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> Times Interview 24.10.15
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truly talented
post Oct 24 2015, 08:29 AM
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Thanks to Ros.

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"Will Young looks every inch the modern pop star. Effortlessly stylish in pleated black trousers, roll-neck sweater, sparkly silver socks and raffish brogues, he is tall, broad shouldered, and flashes an easy, dimpled smile when introduced.
Nevertheless, I am very much on the lookout for Valium Eyes.
In his 2012 memoir Funny Peculiar Young coined the term to describe showbiz stars who are not really there, zombie celebs who stagger through their work itinerary held together with delusions of grandeur, alcohol or prescription meds.
We sit in the record company interview suite. Amy Winehouse stares down from a portrait hung behind him. “I’ve really developed my view of fame and success,” says Young. “Basically it boils down to this: saying, ‘Oh no, how am I supposed to handle all this attention?’ is not really an option any more. Singers get paid well and loaded down with free stuff. If you don’t like it, stop being famous. It’s not a tough job. You are not changing the world. If you can’t handle it, walk away.”
He has been a star for 13 years. He won Pop Idol, a precursor to The X Factor, in 2002. Tony Blair was prime minister, the euro had just come into circulation and Gareth Gates was his rival in the final.
You might think talent show losers would suffer most acutely after returning to the anonymity of icing doughnuts at an in-store bakery. But Young found winning Pop Idol, selling 10 million albums and embarking on an award-winning stage and TV acting career came freighted with its own terrors.
At first he enjoyed fame and can laugh at the faux pas of the wide-eyed newbie. Like the time he was invited to a Burberry fashion show in New York and waved at US Vogue editor Anna Wintour across the catwalk. “You feel you know these people. You don’t.”
After five years of success a negative inner voice took hold. Young wrote in his book that he would be on stage smiling at his audience but an imposter in his head told him: “You are the most useless piece of s*** on this stage. You look fat. Your dancing is atrocious.”
“It was exhausting dealing with the intensity of these thoughts,” he says now. “But that is depression: self-sabotage on an overwhelming scale.”
Occasionally there was hubris too. Like the time he was recording a Christmas TV special. The show’s producer wanted Young to finish singing with fake snow falling on his head. “I told him I didn’t want snow in my hair,” he says. “I moved the mic stand back so that it would fall in front of me. But this industry is full of liars, people who tell you they will do one thing but do another, and so for the live show they moved it back.”
By 2012 Young was in a bad way. Fake snow was the least of his problems. He didn’t trust anyone, was drinking too much and was unable to hold down a relationship. He checked into a residential trauma centre called Khiron House in Oxfordshire and was diagnosed with a dizzying array of psychological disorders: post-traumatic stress disorder, and others which he describes as “depersonalisation” and “derealisation”.
“My brain had shut down due to overwhelming levels of anxiety. I couldn’t even recognise my own face in a mirror. It was terrifying. It’s basically an extreme fight-or-flight response.”
I must admit I am baffled. I thought PTSD was linked to single events — a bomb explosion in Iraq, say, or a car crash. But for Young his PTSD was a culmination of many things: firstly, being bullied at primary school where he hid being gay (Young realised he was “different” aged seven when he fancied Bobby Ewing rather than Pam watching Dallas). He also blames being separated from his twin brother Rupert at birth (Young was delivered six weeks early over concerns for his health) and latterly a range of addictions ranging from “love” to shopping. “All those things, added to the fact that I am an insecure creative performer, made me a therapist’s smorgasbord.”
During six months of residential treatment he learnt how to control this negativity. Amazingly, he even managed to take a break to tour with the musical Chicago. “No mean feat when you can’t recognise your own face in a mirror,” he guffaws.
Young can be very entertaining but also very earnest. He watches carefully to make sure you understand what he is saying and can pin you to the chair with intensity. “Do you get it? Do you?” he says. He wants to be understood. And he wants aspiring performers to be equipped for fame and aim for the right goals, too.
“I enjoyed all the rewards and treats that capitalism says are the trophies of success. I spent a lot of money. I bought the cars and houses. I dated this famous person (he won’t say who) and hung out with that famous person and it meant nothing. I either wanted more or I didn’t think I deserved it.”
