeared next to Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents in 2005 and last year starred in a production of Noel Coward's play The Vortex.

However the brief stints on screen and stage have only whet his appetite.

"I'm just waiting for the next audition," he says. "I don't get masses of them. I think people aren't sure if I'm taking it seriously.

"It takes time, but I will continue to work at it because I want an acting career and I really enjoy it."

But Young's plans go beyond the world of the performing arts.

"I don't think men wear great suits, I'd quite like to design an affordable suit that's actually quite good, rather than these men who go to work and wear these oversized suits," he says.

"I do feel quite passionate about that, rather than sticking my name to an aftershave.

"I've got the tour, and I would like to do more surfing if I can get down to Cornwall.

"And the rest is left to the wonderful surprises of life."

Will Young's album Let It Go is out now on RCA.

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