Will Young has said his 20-year career in music has been characterised by both “emotional pain” and “subversion”.
The 43-year-old singer, who rose to fame on the inaugural series of Pop Idol in 2002, is celebrating the milestone with a greatest hits tour and retrospective album.
In the last few years, Young has authored two books about mental health and sexuality, appeared on The Masked Singer and released his eighth studio album.
Asked about the theme he saw in his career when looking back, he told the PA news agency: “Normally sadness, I would say. There’s normally some sort of emotional pain going on.
“But then that being said, in a lot of my videos there’s quite a lot of humour.
“I did a video and I pretended to be a Blue Peter presenter which I think is just an astounding music video. It’s so brilliant. That was for a song called Who Am I.
“There was a brilliant time when I got to work with – there’s less money around for videos now than there used to be – and I got to work with these incredible directors.
“And there’s probably quite a lot of subversion, I would say, in a lot of the stuff that I do. I don’t really like necessarily doing the norm, so I think there’s probably quite a lot of subversion.”
Young said he could have approached his career differently and been more successful but only at the expense of his personal happiness.
He said: “There might have been other ways that I could have done my career and I would have been even more successful. But I don’t think I would be necessarily happy.
“So I think the key for me is to believe in the work. I really get a lot out of sort of building a whole creative. I find that very fulfilling – really, really fulfilling.
“What am I going to do for the photos? What am I going to do for TV performance? That has been just, to be honest, so much bloody fun.
“And building a show. I’m already planning the tour and I have been talking to my creative director about that, and that’s really fun.
“But I suppose that probably does give you longevity. I think you probably just have to enjoy it, otherwise there’s no point.”
20 Years: Greatest Hits is out now via Sony Music and Young tours the UK in October and November.