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Shayne Ward interview

Lynda Moyo talks to Shayne Ward about going AWOL, X Factor rejects, Twitter power and being eyed up for Take That

Written by . Published on January 26th 2011.

Shayne Ward interview

Since winning the X Factor in 2005, Shayne Ward’s had his fair share of highs and lows in the music industry. After releasing two albums, by 2008 it all went a bit quiet on the Ward front, and very loud on Leona’s, we might add. But with a new album and tour in 2011, the Clayton crooner is keen to tell Lynda Moyo why it’s not about where you’ve been but where you’re at....

People are quick to judge. I was the ‘British Justin Timberlake’ because of the bald head. It’s a great compliment but the vision that me and Alan have now is longevity.

LM: Shayne, I was worried you weren’t going to call because your girlfriend just Tweeted that she’s about to ‘whoop you’ on Sports Kinect.
SW: Yeah - after this interview.

LM: Who’s going to win then?
SW: Oh definitely me. Come on.

LM: So, where’ve you been all this time? You disappeared for three whole years.
SW: I’ve been away making the album. I also went to Asia and South Africa and was just doing gigs and performances over there. When I’m not here, that’s where I go.

LM: Your former manager, X Factor judge Louis Walsh described your career as being ‘all dried up’ last year. What do you think about those comments?
SW: He obviously felt frustrated as my manager because he wanted my material to come out sooner plus his commitment to X Factor takes a lot of work. Priorities changed and I wasn’t being given the priority I needed from a manager. He knew that as well and in the end we had to part ways. We’re still friends, but business is business and we came to the end of our working relationship.

LM: Must have annoyed you though, having that gap so early on in your career. Did you worry it was going to affect your fan base?
SW: It can affect your fan base if you go away. I was having good success with the albums and tours so it did cross my mind that it was three years in total. But as silly as it sounds, Twitter has been brilliant because it shows me that the fans are still there and younger fans are coming onboard. They wouldn’t necessarily have known my old material.

LM: You’re enjoying the power of Twitter then?
SW: It’s self promotion and a great help for me and journalists. It’s a great platform.

LM: Do you get many negative Tweets?
SW: Of course. You do get the odd idiot who writes something just to be heard. I don’t rise to it though.

LM: You’ve had two platinum albums and six top 20 singles including three in the top five. Yet with each new X Factor winner people seem to forget these successes – hence the negative Tweets. Is it hard to keep a high profile years down the line when coming from such a big talent show?
SW: Yeah it’s true, because when the new series of X factor starts the focus and publicity is on the new show and people do forget the success that I’ve had. At times it can be very annoying. I think it’s just ignorance if people put me down without realising what I’ve achieved, but that’s just the way the industry is.

LM: Looking at the contrast in the careers of Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke against the likes of Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson, do you think it’s harder for male solo artists to make it?
SW: Not at all. The girls have done great, but I think the key is to hit at the right time and have that connection with the public. It’s unfortunate what’s happened to some of those previous winners. p

LM: Steve Brookstein has been quite outspoken about the way he’s been treated by Simon Cowell after X Factor. Do you think he was right to speak out in that way?
SW: That’s the way he chose to deal with it. I think it depends how you treat the way you work with people. For me, whenever I go away everything is always labelled as ‘a comeback’. But the way I see it is that I’m already established and this is my next album. I’m looking to have good success with this too. I’ve been in the industry for five years and I’m happy with where I am. I’d like to be an even bigger success and that’s down to the hard work and having the right songs.

LM: What are the ‘right songs’ in the charts for you at the moment?
SW: I love the Stereophonics. Then also Rihanna, Bruno Mars and what’s that girl’s name? Let me ask my missus...
“Who sings that song that goes (begins to hum a tune)?”
“Alexis Jordan.”
Alexis Jordan – that’s it.

LM: What song by another artist do you wish you’d recorded first?
SW: Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon.

LM: You’re an indie boy at heart then?
SW: Yeah I’ve always enjoyed that type of music and from now on I’d like to record more styles like that. I feel that’s where my voice lies – with live sounding drums and guitars.

LM: You’ve been living in London for six years now. What do you get up to when you come home to Manchester?
SW: Nothing to be honest. I just go and see my mum or go for a couple of pints with my mates in Droylsden and Clayton. I try and spread myself out as much as possible.

LM: Is it true you were being lined up as a stand in for Jason Orange in Take That a while ago?
SW: It’s written in Gary Barlow’s book. I was never approached but if it’s in the book it must be true. It’s a compliment and a half. Who knows what could have happened?

LM: Do you think you could have been boy band material?
SW: It would have been lovely to have been in a boy band and having your mates there to experience the journey with you. I love being a solo artist but there is a little part of me that wonders what it would have been like.

LM: You’ve already had an autobiography at the grand old age of 26.
SW: Thank you to Syco (Simon Cowell’s company).

LM: Are we due an update then?
SW: You’re right - I am only 26. I’m young and I don’t want to do an autobiography. It was part of the contract to get the book out but I want to achieve a hell of a lot more before I write about it really.

LM: Do you have much more control over your career these days then?
SW: Yeah. The more confident that I become, the more I get to know how it all works. That enables me to speak up. Having my new manager, Alan Edwards, onboard is great because I can voice my opinions and make things happen.

LM: When you were under Louis Walsh’s management, you were dubbed the ‘British Justin Timberlake’. What’s Alan’s vision for you?
SW: People are quick to judge. I was the ‘British Justin Timberlake’ because of the bald head. It’s a great compliment but the vision that me and Alan have now is longevity. I want to be known for being a live touring act. That’s where I see myself. It’s important for people to remember how I sound when I sing.

LM: What should fans expect from this tour?
SW: I’m turning it into a more intimate affair rather than the shows that I’ve done before with all the dancers and effects. I’ve always enjoyed watching stripped back shows like MTV unplugged with the Stereophonics or Bryan Adams so this is why I’ve called this tour ‘Up Close and Personal’. It’s better when the fans are close to the stage. You can feed off them.

LM: And they can feed off you on Twitter. I see you reply to a lot of fans on there...
SW: I do, as much as I can. If someone Tweets that I don’t reply to them, then I always have to reply to tell them I do.

LM: All being well with this tour, what does the future hold for your career?
SW: I want to travel more. I’m going to be going to Europe for the first time soon, which will be great. I want to start building up towards a world tour. I would absolutely love to do that.

LM: No plans for Shayne Ward the fragrance then?
SW: Oh God no.

Shayne Ward will perform at Manchester Apollo on Friday 18 March. For tickets please click here.

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AnonymousJanuary 25th 2011.

Shayne is the best thing to come out of x factor and Manchester should be very proud of his achievements ! i have my tickets for the gig and cant wait to see him perform on stage again. Your fans are delighted your back x

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