Young has navigated his way to happiness now. Perhaps it’s obvious, but it’s the simple things in life he has learnt to appreciate, such as lecturing and mentoring. Instead of performing, he gave a talk at this year’s Wilderness Festival called Using Mindfulness To Find Your Voice, Boundaries and Your True Self. He has also taken a couple of young artists under his wing through friends and enjoys giving them tips and talks.
“Giving talks and mentoring feels very natural. It is a sort of parenting and I really enjoy that. I am not in a relationship right now and so children are not on the agenda, although I would like them. Teaching and mentoring is so fulfilling. It’s about focusing on someone else and giving them your wisdom. It’s more fulfilling than any award or new car.”
He is distilling all this new-found knowledge into what he calls a “life manual”. He’s halfway through writing it and he hopes this self-help book will prove an indispensable guide, not just to budding pop stars but anyone encountering stress.
I tell him how my wife and I rowed recently over me not wanting to go to a party. The party host is pompous and always calls me “Dave”. Young offers this from his chapter on “conflict resolution”. “Did you have the row in a car?” he asks. I say we did. “Most relationship disputes are resolved in bed or in the car. You need more space and to look at each other. You also need to listen carefully, say ‘I felt this . . .’ rather than ‘You made me feel this’. Also, don’t be adversarial and try to win. Seek a solution.”
Young readily admits that he is still struggling with his “love addiction”. He likes someone, they like him back, he runs away. Ad infinitum. Basically he is addicted to the chase. “It’s not sex addiction, which many people confuse it with,” he says. “Ninety-five per cent of music artists have love addiction. That’s where the songs come from.”
He seems to have made some progress though. After a period of soul-searching, he is on a dating website and enjoying it. I must admit I find this hard to imagine. Young is a multi-millionaire pop star in the public eye. Would he really head out for dinner at Nando’s with a guy working at, say, Kwik Fit? “Why not? I don’t have a preconceived idea what a guy from Kwik Fit is like and they shouldn’t have a preconceived idea about me either. What’s the worst they can do? Post a bitchy comment on social media saying, ‘Will Young didn’t pay for peri-peri chicken’?”
Young is about to enjoy a weekend of perfect downtime. He has three homes — one in London, one in Oxfordshire and his third and favourite in Cornwall. It’s on the moors and he enjoys pottering with his two dogs, Esme and Nellie. Unexpectedly, his favourite moments are thundering down the Cornish lanes in his new Transit van.
“I’m forever moving bits of furniture from one place to another and so when I’m in the van I feel I have purpose and direction. And Cornwall is spiritually so incredible. I am not religious and I know people think it’s a weirdy beardy word, but that’s the place where I feel full of good feelings.”
He shows me a photo of a sunset at his cottage, where he will watch rugby and smoke cigarettes with his father this weekend. “My mum can’t stand us smoking so we’re having a lads’ weekend together,” he says.
Young looks happy , relaxed and emanates the inner peace of someone who has talked through a lot issues and drunk a lot of herbal tea. No evidence of Valium Eyes at all. Winehouse glares down behind him. He catches me looking at her. “Poor Amy. The forces that hit you in the entertainment industry can be powerful. For me there is nothing more levelling than going home to find the dog has pooped on the carpet. Humility is like a cable-tie for all those dangling wires that hang out of the back of a relationship.”

Will Young’s album 85% Proof , and his single Joy are out now. His national tour starts on October 29, with tickets available from willyoung.co.uk"
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suggy
post Oct 24 2015, 09:36 AM
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Thanks for posting that interview up TT, another interesting read from Will, I think he's in a good place now thank goodness. wub.gif
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truly talented
post Oct 24 2015, 09:47 AM
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I really hope he is Suggy.
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munchkin
post Oct 24 2015, 10:18 AM
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QUOTE(truly talented @ Oct 24 2015, 09:29 AM) *
Thanks to Ros.



QUOTE(suggy @ Oct 24 2015, 10:36 AM) *
Thanks for posting that interview up TT, another interesting read from Will, I think he's in a good place now thank goodness. wub.gif



My thanks too TT. Will is a master at hiding his true feelings so we just have to take his word for it that he's in a good place now.
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