Will Young has spoken about the moment he found out that music execs believed his voice was ‘too gay’, after winning Pop Idol in 2001.
During an interview with the Telegraph, the singer recalls that execs wanted him to tone down his gay-sounding voice but didn’t actually tell him directly. Instead, they simply made him re-record the same tracks over and over until it sounded better to them: ‘I didn’t know at the time,’ he began.
‘But when I was recording [his 2003 hit] Leave Right Now, someone at the record company said I ‘sounded gay’ and kept making me re-record the track,” he claims.
‘There’s a real flavour to homophobia and bigotry. It’s really shaming. People don’t understand the power of language.’
Having been openly gay for a number of years but not at the time of competing on Pop Idol, Will uses his podcast, Homo Sapiens, to talk about homophobia with co-host and film director friend Chris Sweeney.
‘I still don’t really understand what a podcast is, but I think the reason they’ve become so popular is because people can be themselves on them,” Will said.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was the first guest of its new series, where they discussed teaching gay rights at school and addressed society’s treatment of mental health.
He also referred to his PTSD that affected him so badly during his stint on Strictly Come Dancing and was subsequently mocked by Piers Morgan for it: ‘I was really ill. I just couldn’t do it any more,’ he said of his time on the dancing contest. ‘It was so bad I thought about breaking my leg to get out of [the show].’
Going back to the music scene, Will, having seen S Club 7’s Paul Cattermole making headlines for selling his BRIT Award on eBay, even suggested he’d flog his but for very different reasons: ‘Paul from S Club 7 sold his Brit for £60,000. Bloody brilliant,’ he exclaimed.
‘I want to sell my Brits and give the money to charity. If you’ve got kids and you need to pay your mortgage then sell your Brit. If someone else wants it, then brilliant,’ he said.
Will has enjoyed a successful and lengthy music career since beating Gareth Gates to the Pop Idol crown 17 years ago.
The singer’s released six albums – the last being 2015’s 85% Proof – and enjoyed spells int the UK music charts with a string of Number 1 singles, including debut Evergreen/Anything Is Possible (on the back of the reality music show), as well as Light My Fire, The Long and Winding Road, and Leave Right Now.